5 Bubble Luxury Spa 2017

Galgorm Resort and Spa


Galgorm Resort and Spa is a grand estate set in 163 acres of Northern Ireland parkland, with the River Maine meandering through it. The Spa at Galgorm uses the four basic elements of nature, earth, water and fire to bring harmony to your spa journey, while the newly-created Thermal Village consists of an outdoor Beltane hot tub and open fire, riverside hot tubs and a Celtic sauna – all set in pretty landscaped gardens. The customer service and attention to detail are second to none.

069186_GSG_Winner_BEST_SPA_IN_NORTHERN_IRELAND_

Features

  • XXL robes available
  • Family swim times
  • Two private treatment suites
  • Manicure and pedicure suite
  • Leisure pool
  • Infinity hydrotherapy pool
  • Outdoor hot tub
  • Outdoor Jacuzzi pool
  • Hammam
  • Mud serail
  • Riverside log fired tuns
  • Beltane hot tub and fire
  • Celtic sauna
  • Riverside steam room
  • Sauna
  • Laconium
  • Herb caldarium
  • Sanarium
  • Snow paradise
  • Experience showers
  • Aroma grotto
  • Heated relaxation loungers and water beds
  • Quartz treatment bed
  • Orangery
  • Elements spa cafe
  • River House body and mind studio

Products

  • Aromatherapy Associates
  • BIOEFFECT
  • Voya
  • Lava Shells

Our Spa Spy review

First impressions

First Impressions

Galgorm is an elegant country house with sweeping gardens on the banks of the river Maine. The older part of the house is traditional with eccentric touches -- flamingo-feathered lamps -- while the spa is both modern and elegant spa.

You can take the staircase or lift down to the spa. Reception is a vast, open space with a desk and several sofas.

On offer

What's on offer?

It might be quicker to tell you what isn't on offer at Galgorm. The spa is huge.

Enter via the changing rooms where your robe and slippers await in your Quaker-style white wooden locker. There are four showers and toilets with Aromatherapy Associates products, a large vanity area with a well-lit mirror, hairdryers, hand and body creams. We liked the chill-out area by the entrance; the two sleek leather sofas and coffee table make it feel homely and relaxing.

At the centre of the first wet area is a 20-metre swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the spa garden. Four waterbeds, a spiral shower, four heated tepidarium beds and wicker love seats are dotted around the edges. At one end of the pool is a large glass-fronted sanarium with curving wooden seats with room enough for 16. Lie back and listen to a soundtrack of chirruping birds. Just next door is the icy alpine snow cabin which really does have some magical snow.

Galgorm's Thermal Village is an al fresco spa space set in gardens on the river bank. The famously temperamental weather is part of the experience, with many areas either covered, heated or just steamy and warm to protect you against the cold. An outdoor Sunset Lounge has sofas and tables for warmer weather. A Beltane (Celtic for Bright Fire) hot tub bubbles away next to a covered pavilion with a fire pit, sofas, blankets and warming lamps.

A wooden walkway leads to the Celtic Sauna and Riverside Steam Room, both of which seat 20 people, and have showers, robe hooks and river views. The glass-sided River House relaxation room juts out over the Maine: chill out and gaze at the flowing water. If you want a little more privacy, book one of the four private riverside hot tubs.

The red-bricked Orangery is a bright, light relaxation space with doors leading out to the spa garden. Take a seat in one of the comfortable swinging chairs, green leather recliners or at the wooden table running down the middle.

Beyond the Orangery are the original spa facilities. The indoor hydrotherapy pool has a striking Grecian mural at one end. Drift between the bubbly beds, three swan pipes and bubble-jet seating. Try the traditional wooden sauna, cooler laconium, hot caldarium and steamy aroma grotto, each of which would comfortably seat around four people. A quiet, glass-sided relaxation room with six tiled tepidarium beds overlooks the pool and garden. Outside, the Jacuzzi pool has four areas, each with bubble-jets, and a traditional outdoor hot tub large enough for six.

In the "treatment" wing of the spa is further changing rooms and a rather glitzy treatment reception area with glittery sofas and chandeliers. There are six treatment rooms, as well as a couple's treatment room called The Paris Suite with two roll-top baths, a private spa area called The Boudoir, a Cleopatra bath room, a serail, hammam, and nail bar.

The dark post-treatment relaxation area has six day beds with individual reading lamps and headphones, all of which face a fish tank so you can zone out while watching gorgeous orange fish fluttering away.

Tell us about the treatments

Tell us about the treatments

We had the Quartz Gold Therapy treatment (90 minutes, from £125), exclusive to the spa at Galgorm.

My therapist, Oonagh, collected me from the reception area and led me to our low-lit treatment room, which was dominated by the dedicated quartz bed. The heated bed is filled with tiny quartz crystals like sand.

