Make It Memorable and experience ultimate holiday vibes with a summer staycation at Galgorm Collection
The warm weather of summer is on the horizon, bringing with it visions of road trips in the sunshine, refreshing cocktails enjoyed on deck chairs next to a blazing BBQ, and even sand-covered beach towels underneath a balmy blue sky.
Reaching the mid-way point of the year often encourages us to take stock of what’s important – to schedule some vital self-care, to take time to relax, and of course to book those all-important holidays or staycations that allow us to spend time and make memories with family and friends.
For some of the best summer escapes, check out the globally renowned Galgorm Collection, Northern Ireland’s premier collection of luxury hotels, bars and restaurants, and enjoy the unique accommodation, rejuvenating spa experiences, and indulgent dining on offer that are sure to create those memory-making summer moments to look back on for years to come.
- 136 Fenaghy Road, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, BT42 1EA
- (Spa days from €80 per person & overnight stays from €230 based on two people sharing)
Situated just 30 minutes from Belfast, is Northern Ireland’s premier luxury hotel, Galgorm. Promising laid-back luxury and a world-class spa offering, Galgorm is the perfect summer haven to enjoy the heat of the season, take time out from everyday life, and nestle down amongst the sunshine to catch some rays.
All stays at Galgorm come complete with full access to the renowned Thermal Village, the first outdoor spa of its kind on the island of Ireland and winner of Spa of the Year for Western Europe in the 2023 World Spa & Wellness Awards, where you can experience the ancient rituals of bathing in cold and hot environments. Cool down from the summer heat in the ice-cold plunge pool or snow cabin, visit the Salt Cave to encounter the purifying effects of halotherapy, or truly switch off as you lay back in the Aroma Grotto.
Take the opportunity to relax and unwind with a cocktail in the botanical surroundings of The Palm House, nestled amongst the greenery of olive trees and apple orchards, meander through the spa’s Alpine, Riverside and Walled Gardens, or simply spend time in the 380 acres of sun-drenched parklands surrounding the spa.
Here you will find the secluded Shepherd’s Hut meadow, housing a community of quirky accommodation, ideal for those to whom summer means the opportunity to camp out in the great outdoors – but with the luxury furnishings and added touches that are synonymous with a stay at Galgorm, including a carafe of refreshing sangria to toast to your summer staycation.
The collection of one-bedroom and two-bedroom Shepherd’s Huts are set amongst a lively woodland brimming with wildlife and vibrant summer flora which you can watch over as you soak in your very own outdoor bath. Listen to the babbling sounds of the nearby River Maine as you take your body and mind to a state of total relaxation following the fragrant Celtic Sauna Infusion experience that comes with every stay in these unique dwellings.
Each distinct Shepherd’s Hut is luxuriously appointed with all the features you could need for the perfect blend of countryside comfort and luxury. With a mini kitchen including hob, microwave, fridge and small freezer, coffee machine, kettle and toaster, you’ll have all the home comforts you need to experience the perfect summer escape.
For a luxurious summer staycation, you need look no further than Galgorm’s collection of one, two or three-bedroom Cottage Suites – the perfect option for those who want to get away from it all and reconnect with nature this summer.
Whether you are celebrating a special occasion or simply getting together with friends, you have the option to wine and dine in one of the onsite restaurants or in the comfort of your own space, as each Cottage has its own contemporary kitchen and luxurious dining area – the perfect space for intimate entertaining.
The great news is that accommodation in a Galgorm Shepherd’s Hut or Cottage Suite includes a full Irish breakfast to set you up for the day ahead. The even better news is that all lodging accommodation now available as dog-friendly, there’s no reason why your four-legged friend should be left out of the fun during your summer escape.
To get those extra summer vibes…
- Throw on your swimsuit and sunglasses to bathe in the depths of Galgorm’s iconic vitality pool and enjoy the summer sun.
- Have colourful summer cocktails served to you as you enjoy the warmth of the hot tubs situated just outside the Palm House, or relax on heated loungers for the ultimate summer holiday sensation.
- Light up the firepit on your very own outdoor terrace and toast the delicious s’mores kits included in each of Galgorm’s Shepherd’s Huts, to lounge in the beauty of the season and witness those show-stopping summer sunsets.
- Get the girls together for a summer soirée in Galgorm’s striking Linen Merchant’s Residence, which has its very own outdoor hot tub and BBQ facilities where you can lay back, relax, and toast to the summer sun.
- Experience ultimate rest and relaxation by adding a luxurious and bespoke spa treatment to your summer staycation. Opt for a soothing Galgorm Massage, the popular Taste of Galgorm treatment, or a customized facial from premier skincare brand IMAGE Skincare, helping your skin to get that ultimate summer glow.
The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat
- 882 Antrim Road, Templepatrick, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, BT39 0AH
- (Overnight stays from €199 for 2 people sharing)
Further into the heart of County Antrim sits The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat – the region’s newest attraction located just 10 minutes from Belfast International Airport.
Named in the Irish Independent’s ‘FAB 50’ Top Stays in Ireland 2021 and The Gloss Magazine’s ‘Best places to stay in 2021’, as well as the AA Hospitality Awards’ Hotel of the Year 2022 for Northern Ireland, The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat is the perfect summer sanctuary, located in the picturesque village of Templepatrick.
