The Tethra Spa is located in the basement and ground floor of the boutique Merrion Hotel, in the heart of the Dublin city center, Ireland. The Merrion is self-described as Dublin’s most stylish hotel, and it is indeed quite impressive with gloriously restored rococo plasterwork and cornices, stone hearth fireplaces, sumptuous fabrics and textiles adorning the walls and windows, and an art collection featuring contemporary Irish artists.
The Merrion’s health and fitness center is The Tethra Spa. The hotel claims that it offers “exercise and relaxation in surroundings unrivalled in Dublin” with its 18-metre infinity swimming pool, a gym, steam room and a luxurious private treatment room.
This was my first Irish spa experience and as it is in a stylish boutique hotel, marketed with gorgeous photos, my expectations were fairly high.
The facilities inside the Tethra are a bit sparse. Yes, they have an 18m (59′) swimming pool and a steam room…and that’s about it. The swimming pool is for all hotel guests, not just spa-goers, and since the other facilities are similarly accessible, hotel guests can use the steam room and relaxation areas as well.
Located by the pool, the steam room is co-ed and and on the day we visited, it was quite hot and steamy. It’s a bit too small to be a co-ed steam room available to everyone though, and once you’re inside it can feel a bit cramped and claustrophobic.
There are lounge chairs around the pool for relaxing but to be honest, that space space on either side of the pool is too narrow. I felt like if I wasn’t careful getting up off a chaise I could fall in the pool. The space could have been more effectively used to make a larger steam room and maybe even a sauna. I also have to mention that on the day we were there, on the floor right outside the access door from the women’s side was a giant and 2”-deep puddle of cold water. While that might not be a big deal normally, first it was in a spot you couldn’t avoid walking in, so you had to step in a deep puddle of cold water. Second, it was just gross. Why was there a puddle there? Why wasn’t it cleaned up? Third, isn’t that a safety issue? It was on a tile floor, the drain seemed to be blocked and it was slippery.
On the other side of the pool area, and separated by windows, was another small co-ed relaxation space where you wait to be called for your treatment. Unfortunately it was also near the spa’s check-in desk, so it wasn’t so relaxing after all. It wasn’t very inviting either, and I didn’t feel as if I could hang out here after my treatment.
Massage & Body Treatments
I received the ESPA Holistic Total Body Care signature treatment (85 minutes, €125). While the description stated that was “all encompassing” and would start with a “full body skin brushing and exfoliation to prepare the skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth”, I did indeed receive some sort of scrub but no skin brushing. While way afterwards my skin may have been left soft and smooth, when the treatment was finished I was left feeling sticky and a bit cold. I wasn’t rinsed off with a Vichy shower or even left to rinse off in a regular shower. The therapist simply wiped most of it off with hot towels but there was still a lot of it left on my skin.
After the scrub, she gave me a body, face and scalp massage using a blend of essential oils. It was supposed to be deep (per the description) but it was mostly light to medium pressure. While the scalp massage was relaxing, it was far from being anywhere near the best I’ve had. It was very light pressure, which did very little from a therapeutic standpoint for any muscle/tendon tension in my head. She seemed very conservative with her touch, holding back on the pressure even when I requested it. One nit-picky thing I didn’t like: at one point she admired my eyelash extensions and then right after that she put a cold compress over my eyes and then pressed somewhat hard. Other therapists I’ve had knew better — they don’t do that (especially after talking to me about my lashes) and/or they ask if I want the compress at all because they don’t want to inadvertently damage them or cause them to fall out.
Everyone in the Tethra Spa was super friendly and professional. They were all soft-spoken with those lovely Irish lilts. The booking process was relatively easy, although I did have to make a long distance call at a very late hour (my time) in order to book my treatments. This could have been simplified (and cheaper) had they used an online booking system.
Service from my massage therapist/practitioner was equally lovely, though she wasn’t the most experienced therapist I’ve ever had.
If you are in Dublin and staying at the Merrion, by all means visit the spa. There are some decent treatments and you can use the facilities from pretty early in the morning till 9pm. If you’re not staying at the Merrion, you’re probably better off visiting another spa with better facilities and more experienced practitioners.
- Indoor pool
- Steam room
- Fitness center
$$$$ = Pricey
The Tethra Spa is located inside the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, Ireland.
Upper Merrion Street
Dublin 2, Ireland
HOURS OF OPERATION
Spa Facilities: 6:30 am – 9:00 pm Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 9:00 pm Saturday & Sunday.
Spa Treatments: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
HOW TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
You’ll have to make a long-distance call to book your appointment at the Tethra and keep in mind they are in the GMT time zone. From North America, dial 011 353 1 603 0600 to make an appointment.