Travel: Enjoy some fine dining at relaxing Dublin retreat

Castleknock Hotel
Castleknock Hotel
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A stay at the Castleknock Hotel outside Dublin proved to be the perfect tonic for our writer....only problem was, her short break was too short

In a bid to stay calm and get away from the manic festive hustle and bustle, my partner Andrew and I made our escape to enjoy a break away to The Castleknock Hotel outside Dublin.

The hotel’s location meant our journey from home took just under three hours, but it was certainly worth the effort

On arrival, we headed to our room, where a complimentary basked of fruit and chocolates had been left for us. The room itself - an executive double - was more than adequately equipped for our stay and we enjoyed a scenic view over the hotel’s golf course.

I had been booked in for a Tranquility Face and Body Ritual Treatment at the hotel’s Tonic Health and Day Spa - and it was certainly the tonic I needed to destress and unwind.

The one-and-a-half hour treatment comprised of a full body massage, to work away tight muscles - something I was grateful for after the drive down.

Using Comfort Zone products, my therapist Shauna then moved onto my face to improve hydration and tone.

Feeling fully rested and relaxed, I could feel the tensions easing and began to forget the ‘to-do’ list.

While I was off for my treatment, Andrew made use of the hotel’s steam room and pool, which overlooks the golf course. Following our afternoon of relaxation, we made our way to have dinner in The Park Restaurant, the hotel’s AA Rosette 2014/15 award-winning restaurant.

With a festive twist to the fine dining menu, I opted for the Chicken Liver and Shallot Pie for starters, while my partner chose the Shredded Winter Pork Terrine.

The pastry on the pie was crisp and crumbly, while the filling was coated in a moreish meaty gravy.

For main course, I opted for the Seared Supreme of Guinea Fowl, which came with bacon polenta, and Brussels sprouts, though these were crisp and tossed with a bacon pancetta that fully complimented the flavours from the Guinea fowl.

My partner chose the Vintage Beef Fillet, which came with onion rings and hand cut chips, noting that it was one of the best pieces of beef he has eaten in a long time.

Beginning to feel full from our first two courses, we held off on dessert and enjoyed a glass of Shiraz in our candlelit surroundings, before succumbing to the sweet treats.

I know I said I wanted to get away from the festive time of year, but I couldn’t resist trying the Sticky Toffee Christmas pudding.

The pudding lived up to its description and was perfectly accompanied by rum and raisin ice-cream.

Himself chose his all time dessert favourite of Tiramisu, which had a burst of winter berries on the side.

Over the course of our meal, we were looked after by the restaurant’s attentive staff, who topped up our drinks and ensured everything was in order.

After dessert, our meal was rounded off with coffee and petits fours - melt-in-the-mouth macaroons, just-out-of-the-oven mince pies, and decadent chocolates - before we retired to the hotel’s Lime Tree Bar, a 1930s Art Deco styled cocktail bar, for a cocktail for me and a craft beer for the other half.

Our stay came to an end all too soon, and before our leisurely check out of 12 noon, we enjoyed a full Irish breakfast to set us up for the day ahead - an afternoon of shopping at the nearby Blanchardstown Shopping Centre.

I knew I could escape from the Christmas hustle and bustle but only for so long!