You know when you hear so many rave reviews about a hotel and you think to yourself, “Surely it can’t be as amazing as they’re saying, it’s only a hotel after all”? Well that’s exactly what I thought when I heard people going on and on about Galgorm Resort & Spa
until they very kindly invited myself and Dara up to stay for this past weekend, and let me tell you, all of those people were right, it is absolutely incredible! Even when I asked on Instagram for recommendations for things to do around the Ballymena area, so many people advised me to just stay in the hotel and enjoy it and it wasn’t until we actually got to the hotel that I understood what people meant. The Galgorm Resort
literally has it all, with 4 restaurants to choose from, huge grounds, a thermal village you could easily spend a week in and even a blow-dry bar!
Let’s start with our room, shall we? We stayed in one of the Deluxe River View Rooms
which was absolutely huge and looked out over the Thermal Village and the River Maine. As our room was a deluxe room, there was actually a separate check-in desk where they even had little canapes and flavoured water for us on arrival which I thought was oh so fancy! The rooms in Galgorm have such a lovely, cosy, almost heritage style decor with wood details and tartan accents which I loved. The mini bar in the room which had bottles of Pepsi, Fanta, 7UP, wine and larger was complimentary as were the little snacks (sweet potato crisps and biscuits) that we found on the desk area.
The room had a very cool gadget called the ‘Suitepad’ which had all of the information about the hotel that you may need, including menus for the restaurants etc and it also gave you the ability to book spa treatments and order room service which I thought was very handy! There was also a rather large tv in the room but unfortunately we had forgot to bring our Chromecast and the tv didn’t have Netflix capabilities so we settled for watching the new series of Ozark (who else is obsessed?) on Dara’s laptop instead. I’m sure watching Netflix in your hotel room wouldn’t even cross most people’s minds so the tv wouldn’t be a problem, but I just said I’d mention it if you’re like myself and Dara and I who love to be lazy in the evenings!
Just like the main room, the bathroom was huge too with a massive walk in, rainfall shower, a gorgeous bath and a sink that had a very handy mirror with LED lights. My absolute favourite part of the bathroom had to be the Aromatherapy Associates toiletries. When I say they smelt like absolute heaven I promise I am not over exaggerating. I love when a hotel has top quality products in their bathroom and I actually didn’t even use the shampoo and conditioner I had packed once because the Aromatherapy Associate shampoo and conditioner left my hair so soft and shiny! As I type this I’m also looking up the body lotion they had in the bathroom too as it smelt so delicious (lavender oil and ylang-ylang make the best combination) and left my skin so soft and moisturised that I totally need it in my life!
Like I mentioned at the start of this post, Galgorm has 4 restaurants all with quite different cuisines so there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. There are even two different options for breakfast and since we stayed for 2 nights we got to try them both, all in the name of research of course! Lots of the offers that Galgorm currently have
include dinner so you can have a super relaxing break away and not have to leave the hotel at all, which sounds like heaven doesn’t it? Obviously I can only give my opinion on the food and restaurants that we tried, but I’ve had lots of people say that they really loved all of the other restaurants in the resort too, which is always good to hear!
On our first night in Galgorm we had dinner in Fratelli, their Italian restaurant located just outside next to the main building of the hotel. I am a self confessed pizza fiend and was very excited at the thought of eating my body weight in carbs and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! I had the mini dough balls with garlic and parsley butter to start and I could honestly have eaten 4 plates of them, they were that tasty! Then for mains I had the Salsicia Piccante pizza which again was delicious but just a little bit too spicy for me because I’m a total whimp when it comes to any kind of spicy food, and that was totally my fault for ordering a pizza which literally has the word “spicy” in it’s name!
If you’ve read any of my previous hotel reviews
you’ll know that the breakfast is one of my favourite parts of staying in a hotel, especially if it’s a buffet breakfast! There are two options for breakfast in Galgorm. The River Room breakfast is a set menu with a continental buffet served in the gorgeous River Room conservatory and then there’s a buffet style breakfast in Gillies restaurant. We had breakfast in Gillies on our first morning and my eyes were definitely bigger than my belly, but if you go to a buffet breakfast and don’t eat way too much then what’s the point?! They had everything you could possibly want for breakfast including a pancake station, and I have to say even the quality of the fried food like the sausages and rashers was top notch.
Then on our last morning in the resort we had breakfast in the River Room just because I wanted to see the difference and try both of them out so I could report back on which I’d recommend more, but to be honest the breakfast in the River Room was just as delicious as the buffet breakfast in Gillies. I think it depends on what kind of atmosphere you’re after, as the River Room was so lovely and quiet and chilled out whereas breakfast in Gillies was busy and lively. I ordered the crepes with poached pear, clotted cream and pistachio crumble in the River Room as well as some rashers and sausage on the side because I just love a bit of sweet and savoury. They also had the continental breakfast buffet too so it was nice to have some fruit and yogurt too. All in all I was very impressed with both breakfasts and their coffee was delicious each time!
The Spa & Thermal Village:
I’ve definitely saved my favourite part of the Galgorm Resort & Spa
for last and I could go on and on about how much I loved the thermal village for days! The thermal village in Galgorm really has to be seen to be believed, and then you’ll need a whole day to try out all of the features. There’s a sauna with views of the river, so many jacuzzis, a whole thermal suite with lots of different health benefits, a snow room, the comfiest water beds that are impossible not to nap on, a hydrotherapy pool and even heated seats that looked out onto the river. We were honestly blown away by the sheer size of the thermal village and spent the majority of our time in Galgorm either napping on the water beds and heated seats, or enjoying the steam rooms and saunas until we had big, tomato-like faces!
One of my favourite parts of the Thermal Village
was the Sanarium which was basically a sauna with a lower temperature than usual sauna’s. I could have stayed in there for hours, it was just so peaceful! Another part of the thermal village that I loved was the heated seats that they had next to the main pool and also outside the hydrotherapy pool. They were the perfect way to dry off after a dip in the pool and there were quite a few times I found myself dozing off on them. If you’re feeling a bit peckish from all of the relaxing, the Elements cafe in the thermal village is the perfect place to pop into as they do things like soup, paninis and even cocktails if you feel like treating yourself to one! We both had a delicious tomato soup which came with bread and the best butter I’ve ever tasted and it was a lovely little break from our day of relaxing.
I must mention as well that Galgorm Resort & Spa is just a 40 minute drive from the Giant’s Causeway and a 30 minute drive from The Dark Hedges (for any Game of Thrones fans). We headed up to the Giant’s Causeway after breakfast on Saturday and stopped by The Dark Hedges on the way back to the hotel and were back with enough time for a lovely few hours back in the thermal village!
If you’re looking for a super relaxing getaway, then I couldn’t recommend Galgorm enough. Every member of staff we came into contact with was so friendly and helpful, the hotel itself was so peaceful and chilled, and even though it was a very busy weekend with a few weddings going on, not once did we feel like it was crowded. If you’re looking for a base to explore some of the sights in the North, or you just want to get away for the weekend and not have to leave the resort at all, then Galgorm Resort & Spa is definitely one to consider.
A big thank you to Galgorm for having us as their guests this past weekend, and although this stay was complimentary all opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are 100% honest and my own because what’s a blogger’s opinion worth if they aren’t honest, right?! I hope this review was helpful, and if you have any questions about our stay do let me know. Thanks so much for reading!