Clodagh Finn discovers that ‘detox’ at Monart in Co Wexford is all about enjoying top-class service and being pampered with sensual body therapies.
It pleases me enormously that a tiny flour-dusted chocolate brownie is pushed across the desk when I check in to Monart, the five-star destination spa in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford. I pop it in my mouth, not letting on that I’m here to dip a toe into the spa’s new detox programme.
If truth be told the word ‘detox’ rankles deeply — somehow, those mean-spirited little syllables seem to be used as a stick to beat us at this time of the year. Indeed, at many times of the year as the body police exhort us to detox for spring, or for the beach in summer, or for the approaching festive season. After it too, of course, and on the vicious circle goes.
All the same, the thought of allowing myself to be cocooned in a green-coffee wrap very much appeals to this winter-battered body.
It helps when I see that my therapist has written her name on a little sign outside the treatment room using a heart instead of a dot over the ‘i’ of Ciara. There are two little ‘xx’s after her name too. It’s a perfect indication of what is to come — a gentle, restorative and uplifting hour of unadulterated pampering.
The green-coffee wrap (€100) is billed as a “cutting-edge cellulite treatment” that works by stimulating your body’s ability to break down fat, increase metabolism, and eliminate water retention.
I’m sure it does all of those things but none of that captures the unexpected pleasure of being slathered in green-coffee extract and wrapped up in a magnificent body-embracing sheath. My head is poking out at one end and even that is being attended to with a scalp massage. It’s as if every inch of your being gets five-star attention.
True, it all leaves a bit of a five-star mess and you emerge sticky and green before stepping into a hot shower. It’s not unpleasant though and while I can’t say whether or not it’s done its cellulite-zapping work, it certainly feels as if I’ve shed an old skin.
I am also so incredibly relaxed that I feel as if I’m floating in a parallel universe. No wonder I take a wrong turn and push the door to the gents. Before going too far, I’m met by a man in the same luxurious bathrobe as mine who thankfully sends me in the right direction.
There is something magical about the one-size-fits-all Monart bathrobe. Not only does it have a democratising effect — we are all the same here, in this world of genderless white towelling — it also has the power to take much away: the outside world, stress, work, worry.
The spa’s setting, on 100 acres of county Wexford countryside, is in itself enough to change the mindset but there is so much more. A person could get used to never having to lift a finger again: your car is parked for you; your case is taken to your room; your bed is turned down in the evening; your drink is poured at mealtime, to mention just a few of the luxurious touches.
Even if you are not specifically following a detox programme, the thermal suite offers a range of treatments that will cleanse and purify, from sauna, steam room and outdoor Finnish sauna to salt grotto and hydrotherapy pool.
The Infra Red Pro chamber, which soothes muscle tension using infra-red light, is a personal favourite. This stiff-shouldered punter can vouch that it really does exactly what it says on the tin. I’ve never had such long-lasting relief so quickly.
Those who want to get the benefit of the spa’s complete detox programme are invited to sign up for a five-day programme. It begins, upon arrival, with a detailed nutrition and fitness evaluation. An individual plan will be tailored to suit each guest which includes a personalised exercise routine and a series of one-to-one consultations to help monitor progress and results.
During the stay, you’ll also have a variety of cleansing and detoxifying treatments, including the aforementioned green-coffee wrap, a Moor mud chamber experience, reflexology or a Monart signature massage experience.
Guests are also invited to join in a series of daily classes, including core stability, stretch and relax, and yoga.
Spa manager Amy Kenny said: “We have designed the ultimate in detox programmes.
"This experience will boost your system and aims to help participants to reach their goals.
"It is a programme that is aimed at people who genuinely want to detox their system and are prepared to follow the regime designed.”
There’s also a follow-up programme to help you keep up the momentum.
You’ll be given a summary of your stay, individual dietary recommendations and a personal training and exercise programme to take home.
If all detox programmes were like this, maybe we wouldn’t feel half as threatened by the word.
Getting there: Monart is an adult-only spa 4km outside Enniscorthy, Co Wexford.
The five-day Ultimate Detox Programme including all food, treatments, individual evaluations and a personal trainer is priced from €1,195pp to include a weekend, or from €1,095pp midweek.