Situated in 163 acres of lush parkland 30 minutes outside of Belfast is Galgorm Resort & Spa, one of Northern Ireland’s most lavish hotels. On arriving, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a fairy tale; not only do you have the picturesque River Maine to admire, but also a 17th-century castle on the horizon.
The resort is home to 75 bedrooms, all decorated in a traditional style with contemporary comforts; think a comfy king-size bed, well-equipped fridge and those necessary tea-making facilities (plus complimentary shortbread biscuits). Step onto the balcony and you’ll find a breathtaking panoramic view, complete with comfortable chairs in which you'll want nothing more than to wile away the sunset hours.
While you’re staying at Galgorm, you’d be foolish to neglect the spa. From the moment you’re welcomed with a white fluffy robe to the minutes you spend unwinding in the relaxation-room post-treatment, the entire experience is centred on your absolute comfort. We’d recommend indulging in one of the handcrafted massages, which are tailored to your own tastes, from the pressure to the scented oil, the music and temperature. Once you’ve finished being pampered, there are still the pools and hot tubs to enjoy; and don’t worry, the outdoor Jacuzzis are heated, to account for that unpredictable Irish weather.
Food and drink
At dinnertime you’ve got two options; either fine dining in the River Room or a more low-key yet lively meal at Gillies Bar & Grill. Gillies became our go-to throughout our stay, and not out of routine; the scene changes from morning to night, making it seem like two entirely different establishments. Lounge in your robe during the lunch hours and choose from simple but excellently executed burger and salad options, then enjoy first-class cocktails for happy hour at the bar, before being seated for dinner. With such a range, it’s no surprise that Gillies is frequented by guests and locals alike.
Although it would have been easy to stay within the confines of the resort, the city and scenic attractions of Belfast are not to be missed. Despite the region’s relatively small size, we would still recommend hiring a car in order to make the most of what Belfast has to offer – the hotel will be more than happy to oblige. Make sure to visit the historic Giant’s Causeway (a world heritage attraction) and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge; also make sure to take the time to stop in at some of the family-owned local restaurants and businesses – their traditional family recipes are exceptional, and everyone will have a smile for you.
Galgorm Resort & Spa, Dhs710 a night including breakfast and use of the Thermal Spa, Galgorm.com
Via Harper’s Bazaar UK