Perched over a stunning lake surrounded by trees and an abundance of wildlife, the spa at the Rabbit offers the perfect opportunity to get back to nature in an environment of sophisticated luxury.
Take the plunge and have a swim in The Rabbit’s unique Roman bath and as you sink into the warm waters and allow your body to relax, you will feel your tension, stresses and woes float away. Detoxify your body and mind in the Aroma Steam Room, take a dip in one of The Rabbit’s toasty outdoor hot tubs, or work up a sweat as you unwind and relax for a moment of me-time, before burrowing down in one of the hotel’s quirky rooms for a unique summer staycation. From snug rooms to comfy boudoirs complete with outdoor bathtubs, you’ll not want to leave this idyllic and tropical-inspired summer retreat.
With a choice of overnight packages ranging from ‘The Getaway’ and ‘Hop To It’ to ‘The Full Works’, you can treat yourself to a totally tranquil retreat, as all accommodation comes complete with full spa access and a lakeside Duo Clay Ritual – an interactive and healing spa experience designed to energise and revitalize this summer.
Day Spa experiences are also available, offering full spa access, a one-course spa lunch, and a 60-minute treatment of choice from The Rabbit’s bespoke menu of spa treatments, including a Serenity Candle Massage, Healing Obsidian and Onyx Stone Massage, and an IMAGE personalised facial, to have you enjoy a feeling of pure relaxation and zen.
And if you’re looking for dog-friendly accommodation, you’re barking up the right tree as the Comfy rooms with outdoor bathtubs are now dog-friendly meaning you can make staycation plans that you pooch can be part of this summer.
To get those extra summer vibes…
- The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat is home to Ireland’s only heated lakeside pebble beach – so take to the sand, feel the heat underfoot and experience the warmth flow through you as you relax with your favourite tipple and take in the stunning views of the serene lake.
- Surround yourself in the purifying effects of The Rabbit’s unique halotherapy experience, where the salty surrounds and salt-infused air will fill your lungs and help you to breathe deeply as you succumb to the restorative effects of the summer season.
- Get an Instagram-worthy snap under The Rabbit’s iconic disco ball overhanging the impressive Roman bath – providing the perfect Ibizan vibes without the holiday jetlag.
- Sip on your favourite drink as you chill out in the comfort of a relaxing lakeside cabana overlooking the Bohemian glam of the Rabbit’s premier spa facilities.
The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn
- 15-25 Main Street, Crawfordsburn, Bangor, Co. Down, BT19 1JH
- (Bed & Breakfast stays available from €115)
Nestled in the charming village of Crawfordsburn, located just 10 minutes from Belfast, the Old Inn is perfect for a uniquely rural retreat this summer, with the hotel overlooking stunning views of a beautiful country park.
With a history dating back to 1614, the Old Inn is one of Ireland’s most historic inns, and has long been a firm favourite with foodies, recognised for its unrivalled dining experience set amongst the hotel’s charming interiors bursting with character.
But whilst The Old Inn has recently been named as an AA 4 Star Silver hotel with a rosette for culinary excellence, this renowned gourmet destination is also creating a stir for its new outdoor treetop spa. The serene spa offering – an addition to the historical property which earned the hotel its place in the Irish Independent’s #Fab50 Top Irish Stays for 2022 – provides unrivalled forest views stretching out to the North Down coastline, for a peaceful summer staycation.
Begin your spa journey by enjoying some outdoor bathing in the stunning and relaxing hydrotherapy pool, where you can immerse yourself in the heated waters and let the pool’s jets target any stress areas. Then take a dip in the bubbling outdoor hot tub, where the soothing sound of summer birds will calm your mind and the heat of the water will relax your muscles.
Experience a cleansing of the body and mind in the detoxifying sauna and the essence-infused steam room, to improve your blood circulation and clear any congestion, before cosying up on the heated waterbed or under the rays of the summer sun in the calming relax space set within the hotel’s tranquil countryside grounds.
Unwind on heated marble loungers whilst you relax in luxury in The Conservatory, or as the summer sun goes down, stay warm by the woodfire stove as classical music plays softly.
The Old Inn has also recently upgraded its iconic Cottage – made famous by CS Lewis, author who honeymooned there in 1958 – by installing its own private outdoor hot tub, whilst the recently revamped Junior Suites have seen the addition of a freestanding copper bathtub, and The Suite has also been updated with a hot tub situated on a private balcony.
All accommodation packages at The Old Inn come with complete access to the Treetop Spa, and a full Irish breakfast the following morning.
To get those extra summer vibes…
- The Old Inn is just a stone’s throw from the local beach where you can embrace the summer weather in the great outdoors, enjoy an ice-cold lemonade as you stroll along the sand, or even treat yourself to a tasty ice-cream.
- Perfect for refuelling after energetic and invigorating summer adventures, The 1614 Bar offers a menu of homely classics married with modern dishes, showcasing the best seasonal produce of summer – including steamed mussels, a light Greek salad, and a baked chicken Provençal.
- After enjoying a sun-kissed walk along the beach, bring your dog with you to The Old Inn to while away a summer’s day, as they are welcome in the 1614 Bar.
- The new and indulgent Afternoon Tea experience at The Old Inn offers guests a selection of summer-inspired finely cut sandwiches and miniature savouries, freshly baked scones, and delicate miniature desserts – the perfect ritual for catching up with family or reminiscing with old friends this summer.
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