I love Kildare Village. A designer outlet with the purr of the Celtic Tiger still to be heard from the prettily quaint American style charm, it is just a lovely place to stroll and people watch. Testing perfumes, hand cream and hunting for a possible bargain has more than charm in its appeal.
The outlet boasts a particularly attractive ambience at Christmas, with the anticipation of Christmas in every frosty breath. This year I didn’t make the trip before the holiday, but we did make a trip in January.
This has its benefits.
It is still atmospherically busy but without the fevered hysteria that gift buying by deadline can bring. People stroll. They smile. Shopping is personal. Buying for just you. You can look for what you didn’t get for Christmas!
I was pleased to see the outlet had extended since our last visit. More stores, more perusing. A new dining establishment and food stands. We sampled the restaurant Le Pain Quotidien.
I had an open sandwich, and a much needed coffee. Served in a bowl (or handle free oversized cup), it buys into the Hygge sensations of getting your hands round something warm and revitalizing. Lovely. Mr Paper had a healthy juice, nutrient packed and green.
Too early for cake, but we purchased some for later. Obviously. How can you bypass such temptation? OK this is a lie. We would happily have had cake but there was something else planned for the late afternoon that required an appetite for sugar.
That being said, a few hours shopping on a feisty, frosty noon did encourage a snackstop. Who can say no to homemade donuts? Drizzled in chocolate, my dreams of fitting into the lingerie on offer at the store opposite the bench we perched upon became slimmer. Unlike my waist. I might need a larger coffin when I die but I will at least leave with a slight smirk on my face. I only ate one by the way…
Chocolate face check and back to Ralph Lauren. I actually bought a few pieces. For me.
Did I mention our final destination? No-one just a tiny hint in the title. It was recently our five year wedding anniversary so we were headed to The Heritage at Killenard. Gigi happily went to one adoring nana for a sleepover and another worshipping nana came to play with a bouncing Betsy. Delighted as they were with the one to one attention, I felt little guilt leaving on this occasion. I also knew that my husband and I needed time away together. A date. To remember who we started out as. Luxury in Kildare was selected over the traditional five year anniversary wood. Does looking at trees count? I am sure it could.
We planned on rest. More and more rest. Much needed- REST.
Afternoon tea was our first stop on reaching this beautiful hotel. Splendour on a awe-inducing scale was certainly the inspiration for this impressive entrance. You cannot help but stare, inelegantly rubbernecking to see where it begins and ends. Clean and beautful, stylish and serene, grandeur on a different level to the standard hotel. A definite Celtic Tiger baby! I am glad it has survived the recession and now can work magic again in the upturn. In the interim, us ordinary folk can afford to stay when deals are on offer. Hurrah!
The Christmas lover in me was extremely happy not to have to let festivity go in early January and I enjoyed the yuletide trim the entrance sported.
Tea was served in view of the grand hall, but we were still comfortably ensconced in a richly designed dining area. As I hoped, the cups and plates were in a vintage style. We were served from real silverware. The presentation of the Afternoon Tea was charming and just lovely to look at. As for eating, my favourite were the drop scones with clotted cream and jam (or ‘preserve’ see Squash my Berries and call them Compote for enlightenment). I am an egg salad phobic so those bite size savouries went to Mr Paper. I enjoyed the teeny triangle of treacle bread and cooked ham but had to pass on the paté. One taste and I will be haunted forever by the memory. Piped paté that looks like chocolate mousse is a cruel, cruel thing. My gustatory senses are not seduced by this delicacy in any way. Getting to the top tier is always a fun time as we get to nibble on fine confections created with love by a connoisseur of delicious things. An almond and pear tartlet was quite tasty but not mind altering. The chocolate based treat was very heavy and-sigh- I didn’t want to eat it. The mini apple pie was delicious. The final touch were adorable snowmen macaroons that were secreted away for the babies at home. (They were coconut flavour and pronounced yuck by my youngest, so I got to taste one anyway. She has a very discerning palate). Unlike Nora in A Doll’s House, I can readily bypass a macaroon, but appreciate the skill they take to make properly and this was a tasty little mouthful of snow with chocolate buttons. What does one do after tea, a nap and a stare into lovely silent space? Head to the spa. Naturally.
We had a package called Tea and Treats that included our three-tiered indulgence with a thirty minute facial and a thirty minute massage each. Ninety nine euros apiece. I think that is pretty good value. We had use of the spa ameneties first which was a relaxing prelude. Our treatments were excellent. I must extol the virtues of my therapist Marthe who gave the most effective massage, focusing on all the knots in my left shoulder expertly. Mr Paper was also very happy with his treatments, in fact claiming it was his best back massage. This is high praise as he has back trouble and is constantly on the trail for the holy grail of massage. This may be a contender.Our night away was peaceful and pleasant, with much required downtime. We had our pastry takeaway the night we arrived home- just in case you were worried that we may have forgotten. No need to worry. A lemon tart found a happy ending.
Just do you all know, nobody paid me or put me to up to writing anything here. We came, we stayed, we stayed low and we paid up!
And I am very glad we did.