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Galway Getaway

September 14, 2012 By: Jena Tesse Fox Travel Agent


Restaurant Marinas
Restaurant Marinas offers fine dining using local produce and seafood.


Situated on the west coast of Ireland, Galway is called the country’s “Cultural Heart.” The Irish language is still widely spoken, cobbled streets are home to modern shops and the Aran Islands are just off the coast of Galway Bay. And for a weekend getaway, the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Galway is a top option. 

The Spa

The first place at the hotel your clients may want to visit after a long trans-Atlantic flight is the Spirit One Spa, which stretches out over 26,000 square feet and has 19 treatment rooms.

The most popular treatment at the spa is the Signature Hot Poultice Massage, which begins with the application of the eponymous poultice to open pores and bring a deep medicinal heat to muscles. This is followed by a full body massage that, combined with the organic herbs and heat, helps reduce aches and pains, stimulate circulation, increase lymphatic drainage, and detoxify and condition the skin.

Level 5 Suites
Level 5 Suites are the most popular rooms at the hotel.


There’s also the Salt Spa, a separate entity from the Spirit One, where guests can simply sit back and breathe deeply while salt is released into the air. (This reportedly helps ease respiratory and skin problems.) The salt cave is designed to therapeutically cleanse and restore through the inhalation of constantly clean salt air. 

The spa is especially popular for pre-wedding parties. Before the big day, the bride and her bridesmaids can get a complimentary back, neck and shoulder massage as well as access to the spa’s Thermal Suite. The Thermal Suite has a variety of cold, warm and hot thermal experiences to fix a variety of well-being issues. The suite includes a hammam, experience showers and heated relaxation chairs. 

To make reservations (at least three weeks out), contact Spa Manager Marese McGowan ([email protected], 011-353-91-538421).

What to Do in Galway

Galway is a great destination for those who want to explore Irish heritage and culture. Many sporting, music, arts and other events take place in the city, including the Galway Arts Festival, the Galway Races, and the Galway International Oyster Festival. There are also literature and music festivals throughout the year, as well as a dedicated annual Christmas market.

Dunguaire Castle
Dunguaire Castle, on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay, is Ireland’s most-photographed castles.


The Galway Arts Festival is held in town each July, and is one of the biggest arts festivals in Ireland, with international artists, national performers and locals all gathering to celebrate the arts. The festival includes parades, street performances and plays, concerts and comedy acts. (We hear that highlights of the festival tend to be performances by Macnas and Druid Theatre Company, two local performance groups.)

Galway City is also a major center for traditional Irish music and the Irish language, which is spoken fluently by many residents. An Taibhdhearc, the National Irish Language Theatre, in based in the city.

History buffs will want to see Dunguaire Castle, a 16th-century tower house on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay. The castle’s 75-foot tower and its defensive wall have been restored, and the grounds are open to tourists during the summer. It is reportedly among the most-photographed castles in Ireland.

During the summer months, when Dunguaire Castle is open to the public, a medieval banquet is held every night with costumed performers who recite Irish literature and play traditional Irish music.



Speaking of weddings, Radisson Blu Galway is a good pick for a destination tying-of-the-knot. The hotel allows only one wedding per day so that couples can get the undivided attention they need. 

Brides and grooms can choose from four distinct rooms to celebrate their nuptials. The Burren Panoramic Suite accommodates 50 guests and overlooks Lough Atalia and Galway Bay (and it has a private bar); Marinas Private Dining accommodates 80 guests and offers locally sourced cuisine; Inis Mor Ballroom accommodates 120 guests and is the hotel’s main event suite (and can be divided into subsections for smaller groups); and the Veranda Lounge accommodates 250 guests and has some very impressive chandeliers. 

A wedding booked at the hotel includes some nice perks. Couples can get a complimentary engagement portrait by a professional photographer; a wedding-menu tasting; consultations with a wedding planner and the executive chef; floral arrangements for the tables; a resident pianist for the welcome reception; a bagpiper to welcome guests (or to be part of the ceremony); a pianist for the reception; champagne for the bridal party; and a private room for photographs. The bride and bridesmaids can get massages before the wedding, and all members of the wedding party can get a discount to the spa for their stay. And even better, the bride and groom can get a six-month membership to Spirit One Fitness & Leisure club, and can come back for a complimentary candlelit dinner at the hotel on their one-year anniversary.


The Verandah Lounge
The Verandah Lounge’s terrace is a good pick for barbecues in warmer weather.


The bride and groom get a complimentary suite with champagne and strawberries for their use, and a champagne breakfast is brought to the suite the next morning. Families will be happy, too, since the hotel offers complimentary accommodation for parents of the bride and groom.

For any questions about weddings at the hotel, contact Wedding Sales Coordinator Catherine Greene ([email protected], 011-353-91-538530).

Wining and Dining

The Radisson Blu Galway has several dining options, with two lounges and two restaurants available. For fine dining, Restaurant Marinas has an elevated area that offers some sweet views of the sea. Chef Michael Cussen uses as much local produce and seafood as possible, and we hear the Chef’s Selection menu is a good choice for some culinary exploration. 

For a different seafood option, RAW is a sushi restaurant at the top of the hotel. Again, the fish are mostly local, and guests can also try Japanese sakes and whiskeys. 

The Atrium Bar and Lounge has a range of cocktails, beers and Irish stouts, as well as a good selection of Irish whiskeys and spirits. (Light meals are available in the morning and afternoon.) The Lounge also has a heated terrace—perfect for relaxing with a cappuccino after dinner, we say. Nice Touch: A resident pianist performs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. 

The Verandah Lounge is a great place to relax by the fireplace for an evening of cocktails—or for sporting events. (Its large drop-down screens are great for watching games.) The lounge’s outdoor terrace is also a good pick for functions and barbecues in warmer weather. 


The most popular rooms at the hotel are the “Level 5 Suites,” which have extra perks like individual terraces with panoramic views of Lough Atalia or the city of Galway. Bonus: Guests in these suites have members-only access to the private Club Lounge on the fifth floor, complimentary use of the business center, and a library of books, CDs and DVDs.


The Atrium Bar and Lounge
The Atrium Bar and Lounge offers a variety of cocktails, beers and Irish stouts.


Families will want to book the “Family Room,” which can sleep up to four on one double and two single beds. Good to know: All of the rooms are non-smoking. For families with infants, the hotel can also provide baby bottle warmers, microwaves to heat baby food, and baby/toddler cots. Older children and teens will appreciate the toy library that includes puzzles, toys and board games.

But for a genuinely top-notch experience, book one of the two Penthouse Suites, which have great views over Lough Atalia. The south-facing suites have a private kitchen, dining room, lounge and office.

Travel agents should reach out to the hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing Karen Jones ([email protected], 011-353-91-538610) with any questions.

Getting There

Galway Airport recently closed down, and its future is uncertain. Visitors will have an easier time accessing the hotel via Shannon Airport (about an hour’s drive away) or Dublin, which is about two-and-a-half hours away. The hotel can help arrange airport transfers.


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About the Author

Jena Tesse Fox
Jena Tesse Fox covers Europe, Africa, Australia/South Pacific and business travel for the Questex Travel Group's publications. The daughter of history teachers, she can spend...

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