I love travelling with my kids but, occasionally, a parents-only weekend is in order.
This time, we chose a gorgeous hotel that, despite being a short drive from Dublin, feels like the most secluded and comfortable country retreat: Brooklodge Hotel, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
We discovered Brooklodge thanks to Philip’s parents, who live in the area. We first came here last year, to celebrate our wedding anniversary with a relaxing day at their beautiful spa, and since then we have been dreaming of spending the night.
This happened last weekend when we treated ourselves to the full BrookLodge experience: dinner in the award winning, on-site Strawberry Tree restaurant, night in the hotel, and spa day.
[box] BrookLodge Hotel at a glance
- Location: Macreddin Village is 1 hour from Dublin, 3Km from Aughrim, in Co Wicklow
- Style: luxury country retreat
- Family friendly: kids are welcome
- Restaurant on site: the Strawberry Tree (organic, fine dining), Taverna Armento (Italian), the Orchard cafe, the Waterside lounge, Actons pub
- Perfect for: a romantic weekend or a multigenerational weekend away. The hotel is family friendly but has no kids club so it is suitable especially for older kids who can enjoy the many activities in the area
BrookLodge: Arrival and welcome
We left Dublin late on Friday, a light rain tapping on the roof of our car and low clouds enveloping the tops of the Wicklow mountains, visible in the distance.
The journey takes about 1 hour from the city and it is a beautiful and easy drive. The first part is on the motorway and the second on a National road crossing the beautiful Irish countryside.
We left the kids with the grandparents and at each turn of the wheel, our busy city lives seemed to vanish a little more, fading away in the dark recesses of the Irish woodlands.
We got to Brooklodge at about 6pm. We left the car in the spacious car park in front of the property and quickly made our way through the glass doors of the hotel, trying to escape the bitter rain slowly closing in on us.
As we stepped in, we found ourselves cocooned by a warm and welcoming room, lit by the sparkling lights of candles and filled with the warmth of the crackling fire.
Booklodge is famous for being the home of Ireland’s first organic certified restaurant and small touches, such as the basket of fresh eggs from the estate on the reception desk and the windows opening onto the green of the back yard, give you the lovely feeling of being in a place where every little detail is taken care of and in a hotel in full harmony with its surrounding landscape.
We received the warmest welcome from the staff and swiftly settled into our room
We got a room on the first floor and what a room it was! The first thing we noticed on entering was the view over the garden, then our attention turned to the four poster bed and a little sitting area with a coffee table and sofas.
If you have kids, you know what a privilege it is to be able to sit on a sofa reading a book in peace so the first thing I did was exactly that!
I occupied as much space on the sofa as I could and immersed myself in the novel I had so pointlessly tried to finish for the last few weeks.
It was a forgotten, amazing feeling!
The rooms in Brooklodge are spacious and comfortable and my first thought was they would accommodate a family perfectly.
Since I was without kids, however, I quickly set that thought aside and proceeded to enjoy every inch of the elegant and plush interior, practical considerations temporarily banned from my line of thought!
The Wells spa
One of our criteria for choosing a parents only retreat is a spa. The location of the hotel is important, the comfort level is important but nothing lures me in as much or as quickly as the humming of a hot jacuzzi and the promise of a massage.
We went to the Wells spa just before dinner and in the space of few minutes, our worries and tension washed away in the lapping waters of the heated pool.
The Wells spa offers treatments (massages, facials, etc) and complimentary access for all hotel guests to the thermal suite, a large area with a pool, a heated jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
I tried the jacuzzi first and then swam across the room to have a look at the night sky: part of the thermal suite has glass walls and ceilings and the connection with the outdoors space makes the place even more beautiful and relaxing.
I hadn’t planned on having treatments this time but soon I got tempted by the extensive choice available.
In the end, I booked for the morning two sessions: a Swedish back massage and a facial, which turned out to be positively heavenly.
Dinner at the Strawberry Tree restaurant
Macreddin is known as the ‘food village’ and the wide choice of eating options makes it easy to see why.
The restaurant we chose is on site and it is called the Strawberry Tree, famous for being the only certified organic restaurant in Ireland and for having a menu of fresh foods that changes daily to reflect the produce available.
We were showed our table and soon we found ourselves sipping delicious Italian red wine and pondering over the best menu to choose between the two provided.
The first one was a tasting menu: this is a fixed price meal with 9 servings of food to showcase all the best the area has to offer.
The second is a 6-course meal and is a variation on the tasting one for smaller appetites, by all means equally delicious if, maybe, slightly less adventurous!
I was very tempted by the tasting menu but, in the end, I went for the 6 course one: it was beautiful, with highlights for me being the platter of salmon and the beef, tender and cooked to perfection. Philip’s favourite was the goat cheese starter and we both agreed the chocolate dessert was to die for.
At home, breakfast is my most neglected meal of the day but when I am away I more than make up for it. At BrookLodge, I started with the buffet options and then let the cooked breakfast tempt me: poached eggs, potato cake, organic bread and coffee were a great start of the day.
We enjoyed our meal while reading the newspaper delivered to our room and savoured every minute of this grown up gateaway.
We chose BrookLodge hoping for a special night and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The warm welcome, the beautiful room, the gorgeous spa and the delicious dinner proved as heavenly as we had hoped them to be and we left brookLodge relaxed and refreshed.
If you come to Ireland, take the time to spend at leats one night here: you won’t be disappointed!
This review is unsolicited and unbiased and we received no compensation for it. However, we asked Brooklodge for permission to write this review and we want to thank them for the beautiful photos provided. All opinions expressed in this post are own and reflect our experience of Brooklodge and its restaurants.
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