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Travel & Tourism

Galgorm Bathes in Success at World Luxury Hotel Awards

Galgorm has scored a hat trick of awards for excellence at this year’s World Luxury Hotel Awards, cementing the Resort’s status as Northern Ireland’s premier luxury destination and elevating the region’s tourism credentials to the global stage.

Recognising Galgorm’s globally renowned, award-winning golf course, which has played host to the Irish Open and is home of the ISPS Handa World Invitational, the Resort was crowned ‘Best Luxury Golf Resort’ in Europe whilst also collecting the title of ‘Best Luxury Golf Resort Spa’ for Galgorm’s award-winning and internationally acclaimed Thermal Village & Spa.

The Resort’s 3 AA Rosette restaurant, The River Room, was also celebrated for its exceptional food, with Head Chef Chris Rees winning the accolade of ‘Best Head Chef’ in Northern Europe, a testament to his commitment to outstanding quality and culinary excellence.

The 15th World Luxury Hotel Awards were held this year in Mauritius and celebrate the best in world-class hotel service excellence, representing the pinnacle of achievement in the luxury hotel industry.

This year, Galgorm was one of only five resorts around the globe to receive the prestigious regional title and one of only three hotels in the island of Ireland to be officially recognised by the awards.

Galgorm Collection Managing Director Colin Johnston said;

“We are thrilled to be recognised by the World Travel Awards for our sustained commitment to excellence and outstanding achievement in the international luxury hospitality industry and to receive three highly coveted awards across our accommodation, spa and restaurant offering.

As the region’s premier luxury tourism destination, we are committed to further developing our world-class hospitality provision and we have invested heavily in the Resort in recent years to expand our accommodation and spa offering and offer an unrivalled, luxury experience.

The awards offers us a chance to showcase our unique offering to a global audience and gain worldwide recognition for our best-in-class facilities and service, competing with some of the world’s most acclaimed hotels, and promoting Northern Ireland as a must-visit destination.”

Voted by guests, travellers and industry players alike through an online public vote, the awards reflect the hard work and dedication exhibited by the exceptional team at Galgorm and its unparalleled service offering.

Attended by guests from across the globe, the awards took place at a prestigious ceremony in Trou aux Biches Beachcomber Golf Resort & Spa, Mauritius, on Saturday 9 October.

World Luxury Awards Marketing Director, Michael Hunter-Smith, said;

“We congratulate this year’s winners. True luxury is not easily attained. It takes highly efficient and dedicated staff who are willing to go the extra mile and stop at nothing to ensure that every guest feels cared for and that no challenge goes unresolved. This is the definition of luxury. It is what makes the winners shine.”

Over the past ten years, Galgorm has invested more than £60 million into its facilities. The investment has helped lead to a string of accolades for the Resort as it takes its place on the world-stage as a luxury spa destination, beating competition from some of the world’s most iconic spa retreats.

Since 2019 Galgorm has dramatically transformed its offering, expanding its hotel and lodging accommodation. This included the upgrade of standard rooms to superior, additional cottage suites and the introduction of three residencies all with private hot tubs, sleeping between 10 and 12 guests.  

The award-winning Thermal Spa Village has also been extended across three acres. A £2 million investment into the Resort’s Thermal Spa Village in 2020 included the opening of a new Palm House bar, vitality pool, additional relaxation areas, saunas, hot tubs and a brand new salt cave to accommodate spa visitors. Galgorm was also recently named Best Spa Experience within the UK and Ireland at the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2021 and crowned Resort Spa of the Year at the World Spa & Wellness Awards 2020.

The Resort has also played host to a range of global events including the World Luxury Spa & Restaurant Awards, host to the R&A and patrons of the 148th Open Championship and host to the 21st National Golf Tourism Conference and 2018 Gala Irish Golf Awards.

Travel & Tourism

4 Towns In Northern Ireland Voted Friendliest Visitor Destinations in UK

Tourism NI has welcomed the news that four towns in Northern Ireland have been awarded the friendliest visitor destinations in the UK with Enniskillen in County Fermanagh voted number one most welcoming in the UK.

Alongside Enniskillen, Ballycastle, County Antrim; Bushmills, County Antrim and Newcastle, County Down all appeared on the Booking.com top 10 most welcoming list.

Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen said the news was a much needed boost for the tourism sector in Northern Ireland that has experienced a two year blow to an industry which was riding high after a record breaking 2019 when revenue surpassed £1 billion for the first time.

He added: “While it has been two years of unprecedented crisis for the industry, I am pleased to know that despite the enormous challenges, our towns have dominated the top 10 list of friendliest visitor destinations. The news comes in the same week as the Game of Thrones Studio Tour opens its doors to the public and will help to put Northern Ireland on the map as a must visit destination for those far and wide.”

McGrillen believes the tourism industry has been incredibly resilient in the face of the global pandemic. 

“There will be brighter opportunities in the years ahead and I have confidence that with the appropriate support, tourism in Northern Ireland will bounce back,” he said. 

Other locations which made the top 10 list were Frome in Somerset; Glastonbury, Somerset: Shetland; Wick, Highlands and Kelso, Scottish Borders.

Following research from more than 232 million verified reviews as part of Booking.com’s 10th annual Traveller Review Awards, the awards recognise more than 1.25 million travel providers around the world for their hospitality, including 53,623 in the UK.

The winning list was decided by the total share of Traveller Review Award 2022 recipients when compared to the total number of eligible properties in that town or city.

McGrillen added: “Tourism is absolutely vital for us as it provides passengers for our public transport and supports sea and air routes; it generates revenue to support our culture and heritage assets and can contribute to the protection of our natural environment; it provides revenue for central and local government and promotes a positive image of Northern Ireland overseas, supporting foreign direct investment.”

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Travel & Tourism

Experience an ‘out of this world’ Christmas at OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory

The Chair of the Council, Councillor Paul McLean and Santa enjoy the Christmas OM Odyssey as part of the OM Santa Experience at OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory.

Enjoy an ‘out of this world’ Santa experience this Christmas at OM Dark Sky Park and Observatory.

This Christmas, children can enjoy a Santa experience with a difference at the new star gazing facility at Davagh Forest in the foothills of the Sperrin mountains.

During the OM Santa Experience, children, and adults alike, will be utterly ‘star struck’ as they are taken on a tour of the unique facility and then watch the Christmas OM Odyssey, a bespoke festive film capturing Santa’s magical journey through the sky on Christmas Eve.

The festive film will be screened on the side of the OM building, with families watching from a dedicated viewing area using individual headsets.

Children will then get to write their letters to Santa in the crafts room before getting to deliver them in person to the man himself during a special visit where they will receive a stocking full of goodies.

The OM Santa Experience will run over three weekends beginning on Sunday 28 November and finishing on Sunday 12 December. Tickets cost £10 per child and adults go free (limited to two adults per family).

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Paul McLean is pleased the Council can offer this festive event to families in the district.

“The last 20 months have been extremely difficult for all of us and none more so than for our children who have had to endure so much and adapt to different ways of doing things in almost all aspects of their lives. Christmas is a time of joy and celebration and so it pleases me greatly that we can offer this one-of-a-kind magical Christmas experience to families and children in Mid Ulster this Christmas.

“This year marks OM’s first Christmas, having only opened its doors to the public in June this year. The Santa experience is the perfect debut seasonal event for the centre, complementing and enhancing its already established and successful offering and extending its appeal to the family market.”To book your tickets for the OM Santa Experience, go to:www.omdarksky.com or telephone the Observatory on: 028 8676 0681

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