Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Review: the express manicure at LaNú Medi Spa, Drogheda

Just 40 minutes outside Dublin, LaNú Medi Spa is a cosy, homely day spa with a list of treatments longer than Chris Brown’s rap sheet

Thu, Nov 14, 2013, 09:54


Image via Maidenhead Podiatry (and, crucially, not of my grubby mitts)

Google “spa Ireland” and you get 102 million results. Yes, you get approximately 26 results for every person living in the country. Now, I’m no fool (yes, Google, I’m talking to you) and I’m aware that approximately 47 per cent of these results are porn-related, but the truth, whatever way you Google it, is that spas are fairly big business.

Which is why, when a newly merged medi-spa group approached me to drive the 40 minutes to Drogheda and try out their services, it was a done deal; we’re both cash- and time-poor of late, and day spas are to Monart what express nail services are to WAH.

LaNú Medi Spa is a joint venture between Sharon Gilmartin’s Anu Therapie and Frank Brannigan’s La Spa Therapie (I wonder how Therapie-Therapie felt about all this?), combining Gilmartin’s medical focus (think laser hair removal, Botox and fillers) with Brannigan’s perhaps more familiar brand of spa treatments (facials, massage and tanning).

What you get now is a seriously cosy space on the Dublin Road (opposite the excellent Black Bull pub) that’s divided in two: on one side, you’ve got your spa treatment rooms, all dim lighting, delicious-looking soaking tanks (I almost had to be pulled away) and a funky, Orla Kiely-treated nail lounge, while on the other you’ve got a tranquil space with treatment rooms for the slightly more serious – but no less luxurious – side of the business.

Entering LaNú is a pleasantly surprising experience. The exterior is a little incongruous; without the signage, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just another detached two-storey house. Once inside, though, the scent of lemon candles and the sound of soothing music quickly assure you that you’re firmly in spa territory.

I was greeted by Laura, who welcomed me, offered me water (in a large, super-clean jug with chunks of lemon and lime – a lovely touch) and told me about the three express services I could choose from: an Indian head massage, reflexology and an express manicure. Having just had a scalp treatment at Moyo, and being firmly against reflexology since all they ever do is tell me that I do – or did at one stage – smoke, I opted for the express manicure.

Honest truth? I wasn’t expecting much. My favourite part of the manicure is when they go to the bother of ridding you of all of your horrible cuticles, and this is usually left out of an express which, in my experience, consists of a file, buff and polish. So imagine my surprise when the lovely Céline got out the cuticle softener and got to work.

A mere 15 minutes later I was cuticle-free, my nails were filed down to a lovely natural shape (does anyone else find that “natural” is the one nail shape most manicurists can’t do?) and painted a vibrant shade of orange – picked to match the gorgeous chairs in the nail lounge, which boasts Orla Kiely wallpaper (which I loved, despite hating the bags) and curtains.

Celine told me that nail polish is a rare treatment at LaNú – with the advent of Shellac, we’re all going for longevity in nail colour – but at €15 (compared to Shellac’s €30, and am I the only one who gets bored of my colour after a few days?) it’s a fairly cost-effective treat.

With a seriously long list of services at fairly competitive prices (a spa manicure is €45, a Brazilian is €35 and a 40-minute Fire & Ice Spa Facial will set you back €85), LaNú is worth a visit (and Celine tells me there’s a place in Scotch Hall that will clean your car – inside and out – for €20, which would be a fairly great double whammy). Any criticisms? I would have liked to have seen fresh, rather than fake, flowers – a pretty small complaint on a long list of recommendations.

I was a guest of LaNú, as part of filming for RTÉ’s The Takeover.