When it comes to relaxation, nothing beats a spa day, which is exactly why I booked a day of complete luxury at The Spa at Galgorm for my mum’s birthday. It may have been a surprise for my lovely mummy but after starting a new job, I was just as thrilled at the idea of getting a massage and spending a few hours at their Thermal Spa.
Choosing our treatments was a no brainer. Since the week before I left for university in 2011, my mum and I have had a tradition of booking into the spa for their Natural Treasure package, which includes a Hot Lava Shell Back Massage, two hours at the Thermal Spa and a spa lunch at Gillies Bistro. Since then, I have returned to the spa with friends and enjoyed facials, full body massages and a coral serail, but we are creatures of habit and always find ourselves returning to our favourite treatments.
From the moment you drive into the gorgeous grounds of Galgorm Resort and Spa, you know you are in for a sumptuous experience. After changing into our robes, we made our way to the Thermal Spa. For anyone who hasn’t been before, this is something that simply must be experienced first hand. With large outdoor jacuzzis overlooking the River Maine, a swimming pool with massaging jets and four heated cabins, each with varying attributes and benefits, you could easily enjoy a day in this part of the spa without any additional treatments.
Having frequented the Spa multiple times, I was a seasoned user of the Thermal Spa facilities. However, despite the dismal weather outside, I made a beeline for the outdoor jacuzzis, enjoying the novelty of being toasty and warm despite the nip in the air, before venturing back into the heated cabins. Our personal favourites were the laconium, which was heated to a balmy temperature and eased us into the thermal spa experience; and the caldarium, the laconium’s extreme opposite, with its intense steamy atmosphere.
After a relaxed two hours exploring the thermal facilities, which were the perfect add-on to my afternoon treatment, I was led by a friendly staff member to a waiting area and prepped with hydrating refreshments and tasty treats to occupy me until my therapist, Ascensao, came to lead me to my Hot Lava Shell Back Massage.
I’ve tried all sorts of massages, but always returned to the tried and tested Hot Lava Shell treatment, which is said to become a more relaxing treatment than intense massages. The porcelain shells, which include a combination of magnesium, iron, kelp and lava, allow a deep massage in a shorter space of time, releasing muscle tension and leaving you feeling completely chilled out.
After being led into the room, my therapist gave me a short consultation, along with a friendly conversation which made me feel right at home. Within a few minutes, I was prepped for my treatment, and breathing in soothing aromatic oils to help me to unwind prior to my massage.
Using the hot shells, my therapist worked her way across my back, allowing the heat to release tension and ease my muscles. As she kneaded and massage the shells into my body, I felt the stress on my shoulders, caused by one too many hours at a computer, just float away.
After a relaxing experience, my massage came to a close and I was handed a glass of water as Ascensao talked me through my aftercare. It seems that my new job, and the long drive home, had taken its toll on my shoulders, and it took quite a bit of work to release the tension, so she recommended an Intense Muscle Release Massage, to completely restore my back.
As I left The Spa, my muscles felt looser than they had in months, but I still made my way to reception, where I booked my more intense massage for just three weeks’ time. It will be much more intense than what I’m used to, but I just can’t get enough of this luxurious spa experience.