Mythic Spa Time in Dublin
The first thing you see on entering The Merrion’s Tethra Spa is a trompe l’oeil mural of classic gardens at the far end of the colonnaded pool. Is it “The Promised Land” of early Irish literature, for which “Tethra” is named, also known as “The Land of the Living” and “The Land of the Young?” The spa in The Merrion, arguably the most elegant of Dublin hotels, has borrowed Tethra as a retreat where the stress and strain of everyday life are banished, and body and soul invigorated and restored. Tethra!
The spa is tucked into the Garden Wing of The Merrion, behind four adjoining Georgian townhouses that have been superbly reconfigured as the hotel’s Main House. A glassed-in walkway through the hedges and patios of the recreated 18th century garden connects the two structures that together house 142 rooms.
The 60-foot French limestone pool is the centerpiece of the spa, where just about everything is equally sumptuous. An Italian marble steam room. Changing quarters finished in white marble, ceramic mosaic tiles, more French limestone, and elm hardwood with underground heating. A state-of-the-art Leisure Center with advanced cardiovascular and resistance training equipment, including a Vectra online Multi-Gym with 29 stations. Overseeing it all, a team of instructors for assessment and personal training.
The spa facility isn’t large: reception, pool and gym on the ground floor, five therapists and just three rooms on the floor above. But it’s never crowded as Tethra is restricted to hotel guests—even children are welcome, and given minirobes for the pool–plus a limited number of members.
Despite the limited space (there are plans to expand), the spa menu offers a wide range of body care and beauty treatments featuring ESPA products that combine therapeutic benefits and aromatherapy. The ESPA collection includes relaxing and anti-stressing oils, revitalizing seaweeds, and organically grown plants known for their purity, potency, and therapeutic qualities to protect, hydrate, firm and purify the skin.
From a generous menu I chose the ESPA Regenerating Facial, 55 minutes of care for “maturing” skin like mine. Laura, my therapist, led me upstairs to one of the rooms which, to my surprise, was among regular hotel bedrooms. Utilizing a battery of regenerating, firming and nourishing creams, masks and balms from the ESPA Concept Range, she administered an intensive facial that left my skin feeling fresh and toned.
TETHRA’S SIGNATURE TREATMENTS
Hot Stone Therapy, 75 mins, €125. Combines water heated basalt lava stones with traditional massage, using aromatherapy and hot oils to warm and invigorate the body.
ESPA Holistic Back Face and Scalp Treatment With Hot Stones, 1hour 55 mins, €170. A deep cleansing back exfoliation, followed by a hot stone back massage. The deeply nourishing facial includes an intensive face treatment mask and Oriental head massage.
ESPA Total Holistic Body Care With Hot Stones, 1hour 55 mins, €170. After a full body exfoliation, this Chakras holistic treatment places stones along the spine, at vital energy points on hands and feet, and the Chakras around the body. The body massage is followed by an acupressure head massage, and finally with gentle neck and shoulders stretching.
Holistic Back Face and Scalp Treatment, 85 mins €125. An all-encompassing holistic treatment: a deep cleansing and exfoliation of the back; a back massage to ease stress and tension; a hydrating and purifying facial; a therapeutic scalp massage.
ESPA Holistic Total Body Care, 85 mins, €125. An all-encompassing treatment: full body skin brushing and exfoliation; a deep body, face and scalp massage with individually chosen essential oils.
Pre-Natal Treatment, 85 mins, €125. A carefully designed treatment for pregnant and nursing mothers using a Calendula infused oil, various muds and creams, and advanced massage techniques to safe areas.
Detoxifying Algae Wrap, 75 mins, €120. Skin brushing, gentle exfoliation, and detoxifying aromatherapy oil and warm algae boost metabolism, reduce water retention, and speed the elimination of toxins. Includes a full scalp treatment.
Restorative Mud Envelopment, 75 mins, €120. Aches and pains and superficial skin problems are treated with marine mud rich in trace minerals, skin brushing, gentle exfoliation and aromatherapy oils of choice, plus a deep scalp treatment.
ESPA Oshadi Envelopment, 75 mins, €120. Oshadi, giver of life, is the Ayurvedic term for plants and herbs used in traditional healing practices and therapies. After a sea salt and aromatherapy oil exfoliation, an Oshadi-infused mask hydrates the skin and relieves aching muscles and joints; it also includes a deep scalp treatment.
LUXURY BODY TREATMENTS
Stimulating Hip and Thigh Treatment, 55 mins, €100. A specialized ESPA treatment to stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems, concentrating on areas prone to cellulite, fluid retention and uneven skin tone that includes seaweed exfoliation, a detoxifying massage, lymphatic drainage techniques, and activating reflex zones and pressure points on the feet.
