The west is the best, writes Niamh Mac Sweeney as she indulges in fine wine, exquisite seafood and therapeutic spa treatments at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway.
We are lying on a warm, sandy beach. From sunrise to sunset we lounge, we snooze, we take in the warmth, we listen as the gentle sound of the waves hitting the shoreline cascades us into a deep and meditative state of relaxation. The light sea breeze is warm against our skin and we see ourselves stretched out on some sunny enclave along the Mediterranean coast. We could easily be relaxing on a warm tropical beach but we are in fact enjoying the sabia med experience at the spirit one spa at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway. And there is much to explore at this extensive spa.
The thermal suite alone has plenty to offer with a unique collection of cold, cool, warm and hot thermal experiences that will refresh, detoxify, recharge and enhance weary and overworked souls.
Whether relaxing in the laconium, the aroma grotto, the hammam or the rock sauna, escapism and indulgence come in equal measure at the spirit one spa. And yet that is only the tip of the therapy available to visitors. Bathing ceremonies such as the Cleopatra milk bath and detoxifying ocean bath will see guests emerge with a renewed sense of wellness and vitality.
In addition, the cave-like salt spa provides a safe haven and creates a natural allergen-free environment that can help aid and relieve respiratory problems and symptoms in a therapeutic way.
Whether discovering the skin care secrets of Ole Henriksen – Los Angeles’s skin guru to the stars – or the extensive Elemis treatments, variety and vitality are not in short supply at spirit one spa. And although guests could easily while away hour upon hour indulging and relaxing in the spa, the Radisson Blu Hotel in Galway is more than a one trick pony and there are plenty more things to explore in the hotel.
Fruits of the sea
In the majestic glass atrium, the Atrium Bar & Lounge – with its piano, soft furnishings and open fireplace – offers a comfortable place where guests can relax at any time of the day.
Whether enjoying food, cocktails or aperitifs, the bright and airy surroundings open out onto a heated terrace overlooking Lough Atalia – the perfect setting from which to watch the sun set on Galway Bay.
If sushi is your thing, then head up to RAW on the top floor of the hotel to sample some of the finest Japanese sushi you’re likely to find in Galway. Master craftsman and Japanese native, Hisashi Kumagai has created an authentic Japanese sushi bar that serves an exciting mix of sushi, sashimi, sakes and whiskies. Guests can also learn the art of sushi making by taking part in a master class where they will garner tips and advice on creating the best sushi and where to source the best local fish.
But it is the renowned and well-regarded Restaurant Marina’s – echoing the hotel’s surroundings of blue water and light from nearby Lough Atalia – that is the real pièce de résistance. Galway is famous for its seafood and with its seasonal and mouth-watering menu, diners at Marina’s can choose from a range of fresh local fare as well as a variety of international dishes using mostly local sourced ingredients.
Given its close proximity to the west coast, expect Galway Bay smoked salmon, pan-seared Atlantic scallops, potted Atlantic crab, halibut and monkfish to feature heavily on the menu. All this inspiring gastronomy is complemented with an adventurous wine list expertly chosen to match the cuisine at what is regarded as one of Galway’s finest restaurants.
Marina’s also offers a private dining area for parties or private events, catering for up to 80 guests, which is perfect for special occasions and intimate gatherings.
Galway city is a vibrant hive of everything cultural, artistic, musical and touristic. Locals, tourists, artists, and weekenders all blending with seamless ease as they converge and meander down the sweet and quaint streets of this enchanting city. And the Radisson, with its central location is right at the heart of the action, yet somehow hidden far from the maddening crowds.
Our home from home for the weekend is a spacious and luxurious Level 5 executive suite offering expansive and panoramic views across Lough Atalia. A mere three-minute walk from Eyre Square, guests looking for hotel accommodation in a convenient central location will find the hotel is located behind the bus and railway station and close to all major sights and attractions.
Style and substance is plentiful in the luscious environs of Level 5 and on the day of departure it’s with a heavy heart that we come back down to reality.
The city of the tribes is an atmospheric Mecca of culture, music, festivals, horse racing, pubs, restaurants, shops and theatres – all within easy access. And given the central location of the hotel, the exquisite Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway is the perfect place from which to rest and recharge while exploring this busy and vibrant cosmopolitan city.
TAKE FIVE: Things to do in Galway
- The Kings Head: With an 800 year history, The Kings Head pub on High Street in the heart of Galway’s Latin Quarter is renowned as a great venue for live music, hearty food and great craic. Enjoy a pint of the black stuff while listening to trad music and soak up the atmosphere of this historic watering hole.
- Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop: Brimming with books – new, bargain and second-hand – on every subject imaginable, Charlie Byrne’s is Ireland’s best-loved independent bookshop. Celebrating its 25th birthday this year, this bookshop has been at the heart of the cultural centre of Galway since it opened its door over two decades ago.
- Salthill: Take the coast road and walk from the city to Salthill beach or take a dip in the refreshing waters at Blackrock.
- Druid Theatre Company: Druid was founded in Galway in 1975 by graduates of the National University of Ireland in Galway, Garry Hynes, Mick Lally (1945–2010) and Marie Mullen. It has been to the fore in developing groundbreaking productions in Irish theatre. To see whats on, visit www.druid.ie.
- Claddagh jewels: The original makers of the Claddagh ring and also the oldest jewellers in Ireland, Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold was established in 1750 and is still making and selling traditional Claddagh jewellery today.