A taste of paradise on our doorstep…

When I was invited to sample the delights of the Lough Erne Resort with a guest a few weeks ago I jumped at the chance as Fermanagh is not an area I am overly familiar with and having a busy job & three children – my husband and I rarely get the chance to spend quality time together.  We arrived at Lough Erne Resort at approx 3pm on Friday afternoon – full of anticipation of what the next 24 hrs had in store and we were not going to be disappointed.

A lovely warm Fermanagh welcome awaited us at check in from Nichola and  Sinead Maguire who gave us a quick tour of the hotel.  “Gordon the Golfer”  took us and our small bag (we travel light!) to room 221 while filling us in on a brief history of Lough Erne resort and going to great lengths to point out every facility in the room.  The room…what can I say – opulent, luxurious, comfortable, well appointed with a view of the lake as promised, tastefully decorated with all the standards you would expect from a 5 star room and then some.

My first impression of the resort was “over delivery” – just the way I like to run my own business…… “under promise and over deliver”.   We took some time to  take in the “Room with a View” (not a hint of Julian Sands in sight though!)  before making our way to the Thai Spa via the private stair case (purpose built for guests to make their way to and from the spa without having to navigate through the main hotel area).  We were greeted with grace and warmth and invited to make use of the Thermal Suite  (Infinity Pool, sauna and steam rooms) which overlooks Castle Hume Lough and the 18th green of the Faldo Couse.

After a swim in the 14 m pool and a spell in the steam room we were guided to the pre- treatment Sabi Sabi Area, (Health and Happiness) for a taste of  Thailand with an exotic fruit juice of the day (coconut, pineapple and banana) before our treatment.  We were called by name at 4pm by our respective  therapists ( mine was Lek ) and led down a long hall which transported us to the far east for a completely unique experience.

My husband had opted for a traditional Thai massage which he would later find out was a brave choice for a newbie – described in the brochure as  “Exotic and unique this is the ultimate sublime body workout. Using techniques passed down though generations, this treatment is a blend of deep tissue massage using pressure points and stretching techniques. Traditional Thai Massage releases tension, increases vitality and flexibility and synchronizes the mind, body and spirit, and he certainly got a work out but thoroughly enjoyed it.   I had selected the Relaxing Aroma “Indulgence Abandon your body to a state of deep relaxation. Lemongrass melts away tension while orange calms busy minds. Enjoy a moment of serenity unwind and exhale.” An hour of indulgence…

Both treatments followed a foot bath and personally speaking was probably one of the most sublime 60 minutes I have ever spent.  Thank you to my thai massage therapist Lek who was most considerate asking me if the pressure was ok for me and made me feel very comfortable during the treatment after which we were  led to the Lap Sabai, meaning ‘deep sleep’ area and offered  an infused herbal tea, fresh fruit and advised to drink water.

The Thai Spa brings the only wholly Thai Spa experience to Ireland and the UK withThai treatments, by Thai therapists who originate from and are expertly trained in Thailand, using Traditional Thai Therapies and Thai-made Ytsara products. Ytsara is a range of Thai products and experiences which offer a unique approach to age-old Asian holistic practices for use in the modern spa.

The Lap Sabai at the Thai Spa, Lough Erne Resort, meaning 'deep sleep' area. Contact The Thai Spa Reception to Book your Thai Spa Experience Today Tel: +44 (0)28 6634 5728

We spent some time relaxing here before returning to the pool area for a quick jaccuzi before returning to our room to get ready for dinner….

Telfords Pork Plate – Braised Cheeks – Confit Belly – Roast Fillet Creamed Potato – Pickled Cabbage – Apple Sauce : from Noel McMeel's menu at the Catalina Restaurant.

We managed a quick drink at  the Blaney Bar before being greeted by the lovely Clare who showed us to our table, at the window in the Catalina Restaurant, where Anna introduced herself , presented us with menus and told us the special main course of the evening. The Catalina is headed up by award winning Noel McMeel, recently voted ‘Best Chef’ (Ulster),  at the Santa Rita/Sunday Independent Irish Restaurant Awards 2011.   Now, trust me, I am no culinary expert that’s for sure but my parting comment to Clare as we left was “I think I can safely say that’s the best meal we have ever had” and that’s an understatement! With freshly baked soda bread (from a choice of three breads) which was just bread to die for, a pre starter, starter, main course and desert – each course was more than worthy of the two AA Rosettes for culinary excellence so proudly displayed comprising fresh, local produce.

I had the chicken while my husband had the pork – see the menu we had to chose from HERE.  We were offered more potatoes and vegetables (served in mini copper saucepans) but quite frankly that would just have been greedy! The portions served were more than enough.  For desert I had the Chocolate and Nigel went for the Strawberry – see the full desert menu HERE which was just heavenly. In fact we couldn’t speak after it – and for anyone who knows me that’s no mean feat ..

The Catalina Restaurant is open Daily for Dinner 6.30pm to 10pm and for Lunch on Sundays from 1.00pm to 2.30pm.The Catalina Restaurant's Signature Dish is 'The Lough Erne Mixed Grill'

I am a stickler for customer service no matter what the business. In a previous incarnation of me I worked for Gulf Air for 3 years and was lucky enough to fly to approx 40 -50 cities from Euope and Africa, across the middle and Far East and as far as Australia.  I have stayed in some amazing hotels – luckily good old Gulf Air did not scrimp on our accommodation and can safely say that the Lough Erne resort is world class.  Nothing is left to chance – every detail taken care of. From checking in when Nichola noticed my husband carrying my laptop for me (thanks Nigel!) and offered me a wifi voucher for the duration of our stay – to check out.

And how pleasant on returning to our room from dinner to find our rooms tidied and the bed turned down for the evening and to top it all off there was a firework display over the lake later that night thanks to the wedding party  – for details on wedding packages see http://www.lougherneresort.com/weddings/ – the only venue where you can arrive by seaplane!!

The last line in the Resort Room Guide is “enjoy both a pleasurable and memorable stay” – we did. The location is breathtaking, service outstanding , facilities amazing. You will not be disappointed.

I would like to thank Lough Erne Resort and their superb level of professionalism and service and for making our stay one that we will certainly never forget.

Highlight of the weekend – seeing my husband’s face when the waiter (Ryan you wee legend) saying he would be back to “decrumb” the table.

To find out more go to www.lougherneresort.com .  See the Thai Spa Brochure HERE. Click HERE for current special offers including Thursdays at Lough Erne and Spa September.