I lay face down to start. Oonagh asked me to take three deep breaths of frankincense oil, then tucked the sand in around me so I was well supported. She began by striking singing bowls; these created a vibration that ran through the sand and my body. She followed this with a lower back massage before moving on to my neck and shoulders. Oonagh spent a lot of the treatment time on this area, where I carry all my stress. She managed to find tension in muscles I didn't even know I had. Hot poultices added welcome warmth.

I turned over (harder than you might think on shifting sand) and Oonagh massaged my arms, hands, legs and feet; the hot poultices against my palms were particularly soothing.

Oonagh finished with a facial cleanse, a spray of Voya's Ritzy Spritzy Anti-Ageing Toner, and applied a hydrating rose mask. While the mask worked, Oonagh tilted the bed downwards and gave me a scalp massage that was simply divine. Afterwards, she took me to the relaxation room and brought me a small dish of sorbet. I felt balanced, calmer, and certainly unwound.

The Spa at Galgorm offers facials, massages and body treatments with Aromatherapy Associates and Voya products. The menu has specially designed treatments for men and mums-to-be, and mud treatments. Some treatments can be adapted for anyone undergoing treatment or in recovery from cancer.

We tried the sauna ritual, too, a combination of inhaling three different essences (sage, mango milk and toffee apple), cooling down between each, followed by a guided meditation. Fun and relaxing: a winning combination.

Food facts

Food Facts

You can order snacks and main meals from the Elements café, a striking wooden igloo-shaped building in the spa garden, including tasting slates or pastries created using locally sourced ingredients. There's a salad bar which works as a meal in itself, or a side with a main dish.There are also menus in the Orangerie. 

If your spa-day package included lunch, you eat this in Gillies, the main restaurant in the hotel. We dressed, and wouldn't have felt comfortable eating in our robe. The spa menu includes sandwiches, salads, more substantial dishes such as burgers, and one drink.

If you visit for a spa break, for dinner you can choose between Gillies Grill or the popular Italian restaurant Fratelli. We opted for the latter and our linguini carbonara was delicious.

We loved / we didn't love

We loved / we didn't love

We loved

The design of the spa: Galgorm makes the most of its surroundings; watching the river run past from the Celtic sauna is in itself relaxing, and the sound of the river is lulling. We also loved the striking sculptural pieces set about the spa: decidedly unusual.

Watching the sun set from our private riverside hot tub: The warm water was deeply relaxing. Of course, the prosecco and the chocolate truffles were appreciated, too.

Enjoying a swinging chair in The Orangery: a perfect accompaniment to catching up with a book.

We didn't love

The crowds that descend on the spa in the late afternoon and evening. Choose a quiet morning if you want some peaceful time.

Who do you think would like it?

Who do you think would like it?

Friends and family members: Galgorm is a place you want to share and there is both plenty of space and a variety of locations where you can catch up.

Water babies: You have so many pools and thermal rooms to choose from, and the river running past adds to the whole aqua experience.

What bubble rating did you give this spa?

What bubble rating did you give this spa?

We awarded The Spa at Galgorm a Good Spa Guide Bubble rating of 5 Bubble Luxury. The thermal village has been beautifully thought out, making the most of the riverside location. The treatments were unusual and luxurious, while the space allows you to chat with friends or find a quiet moment for some peace. (We're still missing our view of that river…)

Single Spy visited in November 2017 and awarded it 5 Bubble Luxury.

Public Opinion

This spa is...
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What others are saying

"Just love this place and visit it fairly regularly with family or friends. Great way to destress"

Patricia carey

  • February 15, 2018 at 8:11 pm

Voted: A social spa


"Absolutely fantastic spa so clean and so different to other spas .The actual location is spectacular with the river and all the amazing foliage surrounding it.Every section is done to perfection sauna ,steam room pools jacuzzi,even the plants and shrubs around, every season brings its own beauty to the surroundings."

Anna Roberta Lee

  • November 17, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Voted: Health Focused Romantic


"Words alone can't express the most wonderful place on the planet! "

Lilian Lacey

  • November 17, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Voted: Family friendly A social spa Health Focused Solo Friendly Romantic


"No.1 spa ..Nowhere quite like it in Northern Ireland and UK"

Barbara Rock

  • October 20, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Voted: Family friendly A social spa Health Focused Solo Friendly Romantic


Spa Location

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Spa location

Ballymena,
County Antrim,
Northern Ireland ,
BT42 1EA

(0)28 2588 2550

Visit the spa's website

Extra Information

Dining

There are three restaurants; The River Room, Gillies Grill, and Italian themed Fratelli.  You can also have afternoon tea in the Conservatory.

Accommodation

The Resort has 122 bedrooms including standard, superior and deluxe rooms, suites and a Signature Suite. There are also 12 self-catering log cabins and cottages.

Opening Hours

The Thermal Village is open Monday to Sunday: 8.00am-9.00pm. Treatments are available Monday to Friday: 10.00am-8.30pm; Saturday and Sunday: 9.30am;6.30pm. Early or late appointments are available on request.

Treatment menu

View the treatment menu

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