The K Club – The Kildare Hotel, Spa & Country Club
Life is funny. Before March of this year I hadn’t set foot in The K Club in Straffan, Co. Kildare. Of course I knew of its world-renowned golf courses and five-star status. However since March a trickle of events have led me to it.
On Mother’s Day, March 6th, Patrick surprised me with Afternoon Tea there. The service at Afternoon Tea and the setting was wonderful. Our table was positioned at one of the large windows that looked out over the hotels manicured gardens. It was a lovely experience. Well apart from an issue with a receptionist who refused my feeding Smith a bottle in the lobby area. Apparently there’s a no food and drink policy. Although if you’re a middle-aged woman drinking a glass of wine, it’s okay. Yes I did just say that.
Last month, June, I was invited to an event and had the pleasure of being in the company of The K Club’s Chief Sommelier Lisa O’Doherty. We talked wine, food and travel, and even discussed taking a tour of The K Club wine cellar.
This month, July, to celebrate the launch of Alpro’s new Alpro Fusion drink, which you can read all about here, I was gifted a voucher for The K Club. The gift card covered a Voya Rejuvenation experience. The package included: one night’s bed and breakfast, a four course dining experience in the River Room Restaurant, one 55 minute massage or facial each and one 25 minute Rasul experience. A fantastic gift and one very much appreciated.
We arrived at The Kildare Hotel, Spa & Country Club at about 3pm on a Monday. It was one of those dreary days but both Patrick and I were in high spirits. He had just started a week off work and we were on holidays with an action packed week ahead of us.
Check-in was efficient. When booking our package, I also gave my gift card number so there was little else to do apart from hand the gift card over.
Initially Smith was to join us but at the last-minute we decided we’d take his aunties offer of a sleepover and use the night away as a pre-wedding anniversary treat.
At reception we were asked if we still needed a babysitter – I had enquired when booking our room as I was trying to work out how we’d manage our massages and Rasul experience with Smith. I was happy that a note had been taken about my enquiry as I knew that our little boy could be catered for, but on entering our room I was a little perplexed as to why there wasn’t a cot set up for him. Strange.
Our room was a Superior Room. On the K Club website the Superior Rooms are detailed as being “more compact rooms yet still offering a five-star experience”. I can’t argue with that description of its size.
The room did indeed feel cosy (an addition of a cot could have made it very cosy). The decor reminded me of country cottage with its mix matched lamps, vintage furniture, patterned headboard and porthole-style window.
The bed was large and comfy. The bathroom was huge. I loved the hand-painted mural that covered the walls, however they were in need of a clean.
The shower matched the bathroom in size and the bath although an awkward step to get into, was great for relaxing in, especially with the complimentary Voya products supplied.
Shortly after we settled our things in our room we took a stroll through the hotel to The K Spa – Prior to our arrival I booked the package treatments by phone with Ashley who was both friendly and accommodating.
The chandeliers, antique rugs and furniture, working fireplaces all added to the charm of the hotel.
I especially liked this green drawing-room and the unique features like this stone framed wooden door.
The sun even came out to play for a little while as we stepped outside to take in the view of the gorgeous gardens below.
It’s a bit of a walk to The K Spa through the hotel and outdoor courtyard but a pleasurable one too.
Our package included one massage or facial each, as well as a 25 minute Rasul treatment.
Although I tried to convince Patrick a massage or facial would do him the world of good. He decided against both. So lucky me booked a massage for the Monday afternoon and facial for the Tuesday morning after our 25 minute Rasul experience together.
Mona was my therapist for my 55 minute K Club massage. She was brilliant. Friendly and experienced. I felt wonderful afterwards and relaxed enough to sleep right there on the massage table. I didn’t though and was shown to the relaxation room where I had the option to hydrate with herbal teas or water, and nibble on some fresh fruit.
I relaxed a little but returned to our room to prepare for dinner which was booked for 7.30pm.
Before dinner we enjoyed a cocktail each in The Vintage Crop Bar. It’s a small bar with traditional style counter. Our bartender was friendly and mixed our cocktails to perfection. Mine is the Tom Collins by the way, not the Blue Lagoon.
For dinner at the River Room Restaurant we were seated in the round room. The River Room Restaurant gets its name from the fact that it has views of the River Liffey.
Our waiter for the evening was Rome. He was friendly, professional and attentive throughout our dining experience.
Our package included a four course dining experience. Executive Head Chef Finbarr Higgins, a member of Good Food Ireland, is an experienced Chef who supports local and artisan food producers, so I was eager to taste his creations.
Our meal began with a selection of breads and dips that included rapeseed oil, butter and a chilli tomato dip. We made light of them all. We also ordered a bottle of Mosnier Chablis.
For starters Patrick chose Slow Poached Terrine of Castaing Free Range Fois Gras with Homemade Home Preserved Mirabelle Plums, Warm Baby Brioche. The terrine was melt in the mouth and flavoursome. The plum preserve gave the dish its juiciness and warm brioche a subtle sweetness.
