The Spa Hotel Review: Galgorm Resort & Spa, Belfast
Review: Val Jones
This grand hotel is just 30 minutes from Belfast City Airport, which makes it a great destination for a weekend mini break. The Estate itself is set in 163 acres of parkland and the hotel itself used to be a County Manor House that boasts beautiful views over the River Maine which runs through the grounds, and can be fished by guests of the hotel. There is a separate building in the grounds which serves as a venue for weddings housing two event rooms, with another room adjacent to the hotel where a a grand amount of 400 weddings took place last year.
Facilities – River Room Restaurant/Conservatory/Gin Library/Fishing/Wedding Venues/Spa and Thermal Village/Fratelli Restaurant/Gillies Restaurant and Bar/Riverside Cabin/Fisherman’s Cottages/Airport Transfer
The hotel currently has 122 bedrooms and suites with plans for a further extension. The décor throughout the property was contemporary but still had that ‘country house’ feel. Our bedroom was in the Deluxe Wing which allows guests to have a separate check in desk, this was a well thought out idea as it reduced the footfall for the main reception.
Our Deluxe River Room featured light oak fittings, cream and cappuccino hued walls and luxurious Rolf Benz furniture, the leather sofa alone costing an eye watering £9000. It was clear to see that no expense has been spared in this both modern and inviting room, with its’ King sized bed, crisp white sheets & complementary mini bar. Our original plan was to explore the surrounding town and area while we were here, but having seen the extend of the hotel resort we knew straight away we wouldn’t want to miss out on everything this luxe destination had to offer.
Spa & Thermal Village – Facilities: Indoor Pool & Infinity Hydrotherapy Pool, Snail shower & Water Beds, Sanarium and Sauna Experiences, Snow Cabin, Outdoor Jacuzzi Pool & Hot Tub, Beltane Hot Tub & Fire, River House, Relax Orangery & Elements, Extensive Treatment Menu, Private Riverside Tubs.
As guests of the hotel we had complementary access to what can only be described as quite frankly, the grandest and definitely best spa facilities that we have ever experienced – both indoor and outdoor. We made great use of all the options, and as the weather was kind to us and we particularly liked the outside elements including the Jacuzzi pool, hot tubs and the relaxation beds. Some of the facilities can be booked for private use and the hot-tubs by the river seemed to be a favourite with guests, and with plenty of accompanying champagne on the go.
We enjoyed lunch at the Elements Restaurant situated within the Thermal Village and the menu was great for snacks and drinks. Guests can eat inside or out, with additional seating dotted about.
After lunch we headed to the spa and enjoyed the fantastic facilities before I went for my spa treatment, the Quartz Serenity Ritual. After initial consultation with my therapist I was seated in a waiting area and was offered deluxe chocolates and herbal tea prior to being shown to my treatment room, where I was intrigued to see that instead of the usual treatment beds there was a bed filled with heated Quartz Crystal Sand, my therapist explained interesting therapy addition was derived from the ancient Greek concept of ‘psammotherapy’ – which is hot sand therapy
The treatment started with the Singing Bowl Meditation Ritual which sends vibrations to the heart and joints and evokes a deep state of relaxation, reducing stress levels and lowering blood pressure. This holistic healing balances the Chakras’ and strengthens the immune system leaving a sense of stillness, happiness and wellbeing. This ritual was followed by a fantastic full body massage, at first I thought hot stones were being used but it was in fact pouches of the Quartz Crystal Sand. This treatment is essentially designed to dissolve muscle tension, diminish pain and promote wellbeing by inducing deep comfort and relaxation and improve blood and lymphatic circulation by stimulating internal organs. During the massage I could also feel the heat of the warm Quartz Crystal Sand soothing my body from the bed. Once this glorious 90 Minute treatment came to an end, I was shown into The Orangery in the Thermal Village to relax and enjoy my mint water and refreshing sorbet – a perfect way to relax and enjoy the views.
We had booked a table in the River Room for our evening meal. restaurant with crisp white table clothes and beautiful décor and the views over the River Maine were spectacular. All restaurant staff were attentive, thoroughly explaining menu choices and answering any questions we had without hesitation. The River Room offers either the Taster menu or 3 Course a la Carte Menu. We went for the latter, starting with delicious canopies.
We were not surprised to find we enjoyed all our menu choices as the food was amazing. The Highlights however were starters of Cured Halibut, Lobster, Curry, Radish & Oyster Leaf and also a starter of followed by a Sweetcorn Valoise topped with a delicious Crispy Chicken Skin – both were delicious! The main dish of Dry Aged Beef, Foie Gras, Kale & Beetroot Sorbet was an interesting combination but highly recommended. We finished with the cheese board – a well curated selection of cheeses, many being local. After dinner we stopped by the hotel’s Gillies Grill & Bar which features live music on a weekend in the bar area. The band were great and the atmosphere was lively – we even managed a dance or two!
Later in the evening when we made our way back to our room we noticed The Conservatory bar was hosting a live swing singer and as he sounded so good, we couldn’t resist having a night cap. We also promised ourselves we would attend a gin tasting session the next day at The Gin Library which boasts over 150 gins to choose from – well, it would be rude not to!
The next day we had breakfast in The River Room where there were a wide range of options from the Buffet, and tea, coffee and juice were served to our table with a la Carte menu choices. I enjoyed the Kippers with Lemon Butter and my Husband opted for the full Irish breakfast – packed with local produce – again the food and service were both great which seems as standard from this first class hotel.
Prices start from £145.00 B&B midweek for a standard room up to £205.00 B&B midweek for their new Deluxe rooms.
This rate also includes access to the Thermal Spa Village (75,000sq ft of indoor & outdoor experiences).
Spa treatments start from £55 per person and dining in the 3AA Rosette River Room Restaurant starts from £50 per person.