Situated within 163 acres of lush Irish countryside in County Antrim (just outside Belfast), Galgorm Resort & Spa is an impressive luxury spa hotel with 127 rooms, an outdoor Thermal village and three large dining areas. Galgorm caters to both locals seeking a fine dining experience as well as spa enthusiasts from across Europe who book in for a restful weekend.
At most spas, you come to expect fluffy towels, an array of saunas and steam rooms, lovely food, staff happily attending your requirements and a feeling of overall relaxation and enjoyment. What we didn’t expect was delicious lemon sorbet served after a massage, a free (and regularly replenished) mini bar, a Quality Street chocolate wrapped in our dinner napkins, a 3AA Rosette dining experience and a Gin Library with more than 250 gins. It’s that extra attention to detail and the impeccable hospitality at every point of your stay that made our stay at Galgorm feel truly exclusive.
The Thermal Village
The Thermal Village is a vast and welcoming labyrinth of cold rooms, hot rooms, invigorating aromatherapy rooms and meditative rooms, which provide a great place to while away a few hours with only the sound of the fast-flowing River Maine in the background. The outdoor hot tubs, hydro pools and the open fire pit are the perfect place to hole away for warmth and relaxation during the depths of winter.
The impressive 25-metre pool is perfect for getting in some lengths and The Orangery is a fab place to relax and enjoy a light snack.
Despite the hotel being busy with guests and the spa being busy with day visitors, there was always enough space to accommodate everyone without it feeling cramped.
The Celtic Sauna Ritual
A gong sounded to mark the start of the ritual and we entered the sauna with a group of nervous looking people, all slightly unsure as to what to expect. Chris, our ‘sauna master’, soon put our minds at rest with his relaxed confidence, healthy glow and friendly introduction. Over a 12-minute period, Chris mixed a variety of essential oils, which he placed on hot stones, while instructing us to inhale deeply as he wafted hot air in our faces with a hot towel, all while explaining the health benefits of essential oils.
To help keep us cool, Chris provided us with snow that we could use to cool down and he also ensured that we stayed hydrated. Afterwards, we were led to the riverside lodge where we were instructed to lie down while Chris opened the window to let in the soothing sounds of bird song and the flowing River Maine as he guided us through a mindfulness meditation session.
At only £15, this really is an essential treatment!
To help us unwind, my friend and I both had the back and shoulder massage. I often find that massages can be a bit of a disappointment at spa hotels, but not at Galgorm; my masseur gave me a fantastic deep tissue massage that left me feeling amazing.
The River Room
The highlight of Galgorm’s three restaurants is The River Room, a 3AA Rosettes restaurant where head chef Johnnie Boyd serves up delicious high quality locally sourced Irish cuisine. The smallest of the three restaurants at Galgorm, its intimate atmosphere and excellent service make it a truly special dining experience.
We knew we were in for a treat when we were offered delicious canapes compliments of the chef. We devoured the crispy chicken skin with brown crab mayo; haggis fritter with turnip puree; and the turbot ceviche.
The short rib starter served with parmesan crisp and quails egg wrapped in potato string was fab. We loved the quality of the fresh fish and the perfect balance of flavours, which we savoured with every bite.
Throughout our meal, we were impressed by the presentation and the incredible mix of textures on our plate. The restaurant is currently striving for a Michelin star and we're confident they’re on their way to great success.
Gin lovers are in for a treat with the Gin Library, which boasts more than 250 gins. Here knowledgeable staff are on hand to help guests find a gin that best suits their tastes. Sitting in The Conservatory, listening to jazz as we looked at the river and sipped gin cocktails (served with popcorn, which we thought was a nice touch), we began to feel fully relaxed.
For true gin connoisseurs, there is the option to enjoy a gin tasting with your meal for £50.
My friend and I had arrived at Galgorm stressed from the chaos of London and work demands. Forty-eight hours later, we sprung out of Galgorm transformed, akin to two giddy teenagers who were full of life. Everyone made such an effort to look after us during our stay (especially John the Head Concierge), helping us to leave feeling so invigorated we’re already planning our trip for next year.
Galgorm Resort & Spa
136 Fenaghy Road
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