For the weekend: Contemporary comforts in Galway
Galway's Radisson Blu is the perfect spot to unwind with the city on your doorstep, says Tom Galvin
The Radisson Blu in Galway is a perfect urban retreat, just a brisk walk from Eyre Square and onwards to some of the best pubs in the land, but its excellent location on the Lough Atalia waterfront also guarantees an easy tranquillity and heavenly views. And on top of that, staying here means you can enjoy the city in comfort without even having to hail a cab.
Perfect for unwinding?
Unwind? Try exorcising the demons in the Spirit One Spa, and watch the tormented soul of the working week turn to steam and drift away in the hammam. There's even a beach suite to replicate the feel of warm foreign sands, as well as saunas and heated recliners to doze on.
For those who need to clear the lungs, the salt spa is the perfect purge, with the purest of minerals imported from Poland.
The latter is suitable for families, and the grotto environment is perfect for children with respiratory conditions because, unlike the thermal suites, the temperature is just 19°C. Blankets are provided on each of the recliners in case you drift off, which you are more than likely to do with sessions lasting 45 minutes.
It would be hard to beat the comfort and diversity of the facilities on offer here, and the pool and outdoor hot tubs just complete the package. And yes, gents, there are treatments available for both lads and lassies.
And the culinary delights?
New chef Adrian Bane plates up contemporary wonders in the classy Restaurant Marinas. I tried the Mayo pork chop for a main while I was there, and I don't care where it was from – it was wholesome and, frankly, delicious.
There is also a sushi restaurant, led by the Japanese chef Hisashi Kumagai, that uses, as much as is possible, locally sourced fish. Food is further available in the Radisson Blu's Atrium Lounge.
Unfortunately, because of my awful gluttony in the small hours, the grilled chicken sandwich courtesy of room service killed the need for the buffet breakfast. It was a real pity, but I really liked the fact that it was served until a civilised 11am in any case.
The extra touches?
Which pillow to lay one's head on? What a thoroughly great sleep I had while staying at the Radisson Blu – indeed, it's little wonder that I just decided to skip breakfast altogether in the end.
And what about the Elemis bottles of bubbly (no, not Champagne) and shampoos and things that I never got to enjoy . . . yes, they indeed came home with me.
What about those little gripes?
Like parking? There is plenty of space available in the convenient underground carpark, which is accessible directly by lift, so you don't even have to get your hair tossed by the tumbling Atlantic winds the next morning.
A signpost or two on the way into Galway city wouldn't have gone astray, though. Yes, before you ask, I got a wee bit lost, still being averse to using a sat-nav to get around. Maybe I should start thinking about getting myself one.
THE KNOW HOW
Given the wonderful spa and dining facilities, this hotel is just the spot for a romantic break, but it doesn't just stop there.
Busy without being boisterous, the Radisson Blu Galway has plenty of space to absorb the mix of tourists and larger groups.
On top of that, and despite the many and varied demands on a Saturday night, all the guests' wining and dining needs were easily catered for.
A special mention must also go to the resident lounge pianist, who could easily handle the requests and who even brought Coldplay to life at closing time.
Rooms at the Radisson Blu in Galway are available from €70 pps, including breakfast.
Rejuvenation Spa Packages are available from €150 per person staying on weekends. Treatments should be booked in advance.
To make a reservation, call 091 538 300, email reservations. firstname.lastname@example.org or visit radissonhotelgalway.com.