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8 Jun 2015

Sundari Spa (Killarney Plaza Hotel) - not your usual spa experience


I haven’t blogged for some time.  More regular readers (are there any left?  If so, thanks for sticking with me!) will be aware of my house-hunting woes;  without going into details or starting down a pity-me spiral, suffice it to say the last ten-going-on-eleven months have been... difficult.  There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s starting to look like things are going to work out now - all for the better.  That said, living out of boxes, in relations’ houses, and hotels, hasn’t been easy, and I’ve really not been in a blogging space for some time.

So although it’s going to be another few months before I do get back to “normality” and start blogging afresh, I really did want to break my silence to wax lyrical about a fantastic experience I had over the weekend at the Killarney Plaza Hotel, in the relatively-new Sundari Spa there.  My challenge will be not to gush too much actually!

What can I say - this was honestly the single best overall spa experience I have ever had the fortune to encounter.  I am no stranger, blessings on providence or the universe or luck or hard work, or whatever you want to call it, to spas, and spa treatments.  This, on the other hand, was a whole other level.  Rather than (what has become a very formulaic and rather jaded) Spa Options Menu of Facial A for mature skins, Facial B for oily skins, pedicure, deluxe pedicure, Massage X Y or Z, Sundari offer a suite of more thought-out treatments, ones that focus on healing rather than simply treating yourself.  Their treatments are rooted in Aruvedic practices, using a fusion of Eastern techniques and ingredients from Thailand, Indonesia and India.  The approach that is taken is more a holistic and traditional view of balancing three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha for health-giving, rather than just beauty.  All I can say is, it worked for me.

You start your stay with a questionnaire which is used, together with some discussions with your therapist, and a sniff-check to see which of three blends of oil you are most drawn to, to identify which is your dominant Dosha at the minute;  for me this was Vata.  This, from my pre-reading, was something of which I was already aware (you can take a similar test here), but was curious to see if the therapist would come to the same conclusion (she did).  I also have a very heavy sinus infection at the moment, so my therapist used most of the range of products prescribed for the Vata dosha, together with aromatherapeutic ingredients like lime, lemongrass, eucalyptus, to help relax my chest and sinuses.  It was quite tailored, and as I know from my own experience of aromatherapy, one which worked;  the steam in the first, Serail, session had eucalyptus in it for example;  the cooling head massage I had contained the same - the upshot being by the time I left, I could breathe out of my nose for the first time in a week, and I woke this morning feeling a hell of a lot better overall, with no pain or heaviness in my chest.

Their products are largely organic and all natural-based, rooted in aromatherapy and containing some key ingredients like Neem (the so-called “Pharmacy Tree” in India), Shea, Coconut Oil, along with all of the essential oils (for me: lime, lemongrass, rose, eucalyptus, geranium - not all of these at once of course!), from the moment I went in, it was a sensory overload - wonderful products which buffed and cleansed and toned and moisturised my skin;  massages with hot stones and oils and hands which left me beyond relaxed (my husband pointed out that my shoulders were “finally back in their rightful place”), and which never seemed to end;  head, neck, back, legs, arms, feet massages dovetailed into facials and head/hair manipulation.

Earth, Fire & Water Serail
(no, that's not me :-))

I started my “time out” with their Earth, Fire & Water treatment, which saw me sitting starkers naked in a dedicated private space, where I used different products (a divine lemongrass/lime body scrub, a white clay mask for my face and a mud for my skin) over my 40 or so minutes there, as I was steamed and then rinsed into perfumed and softened bliss.  Following on from this I had their signature Zana therapy; massage with hot stones and a tailored facial.  To this I added a Firming Eye treatment and a Cooling Scalp treatment (this involved pouring oils over my forehead and into my scalp and then massaging them away - a wonderful feeling!);  all of these just dove-tailed one into the other, so much so that I (and this never, ever happens to me) completely lost all sense of time and dozed off more than once.  And all of the treatments were tailored, again, with taking my chest/sinus issues into account, and my dosha, and my own preferences (which are given equal importance by the therapists, which was good to see).

A real "Indian head massage" - amazingly cooling!

Unfortunately the spa in Killarney is the only Sundari spa in Ireland, but it’s worth the pilgrimage.  They do specific treatments for all, including some specific treatments aimed at men and others for pregnant ladies.  I was extremely fortunate to have some of these treatments comp’d to me, although I hasten to add, not all, and I sufficiently interested in some of the products used in the course of the four-ish hours to go and buy some for myself;  not something I do lightly usually.  The spa itself was beyond relaxing and luxurious (without that attendant snottiness a lot of more upmarket spas exude) and the staff;  what can I say - friendly, attentive and helpful;  providing me with plenty of detailed information about the products and their ingredients, without me feeling like I was being pressured to buy;  incredibly talented and trained.  Overall, a very positive, mindful, relaxing, happy, earthy time out, that I’m glad I took.  If I were to recommend one single thing, it would be their signature Zana treatment, as this give you a bit of everything.  Incidentally, the brochure, if you’re interested, can be downloaded from here.

The gorgeous relaxation area

With all of that healing in mind, and given my state going in there, I’d say it wasn’t as much an indulgent four-or-so-hours, as a necessary one.  Enter one uptight, tense, stressed-out and wound-up person;  exit an entirely different someone wobbly-with-relaxation and tension relief, de-toxed and almost emotionally blissed-out on calm.  Beyond recommended.  Get thyself to Killarney.

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