Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Hotel

On the whole most hotel stays involve the likes of a Travelodge kind of hotel, eating at the designated  eatery adjoining, an average ok room and an average ok breakfast. It's somewhere relatively inexpensive to get your head down. So I think it's all the more appreciated when you do get to stay in a "proper" hotel.

Coming up the extensive drive, set in beautiful grounds we then saw this Galgorm Hotel. It is gem of a place just twenty minutes drive from Belfast International Airport. The hotel has log fires in the reception area's with big comfy sofa's and chairs. Before checking in to our room we sampled a good old Irish breakfast in one of the three places to eat. L had never had soda bread or potatoe bread an Irish staple for breakfast. From my other visits to Ireland I always remember how they like to feed you, every conceivable breakfast was there to be had. People never cease to amuse me how they try to have everything on offer the term breakfast like a king seems to be taken literally.

Going out on to the decked terrace the view of the river Maine was breathtaking. Eventually going up to our room it was quite sumptuous and we weren't at the high end of rooms. The bed was turned down every night with a chocolate placed on the pillow, robes and slippers provided. This hotel has three restaurants Gilles bar and grill, an Italian and a need a mortgage to eat there!  The staff couldn't do enough for you.

Sampling the Spa with pool, sauna, steam rooms, lots of different treatments and a surreal experience of being in an outdoor hotub whilst it was snowing overlooking the river. The Irish are a a nosy chatty lot, lots of conversations were struck up, what did strike us was what a bloody good deal we had got at this expensive place.

I decided to go for a walk and do a little bit of exploring. The surrounding woods on a cold but sunny morning were literally a breath of fresh air. Walking back by the side of the river taking time to just sit and watch the birds was good for the soul, it's very rare I get to do anything on my own. Further exploring there are little fisherman's cottages and some log cabins overlooking the river, it's quite tranquil and idyllic. Also in the grounds was a big lodge which looked set up for holdings weddings with waterfalls surrounding it.

There is something about Ireland that I always feel an affinity with, the people, the places, in a very strange way I always feel like it is a homecoming, maybe my long distant relatives draw me to this place. The one thing that abounds is the warmth not in the climate but of the people. This hotel epitomises that, for all it's grandeur it is not up it's arse, never at anytime in my stay did I feel like you had to be on ceremony like you do at some posh hotels.

I do hope I get to return.

Sha X

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