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 with sweeping gardens on the banks of the river Maine. The older part of the house is traditional with eccentric touches -- think flamingo-feathered lamps -- while the spa is both modern and elegant.
You can take the staircase or lift down to the spa. Reception is a vast, open space with a desk and several sofas.
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, slippers, a towel and a bottle of water (a nice touch) await in your Quaker-style white wooden locker. There are four showers and toilets with Aromatherapy Associates products; four sinks with deodorant and mouthwash to help yourself to; and a large vanity area with a well-lit mirror, hairdryers, hand and body creams, facial cleanser and moisturising serum. You'll want for nothing else. 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 and four heated tepidarium beds 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 chirping 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. We made a beeline for the bubbly hydro-pool with its bubble chairs and river views. Two Beltane (Celtic for Bright Fire) hot tubs bubble 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.
New for 2018 is the Sensory Garden, a pretty, tranquil space with three bookable wooden cabins to relax in, each with its own private hot tub.
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 are 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, and a blow-dry bar which is new for 2018.
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
We tried the Quartz Gold Therapy treatment (90 minutes, from £125), exclusive to the spa at Galgorm.
My therapist, Donna, 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. Donna 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. Donna 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 Donna massaged my arms, hands, legs and feet; the hot poultices against my palms were particularly soothing.
Donna 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, Donna 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 mango sorbet and a peppermint tea. I felt fully relaxed, while my skin felt soft and silky.
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, cooling down between each with handfuls of ice, followed by a guided meditation.
You can order snacks and main meals from the Elements café, a striking wooden igloo-shaped building in the spa garden, including tasting plates or pastries created using locally sourced ingredients.
We tried a plate of mixed salad (Greek, Thai, honey potatoes and coleslaw) washed down with a cheeky glass of Prosecco.
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 crayfish risotto was both light and delicious.
We loved / we didn't love
The design of the spa: Galgorm makes the most of its surroundings; watching the river run past from the Celtic sauna is uber relaxing, and the sound of the river is lulling.
Our private riverside hot-tub experience: Watching the river flow by while sitting in warm water drinking Champagne and eating chocolates was a real highlight.
Our wash and blow dry: We left Galgorm Resort & Spa with shiny locks done in a 60s style.
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?
Friends and family members: Galgorm is somewhere to share; 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.
Couples: Between the river setting and the private hot tubs to sip Prosecco in (and propose in, apparently), Galgorm has romance written all over it.
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 luxurious, while the space allows you to chat with friends or find a quiet moment for some peace. The Spa at Galgorm is continually evolving, too, with more to discover each year; watch this space.
There are 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.