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.
- 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
- Mud serail
- Riverside log fired tuns
- Beltane hot tub and fire
- Celtic sauna
- Riverside steam room
- Herb caldarium
- Snow paradise
- Experience showers
- Aroma grotto
- Heated relaxation loungers and water beds
- Quartz treatment bed
- Elements spa cafe
- River House body and mind studio
- Aromatherapy Associates
- Lava Shells
Our Spa Spy review
Galgorm is an elegant country house just outside Belfast on the banks of the river Maine. The older part of the house is traditional with eccentric touches -- flamingo-feathered lamps -- while a corridor runs past the restaurants to the modern, elegant spa. Admire the huge collection of contemporary art lining the walls en route.
You can take the staircase or lift down to the spa. Reception is a vast, open space with a desk and blue sofa lit with dangling branches -- just one of the spa's striking sculptural pieces -- and the simple and stylish Elements café.
What's on offer?
What isn't? Thankfully, the receptionist gave us a map and a tour so we could get our bearings. Enter via the changing rooms where your robe and slippers await in your Quaker-style white wooden locker. There are three 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.
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. You can order from a menu of drinks, smoothies, cocktails and snacks. Help yourself to sweets from a large glass jar or pay for an ice cream.
Beyond the Orangery are the original spa facilities. The indoor hydrotherapy pool has a striking Grecian mural at one end. Drift between the massage 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 to six people. A quiet, glass-sided relaxation room with six tiled tepidarium beds overlooks the pool and garden. Step outside to the Jacuzzi pool with four areas, each with bubble-jets, and a traditional outdoor hot tub large enough for six people.
Also in this wing of the spa is another female changing room and a rather glitzy treatment reception area with glittery sofas and chandeliers. There are six treatment rooms along a corridor, 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.
Phew, we think that's everything!
Tell us about the treatments
We had the Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength treatment (85 minutes, from £120).
My therapist, Megan, collected me from the glittery reception area and led me to our low-lit treatment room. I settled on the wide treatment bed and Megan washed my feet with a warm cloth. She asked me to breathe deeply as she pressed my back through the towel, then massaged and applied a layer of hot paraffin wax to my hands and feet.
Megan then gave me a very intense and lovely back massage. The flow was even and deep, using the flats of her hands to make strong, circular sweeping movements. Both hands worked simultaneously and evenly to create a sense of balance, or one would go deeper while the other would soothe: there seemed to be no break in her movements. I wanted to focus on every moment, but I found myself drifting off, utterly relaxed. Megan removed the wax from my hands and feet one at a time, giving each an intense massage.
Megan invited me to turn over and covered me in towels so I was warm. She cleansed then massaged my face, smoothing my brow and pressing along my cheeks and jawline. The massage flowed to my shoulders and décolletage, finishing with a blissful head massage. After the treatment, Megan left me to gather my senses before leading me to the relaxation area, where she brought me a sorbet and tea.
The Inner Strength massage is designed to support people going through challenging times or illness. It is nurturing and luxurious, while the products are gentle and nourishing. I felt balanced and calm with soft, smooth skin.
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 lots of unusual mud treatments and sauna rituals
You can order substantial snacks from a grazing menu in the Orangery, including halloumi and salad, tapas, Greek or Vietnamese salad, sandwiches and soups. I had a delicious open rye sandwich with avocado and prawn cocktail. You can also order soft drinks, teas and coffees, cocktails, wines and beers.
You can also lunch in your robe in the Elements café by spa reception, which is comfortable and stylish, or in Gillies, the main restaurant, which has an area set aside for guests in robes.
If you visit for a spa break, for dinner you can choose between Gillies Grill, popular Italian restaurant Fratelli, or the more formal and elegant River Room restaurant. Our salad and prawn linguini at Gillies were both fresh and substantial.
We loved / we didn't love
The design of the spa: Galgorm is a veritable spa adventure playground, but an aesthetically pleasing and stylish one, embracing nature and the beauty of the surroundings.
Sitting in the hot tub on a brisk, bright November morning by the waterfall, sipping champagne and communing with nature. One of those pinch-me moments.
Our Inner Strength massage, and the uplifting Celtic Sauna Ritual -- make sure you book one!
We didn't love
The crowds descending on the spa in the afternoon and evening. Choose a quiet morning if you want some peaceful time.
Who do you think would like it?
Spa-istas who like a craic: Even though I found many sublime solo moments, Galgorm is a place I want to share with friends and family members.
Nature and water lovers will find pools and thermal rooms aplenty, and the flowing river Maine adds real beauty to the experience.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Spa at Galgorm a Good Spa Guide rating of Five Bubble Luxury; it is an exceptional spa. The new thermal village has been beautifully thought out, making the most of the riverside location. The treatments and relaxation rooms were luxurious, while the friendly, helpful staff made the whole experience special.
Galgorm Resort and Spa has three restaurants; The River Room, Gillies Grill, and Italian themed Fratelli. You can also have afternoon tea in the Conservatory.
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.
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.