REVIEW: Spending the night at Galgorm

By Rory Cashin

March 30, 2022 at 8:30am


Looking to decompress? Look no further...

Why make a reservation?

If you truly want a break from the norm, the opportunity for a complete disconnect from the outside world, then this is a must.

Set the scene

The resort is set upon its own compound that feels like its in the middle of nowhere - but in actuality is just a few minutes drive from the nearest town - and immediately you get a sense that something is different, calmer, when you pass through the opening gates. Everywhere you look, people are serenely strolling the huge grounds in their brown bathrobes and poolside sliders. You know you are at a spa resort.

There are maps dotted all over the resort because the sense of scale here needs to be seen to be believed: it could be its own little town all by itself.


The main hotel is the first landmark you'll see upon arrival, as well as two beautifully designed churches, both apparently named after Rolls Royce cars, giving you the idea of luxury you're entering. After that, you can branch off to your preferred destination, be it your unique accommodation, the high end spa or the thermal village located right at the front of a flowing river.

The rooms

While there are "regular" hotel rooms available, as well as self catering lodges, for our stay we were located in what is called The Shepherd's Hut. Inside you've got everything you need, from a well-equipped kitchen to very impressive connectable sound system to an incredibly comfortable and oversized bed.

But the pièce de résistance is the one-two combination of the outdoor bathtub and nearby fire-pit. The absolutely HUGE bathtub looks out over the nearby river, and if you get your fire-pit going, then a night-time soak in that tub is truly going to be one of those "I'll remember this experience forever" kind of moments.

Food & drink


There are quite a few options available for customers for food: Fratelli's specialises in incredible Italian food (we had arguably the best pizza and pasta we've had in a LONG time from here), Gillies Grill hosts an eclectic menu including a house special burger that requires both hands to properly hold on to, while The River Room, The Conservatory and the Castle Kitchen will all provide something from their menus that is sure to satisfy whatever you're in the mood for.

Gillies Grill is also the location for your breakfast each morning, which is divided up into an impressive spread of healthier options and a grill room full of all your Irish favourites and a few tasty additions you can only get closer to the north of the island.

There is a Gin Library located near the main hotel reception that has hundreds of different types of gins for all of your G&T needs, while McKendry's is where you need to hit up for a great pint of Guinness and some live music during the evenings.

The service

Beyond the rooms and the food & drink, there is also the incredible spa (we took part in a Celtic Sauna Experience, which was 15 minutes of pure relaxation and invigoration, very highly recommended), but there is also the jaw-dropping thermal village.

It is all situated along the bank of a bustling river, with countless outdoor hot tubs and jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, plunge pools, relaxation pods and sun loungers, as well as indoor pools if you want to get your laps in.

We happened to catch all of this on a profoundly sunny day and it truly felt like we had been fully relocated closer to the equator. However, one of the many friendly and helpful staff members told us that during winter - should it be foggy or snowing - the resort takes on another, different life of its own, so we're already planning a revisit in the winter.

Where is it?

You can find Galgorm in Ballymena in Antrim, about 2 1/2 hours drive from Dublin, or a little under an hour's drive from Belfast.


Prices from?

At the time of writing, one weekend night in the Shepherd's Hut, which comes with the buffet breakfast, free access to the Thermal Spa Village, and a chance to try out the Celtic Sauna Infusion, is priced at €496 on their official website.