Galgorm: Showing us why 2022 will still be the year of the staycation

Pre-March 2022, I would not have considered a staycation in the United Kingdom, given a general preconception of poor value for money offered by the hospitality industry. [...]

Pre-March 2022, I would not have considered a staycation in the United Kingdom, given a general preconception of poor value for money offered by the hospitality industry. However, the last 2 year have shown us, that our hotel industry has seriously upped its game and have pumped countless pounds into its facilities to make them world-class. A case in point is my recent visit to Galgorm in Northern Ireland which is a mere half an hour from Belfast. With the recent airport issues, flying to Belfast is a much safer bet than flying further afield with countless flights from numerous British airports daily. (Although, saying that, I am still liaising with British Airways to claim compensation for a cancelled Belfast flight).

Travelling from Belfast to Galgorm is the opposite of the M4 Heathrow experience. Rolling green meadows and towering trees greet your arrival and if you want an even more VIP experience, arrange for one of their Rolls Royce Phantoms to pick you up from the airport. The long gardened drive up to the reception area sets the scene for a regal experience even if the front of the hotel building seems deceptively unassuming. There are over 163 acres of serene woodland for you to discover.

What immediately catches the eye is the picturesque beauty of the River Maine, which flows through the estate and the immaculately manicured flora which blooms on the estate. The resort used to be a very important local mill hence why the river plays such an important role on the estate. The hotel has been expanding exponentially with the boom in staycations and offers hotel rooms, shepherd’s huts, cottage suites, log cabins, residences and treehouses. The core of their business is the 125 hotel rooms divided into suites, deluxe and superior rooms. The rooms are extremely spacious ranging from 32 m² to 122 m². Most have impeccable views of the scenic river. Whilst the complimentary minibar is always a crowd-pleaser including local craft beers. You know it’s a no-expenses-spared experience when you find Aromatherapy Associate amenities, Dyson heater/fan and Marshall Bluetooth speaker. The king-sized beds offer a pure blissful sleeping experience with their King Koil mattresses.

There is no shortage of dining options to choose from including The River Room, one of only 4 restaurants in Northern Ireland to be offered 3 AA Rosettes. And options for Italian food lovers at Fratelli Ristorante, options for meat lovers at Gillies Grill and a gastropub experience at Castle Kitchen + Bar. The latter I would particularly recommend if you want a little trip outside of the estate, as it’s situated at the Galgorm Castle Golf Club and the hotel will provide complimentary transportation to and from the restaurant. Whilst the Gillies Grill is also well worth visiting, not just because they source some of the finest cuts of Irish aged steaks but they also have Asian twists on their meat-heavy menu. Their bang bang chicken with a hypnotic mix of sweet chilli, soy and satay is a guilty pleasure to savour.

Castle Kitchen + Bar

The jewel in the crown of Galgorm is their thermal spa village. Calling it a village is a very apt description of their facilities with every possible spa experience under the sun available. This is not an exhaustive list but includes Celtic sauna infusion, snow cabin, sanarium, snail shower, the salt cave, Beltane hot tubs, saunas and pools. You can enjoy an exclusive individual hot tub relaxation session right by the river and this is the kind of restorative therapy that can take away every scintilla of stress from your body.

If you want to enjoy professional spa treatments, make sure you book well in advance as their slots do book up very quickly. Highly recommended are their opulent aromatherapy massage on a heated massage bed and the anti-aging skinceuticals expert skin-specific facial. With the former, they will even give your recommended regular treatment suggestions to ensure you reap the full benefits.

If you looking for a wellness escape, Galgorm is the place to check out with their world-class thermal spa village. It is a one-of-a-kind experience in Ireland and great value for money with what they are offering.

Rooms are from £195 per night including breakfast

You can book an individual hot tub in its secluded riverside spot to enjoy an hour soaking in the freshwater and watching the local wildlife with a bottle of fizz for £80.

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