Body Polish, 30 mins, €50. A complete exfoliation to cleanse and refine the skin, followed by moisturizing balm and body silk spray.
Salt and Oil Scrub, 30 mins, €50. A skin softening body exfoliation combining sea salts, nourishing oils, and essential oils.
Full Body Massage, 55 mins, €100. A Swedish massage designed to ease tension and relieve stress.
ESPA Aromatherapy Massage, 75 mins, €120. A complete face, scalp, and body massage using individually chosen essential oils focuses on acupressure points.
Back Reviver, 30 mins, €55. A revitalizing skin brushing and back exfoliation ends with a deep tissue back massage and moisturizing body balm.
Lifesaving Back Treatment, 55 mins, €75. A treatment for problematic skins that includes body brushing, exfoliation, deep cleansing, an aromatherapy massage, and a soothing mud mask.
ESPA FACIAL TREATMENTS
Rebalancing Facial, 55 mins, €90. Specific massage techniques and a warm marine mud mask cleanse and decongest the skin.
ESPA Regenerating Facial, 55 mins, €95. Focuses on regenerating, firming and nourishing maturing skin.
ESPA Regenerating Facial With Firming Eye Treatment, 75 mins, €120 . Revives mature, dry or dehydrated skin, particularly around the eyes, with acupressure point massage and lymph drainage to the face, neck and shoulders, plus an Oriental head massage.
Indian Head Massage, 30 mins, €55. This technique is based on the ancient Ayurvedic healing system that massages the head, face and neck, releasing stress and promoting strong and healthy hair.
ESPA Skin Brightener Facial, 55 mins, €90. A rejuvenating facial for all skin conditions that includes a special application of skin brightener.
Rehydrator Facial, 55 mins, €90. Deep cleansing and exfoliation prepare dry dehydrated stressed skin for a rejuvenating massage, followed by a nourishing facial mask and head massage.
THE ESPA Advanced Concept Lifting and Firming Facial, 1hour 25 mins, €140. An anti-ageing facial massage for improved circulation, fewer lines, and firmer, smoother skin with improved elasticity.
Men’s Purifying Facial Shoulder and Scalp Massage, 55 mins, €90. A deep facial to balance and hydrate the skin and a triple cleansing procedure to promote drainage precede an acupressure face massage and purifying mask, plus a deep shoulder and scalp massage.
TETHRA SPA PACKAGES
The Tethra Spa offers ESPA treatments singly, individually tailored to suit the client’s personal needs, or packaged into day and half-day retreats, which include use of the pool, steam room, and gym facilities..
Total Indulgence, 5 hours, €375. A full day that includes a body polish, a back, face and scalp massage, and a manicure and pedicure, plus a light healthy lunch.
Softest Skin, 4 hours, €320. The Tethra Spa mud envelopment replenishes and restores equilibrium, followed by a luxury facial that includes a reviving eye treatment and a manicure with a softening paraffin masque.
Body Bliss, 2 hours 30 mins, €220. Three steps to detoxify, replenish and revive the body: a salt and oil scrub, an intense aromatherapy massage, and an aromatherapy facial.
Golfers Tonic, 1 hour 30 mins, €130. A relaxing back massage and an ESPA luxury foot treatment, which includes exfoliation, deep aromatherapy massage, and a warm paraffin wax envelopment to relieve feet aches and pains.
Flight Reviver, 1 hour 30 mins, €130. A full body massage and Indian Head Massage relieve negative effects of travel.
Urban Warriors, 2 hours, €170. A beauty regime with individualized aromatherapy oils for a massage and facial, including scalp.
Stress Buster, 1 hour, €100. An Indian Head Massage, soothing eye treatment, and steam inhalation to clear sinuses and restore balance.
Great Expectations, 3 hours, €200. A back, face and scalp massage, plus luxury hand and nail treatment.
Pamper Paws, 2 hours 30 mins, €180. A luxury pedicure precedes a special manicure.
Magic Moments, 4 hours, €300. A top-to-toe indulgence that includes an aromatherapy massage, aromatherapy facial, and a Jessica manicure and pedicure.
Luxury Hand and Nail Treatment, 75 mins, €90. A holistic manicure incorporating hydrating milk, refining skin polish, hand and arm aromatherapy pressure point massage, and an envelopment of warm paraffin wax in heated mitts.
Luxury Foot and Nail Treatment, 75 mins, €90. A holistic pedicure including a mineral sea-salt foot spa and exfoliation, aromatherapy foot and leg massage, and an envelopment of warm paraffin wax in heated booties.
A variety of wax treatments from 10 mins (€15) to 60 mins (€70); manicures and pedicures from 30 mins( €40); eyelash and brow tints from 10 mins (€15); and tanning that includes body exfoliation from 45 mins (€60).
All photos courtesy of the Merrion.