Cavana relaxed time at Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Resort
You truly can't help but feel a sense of calm as you approach the beautiful Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Resort. Farnham sits proudly on 1,300 acres of quiet Co Cavan countryside - just two miles from Cavan town - and I swear you can feel your troubles just drift away as you walk from the car park to the stunning reception area.
I was lucky enough to spend an amazing night at the hotel recently and from start to finish the experience was truly first-class.
Offering some of the finest luxury rooms in Ireland, the hotel's 12 junior and executive suites bring the outdoors in, with countryside views seamlessly blending patterns and colours that echo the natural tones of the estate gardens and grounds.
Eight of the hotel's 12 suites are located in the 400-year-old Farnham House. These are all unique in size and style and without doubt are some of the finest hotel rooms you'll find in Ireland.
Guests in the suites and the standard rooms enjoy such amenities as free high-speed wireless internet access, hair dryer, mini bar on request, tea/coffee provisions and flat-screen LCD televisions.
I hit the jackpot when I turned the key of the master suite in the hotel - inside it quite simply took my breath away.
The beautiful dining area and the massive bathroom with an antique bath were great, but the bedroom itself was quite simply stunning and came complete with the biggest and most comfortable bed I have ever slept on.
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Bad weather put an end to my plans to explore the hotel's extensive grounds and walks, and I'm not a golfer so I didn't take a swing on the quality 18-hole course.
Instead, I opted for a trip to the 44,000 sq ft spa designed by Heinz Schletterer, whose previous projects include spas at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the Sandy Lane in Barbados and the Queen Mary cruise liner.
Like its illustrious cousins, the Farnham Estate Health Spa does not disappoint.
As well as the soothing views of the estate from the pool and relaxation rooms, and the images of the trees and flowers of Farnham Estate used throughout the spa, the link between its lovely surroundings is also reinforced by the use of the world-famous ESPA and Yon-Ka range of products and treatments, perfect for a luxury spa break.
My favourite feature without a doubt, though, is the indoor pool, which links to a heated outdoor pool through a sliding door - it was a little bit nippy on a chilly April afternoon but it certainly was invigorating. It's worth nothing, however, that the spa facilities are for adults only - so if your children are under the age of 16 they won't be allowed in.
A quick change and I headed downstairs for a quick drink before dinner.
Situated underneath Farnham House is an array of tunnels which used to serve as the kitchen and quarters for the Farnham House staff throughout the centuries. Today, one of these tunnels, located under the hotel's reception area, houses the Wine Goose Cellar Bar where guests and visitors alike can enjoy a drink and step back in time.
There was a great atmosphere here and it's not surprising that the venue is used for wine tasting evenings.
I could easily have stayed longer, but I had heard great things about the food in the hotel's Cedar Rooms Restaurant and really didn't want to miss out.
The restaurant is a recent conversion of an old stone building, historically inhabited by the estate managers.
Named after one of the oldest trees on the estate - the magnificent Cedar of Lebanon, which has pride of place on the Farnham lawn - executive head chef Daniel Willimont creates dishes here that are true to the ingredients, showcasing local artisan producers with menus that change seasonally.
My wife and I can certainly vouch for the quality of the food.
The pan-seared scallops with black pudding croquette, sauce gribiche, chervil gel and bread tuile were out of this world, while the beef Wellington with butter puff pastry, woodland mushroom duxelles, rainbow carrots, smoked tempura shallots, chateau potato, baby spinach and a sherry jus was cooked to perfection.
Special mention must also be made of the Co Cavan wood-smoked chicken supreme - it sounds like a relatively simple dish but the combination of flavours and textures (helped no end by the accompanying stout-fermented bulgur wheat and spiced white pudding) was quite simply superb.
It would have been rude not to try the desserts, and as expected the bourbon vanilla custard and the spring Eton mess were the perfect ending to a memorable meal.
After a brilliant night's sleep, it was up for a quick walk around the grounds to work up an appetite for one of the best hotel breakfasts I've had.
My wife, meanwhile, chose a much more healthy route with a 90-minute ESPA Natural Face Lift.
This specialised facial is the complete approach to skin health and uses cutting-edge pre and probiotic technology, combined with the same benefits of physical exercise, to detoxify, invigorate, sculpt and relax.
Powerful age-defying techniques inspired by Japanese Kobido massage, along with stimulating jade rollers, give instant results, leaving the skin firm, lifted and beautifully radiant.
When she came back she said she felt like a new woman - thankfully she didn't feel like a new man so we were able to drive home from an unforgettable night away together.
To book your stay at the Farnham Estate Spa and Golf Resort, call 00353 49 437 7700 or go to go to www.farnhamestate.ie