Local Women Magazine editor Lisa Smyth takes refuge from deadlines and downpours at Kintala Resort & Spa.

What do you get when Storm Agnes meets the Local Women Magazine deadline week?

The answer is, quite simply, a very stressed-out editor.

Without boring you with the ins and outs of my domestic situation, the power to our house is bizarrely located in an outbuilding with a less than waterproof roof.

The result is a very unreliable power supply during heavy rainfall and an intermittent internet connection. Definitely not what you need when you’re trying to put the finishing touches to five magazines with only days to spare!

So, a visit to Kintala Resort & Spa was a welcome reprieve from the demands of deadlines that were being painfully compromised by the torrential rain!

Located just outside Dungiven on the back road to Limavady, you turn off the Drumrane Road onto a leafy driveway. To the right are the luxury lodges and glamping pods which are lined up under a canopy of trees. To the left is the spa – my destination for the afternoon.

After a warm and friendly welcome and a short time spent filling in the pre-treatment questionnaire, we were whisked to the changing facilities which have everything you could possibly need for before and after a pampering session.

We were particularly enamoured by the thick, fluffy green robes! And they turned out to be just perfect as we ran through the storm from the spa to the hot tub later in the afternoon!

The spa at Kintala offers a comprehensive range of treatments. Among the offerings are a range of massages, including two massage treatments for mums-to-be.

There are two body treatments – the Ultimate Exfoliation which is an all over body treatment which gently removes dead skin cells, encouraging the regeneration of new cells.

The All Over Glow treatment includes a full body scrub, followed by a personally tailored facial.

The team at Kintala uses Italian luxury and ethical skincare brand, Comfort Zone, which combines the best of science and nature to deliver results-driven, sustainable skincare.

On top of that, all the products are created in Parma within a facility that uses 100% of its energy from renewable sources and is fully CO2 compensated, thanks to a reforestation initiative.

There is also a couples’ room to allow clients to enjoy their massage together.

The Two to Tango treatment is described as the ultimate couples’ treatment to promote wellness and relaxation. It starts with a full body massage and is followed by a facial to suit your skin’s needs. The experience is rounded off with the hot tub and sauna with champagne and strawberries.

Childcare duties meant I left Mr S at home, so there was no romance at Kintala for me, however, my fellow frazzled mum friend was with me and it gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up.

But first, our treatments!

Zara opted for the full body massage. I decided to go for a back, neck and shoulder massage, followed by an Indian head massage.

The treatment room was snug, cosy – a world away from the wild weather outside. As I lay down, I was delighted as I realised the bed was heated. I can’t impress on you enough how much I loved this.

I hate being cold – Mr S and I have a constant battle over the temperature in our bedroom at night – and there have been times over the years where a spa treatment has been ruined because it simply wasn’t warm enough.

Better still, the hot oils used during my back, neck and shoulder massage added to the luxury of the whole experience.

My 30-minute back, neck and shoulder massage came at just the right time. As a health correspondent during the pandemic, I spent more hours than I care to remember stuck at my kitchen table covering the biggest story of my career.

Funnily enough, I have been plagued by neck pain ever since, so the massage was just what I needed to get me through the latest deadline week.

The highlight for me, however, was the Indian head massage. As a young child, my mum used to put me to sleep by stroking my head. For some inexplicable reason, I have never had a head massage before so this experience at Kintala Resort & Spa was an absolute treat.

Kintala Resort & Spa

Not only that, but I was cocooned inside a blanket throughout and a heavy and heated mask was placed over my eyes. Sheer bliss for this stressed-out mum!

I found going from the back, neck and shoulder massage into an Indian head massage intensely relaxing – so much so that I struggled to stay awake! In fact, the worst part about the whole treatment was when it came to an end.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I could quite easily have rolled over and spent the rest of the afternoon – and probably the night – in a deep sleep!

However, the hot tub and sauna were calling. So too was a long overdue catch up with Zara.

We spent an hour going between the sauna and hot tub, thankfully covered which protected us from the torrential rain. There was something satisfying about sitting among the bubbles and looking out over the rolling green fields while we were sheltered from the storm.

Our time was spent chatting mainly about our kids. Why do we mummies do that when we finally get a chance to relax?! As Limavady girls born and bred, we also bemoaned the fact we had never before been to Kintala Resort & Spa.

However, we did come to the conclusion that we will be back and we’ll be scheduling in an overnight stay at one of the lodges, In fact, we’ve decided it will be the perfect base when Stendhal Festival returns next summer.