I chose Seared West Cork Scallop with Onion Ice Cream, Roasted Fennel Seed Oil and 12 Year Old Balsamic. The presentation was inviting. The scallops were cooked to perfection and were still warm next to the coldness of the onion flavoured ice cream and crispy onion slice. A combination I had yet to try but one I’d be more that happy to again.
The presentation of our main courses were, like our starters, inviting and artistic.
Patrick chose Caor Acla Blackface Achill Island Lamb, Chulchoill Goats Cheese Fondue, Fresh Mint Paint and Estate Wild Garlic Oil for his main course. Patrick’s lamb was divided into three separate cuts of meat. The fondue was elegantly pillared on his plate, with the flavours of all the components complimenting each other and his palate.
I chose Glazed Wild Trout with Nettle and Spinach Purée, Fresh Garden Peas & Broad Beans for my main course. Patrick hates food served on black plates. It doesn’t bother me, especially when my meal tastes delicious. The trout was perfectly cooked, the purées were soft and creamy in texture, and not too sparse. Although a fish option is normally a lighter option, my cut of fish was meaty and my meal hearty … but not overly so. I still had room for dessert.
For dessert Patrick chose Passion Fruit Bavarois with Exotic Fruit Sorbet. It was light and refreshing, cleansing his palate after the richness of his lamb dish main course.
I chose Warm Valrhona Chocolate Fondant with Homemade Bailey’s Ice Cream, Chocolate Caviar. I was in chocolate heaven as my fork glided through the fondant and all the richness of the melted smooth chocolate oozed out. Combined with the homemade ice-cream, I couldn’t fault it.
We were also treated to a selection of petit fours which Rome served to us on a silver tray. The selection of handmade chocolate sweet treats deserved their golden doily and this special treatment. Enjoyed with our double shot espressos, our delicious dining experience came to an end. Fantastic.
Our table that looked out over the gardens as the sun began to set and cast shadows over the ancient trees was magical.
So with dessert and coffees enjoyed, we could see it was the perfect setting for us to take a romantic stroll.
Sunsets in Ireland are beautiful, especially ones that predict good weather.
After our stroll around the gardens we returned to The Vintage Crop Bar for a nightcap before retiring to our room. We slept soundly.
The next morning it was back to the gorgeous River Room Restaurant for breakfast.
The setup for breakfast was indeed five-star, with a selection of breakfast choices available, either to help ourselves or order.
Of course an Irish Fry was on the cards for us but only after a taste of the McConnell’s Oak Smoked Salmon. Quality.
Loughnanes of Galway pork sausages, Heffernan’s of Newbridge rashers, Twomey’s of Clonakilty black and white pudding, poached free-range eggs from Kavanagh’s along with a serving of Hollandaise sauce, glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice and pots of tea and coffee set us up for the day in style.
Then it was back to The K Spa for our 25 minute Rasul experience and my 55 minute facial.
Rasul is the perfect Arabic influenced treatment to enjoy with a partner or indeed a friend.
We were shown to the Rasul chamber by Julia who was also my therapist for my facial. She directed us to the disposable underwear and instructed us to cover our bodies (and each others) with the exfoliating mud she supplied. Online there’s an option of either exfoliating or moisturising but we weren’t given this option.
She then left us to it. There are four seats within the chamber. After we were covered with the mud, we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the steam work its magic on the mud.
After about 20 minutes or so (I didn’t wear a watch) a light shower of warm rain like water fell from the ceiling washing the mud off as it did. There were also showers within the chamber to reach areas missed.
I didn’t put the mud on my face and neck because of my booked facial, however my skin all over after the Rasul felt soft and moisturised. So too did Patricks.
My facial with Julia was gorgeous. Like Mona the previous day, Julia was friendly, professional and very good at what she does. She advised me not to wear makeup too soon after my facial to let the Voya products work their magic on my face and neck. I took her advice and went makeup free for the day. Sunglasses are always a blessing on make-up free days.
Check-out was a little delayed as the receptionist needed to calculate our package from my gift-card but it wasn’t a big deal. To fill the time we had a brief look around the gardens.
Our full K Club Voya Rejuvenation package came to €350 excluding the drinks we enjoyed at The Vintage Crop. Great value for all you get in my opinion, although I have to say that I was very disappointed to learn later that for an additional €85 we could have stayed two nights as opposed to one. When booking over the phone I wasn’t advised of this offer, nor the price.
My advice when booking over the phone is to check all offers online before you do so.
The K Club is a gorgeous hotel, I love its features and character throughout. I recommend the River Room Restaurant for its wonderful dining and The K Spa for treatments and pampering. Past experience leads me to feel it isn’t a very child-friendly hotel but I’m always happy to stand corrected.
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