East Meets West at Lough Erne Resort


I’ve stayed at Lough Erne Resort in County Fermanagh in the past, so I jumped at an invite to revisit last week to sample exciting new developments at the Thai Spa. Few places offer such tranquility with an opportunity to bask in nature – which is something I’ve become very fond of while exploring the natural beauty around Ireland. While walking the grounds I was surrounded by the sounds of birds, squirrels, swans and pine martens. If you or your other half is a golfer, the Sir Nick Faldo designed golf course is another good reason to stay on this 600 acre peninsula nestled on the shores of Lough Erne.

The beautiful conical shaped lodges near the water’s edge reflect the shape of the round tower at the monastic settlement on Devenish Island, found on the other side of the lake and designed with this in mind. Lough Erne has so much to offer around its shores from water sports at Castle Archdale across the water to a delicious gin distillery tour at The Boatyard only a short drive or boat trip away. Water taxis into Enniskillen can also be arranged to ensure that guests get the full experience of staying on the Lough.

It has been well documented that the G8 summit of world leaders met here in 2013 endorsing the resort as one of the finest in the world. A new merging of ‘East meets West’ is taking place in the Thai Spa with treatments fusing traditional Thai massage with the seaweed based Voya products from Sligo. Voya is already a brand name associated with luxury hotels such as Anantara in the Seychelles and The Grand Hotel Kempinski in St Moritz. While Voya products are available in many hotels closer to home, being only an hour from Sligo makes Lough Erne Resort the perfect match to pair their exotic treatments with the best of Ireland’s sustainable seaweed products.

Preparing for a treatment at Thai Spa is a ritual in itself with extra fluffy bathrobes included. This calm setting enjoys that spectacular view of the lake as back drop. The swimming pool is decorated with mosaic tiles in the image of a large lotus flower. Taking a dip in the pool isn’t essential but it does add to the experience – as does a soak in the Jacuzzi. The thermal suite includes a light therapy sauna and crystal aroma steam room. After indulging in this relaxing suite a tropical rainforest shower is the perfect preparation before my treatment.

My therapist, Trish is from Enniskillen but she transported me to Thailand with the relaxing paw movements that are all part of the ritual and fusion of eastern treatments throughout the spa. A body scrub and massage later and I floated to the relaxation room where I had the choice of camomile or peppermint tea to accompany my fruit bowl. The spa is the perfect way to put in an afternoon on the resort, after a game of golf or even instead of.

Dinner was a treat at the Catalina Restaurant which offers an array of dishes chosen to pair with the locally grown produce. The amuse-bouche of smoked eel was accompanied by local apple juice fused with Bushmills Whiskey. I always chose scallops when they are on the menu and it was the right choice. For my main course the duck was cooked to perfection with just the right amount of pink and vegetables in perfect portion size.

But it was the raspberry soufflé that put me in a glorious food coma, without that feeling of being too full. It was a top class meal that warrants a Michelin star with full credit to head chef Noel McMeel who I caught up with next day. Having spent time working all over the world he has returned to Fermanagh and fused his experience in perfecting the use of locally sourced produce to conjure up his exceptional creations. It’s just another example of how well the East and West can blend harmoniously. I have to mention the Greek wine that was gently suggested by the maitre d’, which turned out to be a delicious surprise. Lebanese and other desired varieties are also on the wine menu.

If you’ve stayed at Lough Erne Resort in the past then you will be familiar with the plush surroundings and wood panelled interiors. A little bird told me that the interior and bedrooms are in for a complete refurbishment next year, upgrading the best of the natural furnishings is a sustainable way. I caught a glimpse of a sample bedroom and have to say it will be a great excuse to return next year to see what further surprises this luxurious resort has up its sleeves. I just hope I get the invite!

Enjoy a luxury overnight stay with indulgent breakfast and tempting five-course dinner in the 3AA Rosette Catalina Restaurant at Lough Erne Resort from only €139.50 per person sharing. www.lougherneresort.com

A special launch promotion entitled ‘VOYA Tranquil Tides’ is available from 24th to 30th October. Visitors can enjoy a 60-minute treatment, relax and rebalance with the ‘Mindful Dream’ back, neck and shoulder massage combined with an energising ‘VOYA Discovery’ facial experience. The experience includes access to the spa facilities, refreshments in the relaxation area and a light lunch in the Blaney bar for only £85 per person.

Find more information and book the ‘VOYA Tranquil Tides’ package here https://www.lougherneresort.com/