Ok, where was I? I was awake and refreshed on Saturday morning of our weekend away celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. If you missed the first part of our trip you can catch up here.
Our experience of breakfast in hotels tells us that the half hour before breakfast finishes is usually very busy. In recent years however, with kids in tow, we have not had the worry of a late, busy breakfast. The kids have been up and rearing to go. Not so on this weekend. Having only woken up around 9am, with breakfast finishing at 10.30am and with an eyebrow shape booked for 11am we decided to immediately head for breakfast where we could chat about what we wanted to do for the day.
Breakfast was served in the Bell Tower Restaurant and we were seated by the breakfast supervisor who looked like a school principal but was in fact really lovely and very good at her job, as after quite a few minutes sitting at our table no order had been taken for either tea and coffee or a cooked breakfast and she intervened immediately.
There was a really lovely breakfast menu and I was torn between a traditional full Irish breakfast or something a little different such as eggs Benedict, french toast or a breakfast crepe with smoked salmon. I decided to opt for the traditional with a promise to myself to go with something different the next morning.
I visited the buffet for some juice but got there and there were no glasses. A lady ahead of me asked for some so I waited. While waiting I decided to get some fruit, but there were no plates. Just another moment of unfortunate timing but, if I am to be very picky and from someone who has worked in a few five-star hotels in the past, this was a little remiss for five-star quality.
Other than that minor point breakfast was great. So lovely to enjoy a full Irish breakfast without having to cut anyones food (thankfully my hubby didn’t ask!) or accede to five million requests before getting a bite of my own food.
Before we knew it, it was 10.15am and we decided to have a short walk before I headed off to the spa.
At 11am I left hubby in the bedroom reading our complimentary newspaper and I headed off to get my eyebrows into shape. The spa was amazing. I was very sorry I hadn’t booked something a little more substantial and relaxing – like a facial or massage. That said I was definitely given five-star treatment. I was laid out on the bed and my therapist spent a good amount of time pruning my eyebrows into shape. Not only that, after the treatment I had expected to be heading back to the room but I was presented with a smoothie and fruit and given a choice of dark or light relaxation rooms to chill out. I headed to the light room and, with no one else there relaxed for about 20 minutes on a lovely lounger. It was heaven.
The spa staff, after I explained my weekend without kids, had tipped me off about child-free swimming times in the pool so, once I was back to hubby we decided to head out for a drive and then avail of a child free swim on our return.
Our drive saw us hit Midleton. A larger town then Castlemartyr. There was a farmer’s market on and the centre of town was busy. We managed to find a Euro Giant store and picked up the required gifts for the kids including a kite for our oldest girl which has since proved very popular.
Back to the hotel for our child free swim. There was some mild annoyance when got out to the pool to find that there were two or three children kicking around in the pool. Don’t get me wrong I have no issue with kids in pools but I am a stickler for rules and it annoys me, on a point of principle usually, if places have rules but either other people don’t follow them or the places then don’t enforce them.
By the time we finished our swim and were dressed again it was still only late afternoon. It is amazing how much time you have without kids to fill it up. We decided to talk a walk around the grounds of the resort which are amazing. We then headed out the gate of the estate and walked through Castlemartyr. We found ourselves in Pat Shortt’s pub. It would have been rude not to stop off and have a drink so I had a glass of wine and we realised we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and as dinner was booked for 8.30pm we decided to grab a small bite to eat.
It was really lovely to have time to chat and connect again. No deadlines, time checks or stresses. No housework to do, parties to ferry kids to or any responsibilities whatsoever.
It was nearly six o’clock by the time we got back to the hotel. I decided to run a big bubble bath and will skip over the part where the turn down service staff walked in and caught a glimpse of me lying in the bath. I nearly drowned laughing but the poor guys couldn’t turn and get out fast enough.
We headed down to the bar before dinner and at that point got our “Prosecco on arrival” which, as it turned out, was a lovely time to have it. The bar was lovely and quiet and we were able to sip our drink and talk before it was time to go to the restaurant.
Dinner was included on this night. We ordered a starter and main course as we were unsure if the sorbet course and soup course mentioned on the menu were included. We didn’t ask and no one told us. We ordered a nice bottle of wine and waited. And waited. We could see the bread and water on a side board behind us. Eventually our wine arrived and at almost the same time our starter arrived. They then offered us bread and water. All a bit topsy turvy and not exactly giving us a chance to enjoy a glass of wine before our food arrived.
I had scallops for starters which were divine and hubby had a tartlet of some sort (I wasn’t paying attention!) and we both had the fillet of beef for main course which was lovely.
We had a dessert each this time at which point I was so full. We ordered the bill and there some issues with it (our meal was not flagged as included when it was) but it was sorted quickly.
I could hear the luxurious bed calling me. We were showing our age and turned in for the night.
We awoke to glorious sunshine on our last morning. Although we didn’t realise it was until we opened the automatic curtains, as they did such a great job blocking out the light.
Repeating the previous morning we headed straight to breakfast to be greeted by the same breakfast supervisor. This time breakfast was perfect. Our order for coffee and tea and hot food was taken quickly and true to my own promises I ordered the eggs Benedict (with a couple of sausages on the side – they were divine the morning before!). We had brought our complimentary Sunday Times and sat sipping coffee, reading the paper with the sun streaming into the restaurant. I was certain I had died and gone to heaven.
By the time breakfast was finished we decided to take a walk again. My husband bumped into his old boss from an old job. Such a small world! We chatted to the lovely little foal who was born a matter of weeks earlier on the estate and then, realising we had to be out of the room within the next 90 minutes, headed back to pack up.
We checked out about 11.45am and hit the road back to see our three little monkeys. And, as if by magic normal chaotic service resumed. It was as if our weekend away was merely a dream.
Would I go back again? Hell yes! There were a few very minor things that were a little off, particularly in light of the hotel’s five-star status but overall it was an amazing weekend without kids. There was something very therapeutic about Castlemartyr which had us leaving with our brains completely cleansed of the chaos that is usual day-to-day life. While I missed the kids terribly I felt very recharged on my return and probably appreciate them more than ever.