The Europe Hotel- Killarney, Ireland
As a last minute surprise staycation before back to School, we eagerly packed our bags and headed off to Killarney, destination ‘The Europe Hotel’ after securing the last family room available. I’m not used to not having to contend with ‘rainy days’ during the summer months or even ‘not so much of a summer’ as we’re normally overseas visiting family where you don’t worry about rain and dressing for all seasons! A bag for all seasons was packed just to be sure. As we were missing travel this year, we felt a little indulgence wouldn’t go astray.
For this trip it was essential the destination allowed for indoor facilities too and we wanted to explore an area we weren’t so familiar with, keeping every one happy-one in case it poured! After checking the Hotels pool facilities were open, I knew the children would love it. I also wanted to indulge in the ‘ESPA Spa’ as I was really missing ‘Hands on Therapies’ and felt a bit of rest and re-energising would do us all the world of good.
About a year ago I saw an image of the stunning 20 metre pool with breathtaking views over a Lough Leane in Killarney surrounding by mountains. It always stood in my mind with the thought that I would get there one day. I was delighted to learn their heated outdoor pool was open too and with plenty of space to enjoy ‘Al fresco’ dining this place was simply calling us!
The grounds of The Europe Hotel, Killarney
We arrived much to the delight of the children on a Monday and we were wowed as we walked into the beautiful airy bright reception/ lounge area with a serene view of Lough Leane and the mountains and grounds beyond rolling gently down to the lake. What an entrance!
Our 3 days were complete bliss and a true cocoon of escapism where we felt completely safe with the measures put in place. The kids would have been happy lounging in the Hotel for the whole stay but with so much beauty outdoors, it was an opportunity to explore Killarney surrounds. On the second morning we booked a last minute boat trip with Gordon with the lovely lady in reception who looked after everything for us in a flash.
Boat trip in traditional wooden boat- The Europe Hotel
After breakfast we met Gordon, our boat-man at the very Balinese looking boathouse slip onsite. Lough Leane was very calm and still after the storm that passed the day before, the water was very high as a result. We comfortably sat in his traditional wooden boat close to the water and enjoyed breathtaking views of the majestic mountains all around seeming to hug the lake, Carrauntoohil looming high to the right. We approached ‘Brown Island’ which looks back to Hotel. With the gentle lapping sound of the water destination Brown Island in view, we were suddenly delighted when we saw a White-tailed Eagle perched high on the very top of a pine tree looking very much at home. A very rare sight considering it was the only one that remained with it’s chicks on the lake since the re-introduction in 2007. Gordon kindly let us see it close up with his binoculars.
Traditional Boat trip on Lake Leane- The Europe Hotel
Not a bad place to rest for a bird. It was fascinating to see the trees sprouted up out of the sea water and how nature has taken over these Islands. We went onwards to Inishfallen, the largest Island on the lake covering approximately 21 acres. We step of boat where the slip way was beneath the water due to heavy rainfall, and kids ran off explore to explore the small Island. A magical peaceful place where we noticed deer hoove marks but they were hiding. Well worth a visit, where you can seem the ruins of a monastery which was founded in the/7th century by St.Finian the Leper, who brought monks to pray here. The most loveliest hour spent and the lie of the land looked even more stunning from the water with Ross Castle in at the entrance of the lake.
Our stay in the Hotel consisted mostly pool time and although the Hotel seemed full, we always managed to have it to ourselves or with perhaps just a few others. I love the connection the pool has with the land all around and as you swim lengths up and down your eye is drawn to the moving water on the lake and changing light passing on the mountains in the background. As a regular swimmer, I had been missing my pool time, so after a few lengths I felt all the stress and tension melt away! With my head under water, the glimmering silver tiles all meander to lead your eye to the outdoor view.
Infinity pool bliss- The Europe Hotel
One of the many highlights for my children was going from the indoor jacuzzi to the outdoor Infinity pool through the connecting glass door by tugging a pull-string.. Magic! Seeing their contentment for this filled my heart with a new sense of freedom. Feeling the cool air and hot water by contrast was so nourishing with the strong jets easing tension. The connection to the land was completely therapeutic. I overheard a mother tell her children.. ’Just let mammy enjoy a bit of time here .’ I felt her sentiment.
We took the opportunity to dine outdoors when we could and I loved how you can do this at any of the three dining restaurants. On our first night we dined in ‘The Brasserie’. It has a luxurious relaxed vibe about it with all windows offering serene view of the lake. The staff and lovely waitress looked after us so well.
I went for the Beetroot risotto which was smooth and just the right amount of taste of beetroot. For my vegetarian daughter nothing was too much and they kindly brought two starters for a main. My boy, ‘The Gourmand’ said it was the best burger ever.
Sunset- The Europe Hotel
The Italian themed Café is a more relaxed dining area beside the Spa with an Island style seating in the middle. We enjoyed a lovely meal their one evening with their lively International staff. The kids loved the Calamari and pizza and my Pasta with Aubergine was just right. My boy watched with interest the Chef quickly preparing pizzas in the open kitchen front and afterwards we indulged in their delicious desserts.
After dinner we enjoyed walks by the lake front or games in the bar or library bar. What a treasure with its quirky Artwork and dark luxury Interior design. My children enjoyed checking out the selection and where delighted to find a copy of ‘Gulliver’s travels’. I daydreamed about returning in the Winter.
Torc Waterfall- Killarney National Park
Much to the delight of the kids, I announced we were going on a hike to ‘Torc Waterfall’ on one of the days. They wanted to go to the pool. Though after a bit of haggling, we enjoyed a leisurely walk from Muckross house to the waterfall. The expansiveness and sense of history of the area is well worth exploring though it was busy and it made us want to retreat back to the Hotel.
Another highlight, yes there were many (!), was a visit to ESPA. I had pre-booked an appointment a few days before arriving and was given last time slot. It seems I wasn’t the only one craving a bit on ‘Me-time’. The Glass elevator journey to the Spa creates a lovely element of surprise as you travel down to a cocoon of zen. I was greeted by a lovely lady called Cristina with a gentle warm smile. She gave me a COVID and treatment form to fill out and then guided me around facilities.
Whilst the heated facilities were not available by, for the Spa Treatment area you could avail of the Sauna and Steam room. The Sauna sends you into another level of bliss with its full window view of the lake. The Infinity pool is somewhere you would happily lounge for along time taking in the views, admiring the apt name ‘Big Gun Mountain’ and ‘Parson’s Nose’ and planning a return for hiking …my mind drifting back to remembering my appointment time.
Place of rest- Espa @ The Europe Hotel
I went for a ‘Deep Tissue’ massage. My therapist Ana had the right pressure after selected an uplifting sent of Eucalyptus and Orange oil. In a world where we been deprived of one of our most important senses, it felt so good and nourishing to ease out all the knots and aches. I felt lighter and destressed and more myself.
I can’t wait to return to this place of serenity that offers new adventures on its doorstep. I would highly recommend this wonderful Hotel if you missed out too on a big holiday or are just in need of a bit of indulgence. Thank you to the staff at ‘The Europe Hotel’ for your welcome.
If you would like a write up of your ‘Hotel/ Spa’ please feel free to reach out to Yasmina.