Now that summer is on the horizon, it’s time to put some spring in our steps – and there’s no better place to feel refreshed and revitalized than at a spa hotel in Northern Ireland.
The smallest of the UK’s four nations, Northern Ireland still has plenty to see and do, particularly along its famous coastal route in Antrim – follow the Causeway Coastal Route from Belfast to to the Giant’s Causeway and hear about all the myths and legends along the way.
If you’ve experienced the incredible spa hotels of the Cotswolds and peaceful spas in Scotland, you’ll love Northern Ireland’s top destinations for a wellness-focused getaway.
In Belfast, the Merchant’s spa has a rooftop pool that showcases the city’s sights. You can then get dressed for a drink in one of the hotel’s bars, which includes the historic Great Room and a jazz club.
At Galgorm in Ballymena you can spend days in the spa village, which has a variety of features including a walled garden, assorted hot tubs by the rushing river and the Palm House Conservatory, perfect for an after- midday reading.
And if you like your hot tubs to have incredible views, book a visit to Slieve Donard Turret in County Down, which offers rugged scenery and windswept beaches in every direction.
Here are our favorite spa hotels in Northern Ireland.
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The undisputed queen of the Belfast hotel industry, The Merchant has a superb spa, in addition to its majestic suites furnished with antiques, its jazz club and its cocktail bar. The listed building is in the Cathedral Quarter and you can enjoy many of the city’s sights from the rooftop swimming pool.
At the spa, sign up for Voya treatments, sit down to read on a thermal lounge chair or brave the showers and the ice fountain. Afterwards, you can take off your dressing gown and visit the Victorian Great Room for a drink under its glass dome and chandelier.
Not so much a spa as an entire spa village, Galgorm is complete with wooden hot tubs to bathe in the forest beside rushing cascading waters, a riverside house to lay back and enjoy views, and lawns to walk around in case you weren’t feeling quite serene enough.
The grounds also include various hot tubs and saunas, a salt grotto, a snow hut, a rassoul room and a high-ceilinged veranda to relax in too – settle into a daybed and the staff will serve you raspberries ice cream. There is even a wooden igloo in which you can have lunch.
Slieve Donard, County Down
Views of the County Down countryside await you directly from your bay-coloured sun lounger in this imposing Victorian Newcastle estate, with a rugged beach in one direction and a golf course in the other. You can also spot the Morne Mountains and surrounding sand dunes at Slieve Donard.
At Spa Espa, treatments combine ancient and modern techniques, and use pure essential oils, as well as plant and marine ingredients. Then enjoy the fresh sea air as you stroll through the herb garden and grounds.
Culloden Estate, County Down
Located in the other Holywood Hills, this sprawling estate is just a 10-minute drive north of Belfast, making it a great choice for city dwellers looking for a little rural tonic. At Culloden, which comes in the form of Espa treatments at the newly refurbished spa, there are 12 acres of gardens and woodland to explore, with bikes to borrow – and the hillside setting means a vantage point over Belfast Lough and the Country Antrim coast.
When you’re ready to take off your robe, head to the Drawing Room for afternoon tea, retreat to the Cultra Inn’s fireplace or indulge in fine dining at Vespers.
Lough Erne, County Fermanagh
This hotel – one of Northern Ireland’s top five-star hideaways – sits on a 600-acre peninsula in Enniskillen, overlooking the Fermanagh Lakes and Faldo Golf Course. Golf might be a big attraction here, but Lough Erne’s Thai spa is equally impressive: in addition to the country’s signature rigorous massages, guests can sign up for the Thermal Suite circuits, Espa facials and swimming in the infinity pool.
After a day at the spa, you can enjoy local produce, steaks and seafood at the Loughside Grill Restaurant and afternoon tea, all with views of these waterways.
Killeavy Castle, County Armagh
It’s impossible not to feel like you’ve escaped to the spa at Killeavy Castle in Armagh, especially after a dip in the mountain-facing hydroelectric pool or a siesta on a mosaic-tiled heated lounger. There’s a list of Elemis treatments to choose from, a detoxifying tylarium (a hybrid of sauna and steam bath) and a series of aroma and soaking showers, plus views of the walled garden and surrounding farmhouses.
The estate is only an hour from Belfast and Dublin, and there are overnight stays available with some of the spa packages so you can really make the most of your visit.
The Salthouse, County Antrim
Just outside the seaside town of Ballycastle on the Country Antrim coast, The Salthouse is a sustainability-focused hotel with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Eco-friendly credentials extend to the spa, which features outdoor areas overlooking Fairhead and Rathlin, two whirlpool tubs, seaweed baths, heated, nap-friendly daybeds, and tropical rain showers — even the sauna was built with a panoramic window to continue presenting these views.
Treatments at this Causeway Coast hotel, an hour’s drive from Belfast and Derry, include Mindful Dreams, designed to help you have the perfect night’s sleep.
The Bushtown Hotel & Spa, County Londonderry
Surrounded by forest on the outskirts of Coleraine, Bushtown is a perfect pampering stop on the north coast of Northern Ireland, ideally located for anyone taking the Giant’s Causeway route. It is close to attractions such as the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and (good news for all whiskey lovers) Bushmills Distillery.
At the spa, there’s a thermal pool, steam room, and jacuzzi, plus four treatment rooms where you can book in for salt scrubs, Indian head massages, and hydrating facials. Then head to Cushy’s Grill for craic, and on Monday nights the hotel hosts lively local country music concerts.
Roe Park Resort, County Londonderry
This Limavady resort is also home to an impressive golf course, making it the ideal choice for anyone looking to combine a spa break in Northern Ireland with several rounds of golf. Convenient for returning customers, there is a treatment of the month to try; and, for the ultimate indulgence, you can book the four-hour Roe Serenity package, which includes a salt scrub, Elemis facial, full Swedish massage, and manicure.
A gorgeous riverside retreat, Roe Park Resort has an indoor swimming pool, as well as a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.
Corick House, County Tyrone
Surrounded by the countryside of the Clogher Valley, this spa hotel unsurprisingly turns to nature for its approach to well-being and relaxation. There are eight treatment rooms at the Corick House spa, including doubles for couples and the thermal suite consists of a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and heated lounger.
For added pleasure, book an hour in the Serenity Suite and enjoy a glass of bubbly in the outdoor hot tub. And if you want the treatments to extend to a makeover, you can book everything from spray tans to lash and brow tints.
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