If you find yourself in Co. Sligo, Ireland, make the trip to Strandhill for a seaweed bath. It is such a deeply relaxing experience that you might find yourself smiling alone in a tub holding two handfuls of organic seaweed (sorry, I couldn’t resist – when you see the quality of my picture below you’ll see why I had to lead with someone else’s).
To those accustomed to spas outfitted with glittering mosaics and light therapy showers, the Voya baths list refreshingly towards the simple end of the spectrum.
You’ll enter a small, private room and see a wooden chair piled with towels, a steam shower, and a piping hot batch of seaweed in a partially filled tub. It will look something like this:
See what I mean? Getting a good shot in a tiny, steamy room is nigh impossible.
Start with a brief steam shower. It opens your skin’s pores, allowing them to better absorb the nutrients from the seaweed. Then, top off the tub with cool water until it reaches your desired temperature. (Fascinating fact: Voya runs ocean water straight into your tub.) Settle in for a long soak, and let the seaweed’s essential oils do their magic. Top it all of with another steam. Don’t forget to pile your used seaweed in the pail before you leave: in its next life, it will serve as fertilizer on a nearby farm.
On a personal note: long baths are not generally good for dry skin like mine (hot water leaches the skin’s natural oils), but my skin felt silky and comfortable coming out of this one. I’d go so far as to say it was the best bath I’ve ever had.
You’ll emerge hungry. Head next door to the Shells Cafe for a hearty sandwich of local goat cheese and cranberry chutney on freshly baked bread, or continue the detox with a bright carrot soup.
Whatever you order, you’ll have Strandhill’s view to enjoy it with.