“How do you feel now and how do you want to feel afterwards?”
This is a simple question and a very effective one. I sit in a wood-topped treatment room at The Rabbit Hotel & Retreat, a new boutique in the Galgom Collection. Therapist Orlagh put me at ease and explained the onyx hot stone massage. Whatever the ion rebalancing is, it works in a way I know how to describe. I relax
This is a nice introduction to this ‘laid-back little sister’ to the very popular Galgorum Resort, 30 minutes away. Rebooting her old Templeton hotel for her £10m/€11.5m, The Her Rabbit has thought through everything from an outdoor spa with a boho Balearic vibe to banqueting her style The Her Loft A clever, cozy and catchy stay. Wedding hall under the eaves.
AA has just named this hotel Northern Ireland’s Hotel of the Year.
arrival and location
We rewound an hour and drove two and a half hours from Dublin. The Rabbit, just 15 minutes from Belfast, just outside Templeton, looks like a hybrid of an English inn and a Swiss chalet. A tiled roof slopes into the garden and the spa overlooks a small lush lake. Pulls his case past a black Land Rover Defender and wheelie onto a rough surface. Here is its registration: “rabbit”.
Inside, you’ll find a lovely, personable check-in and the chance to meet a Florentine resident, the Cockapoo. But it has a confusing layout. The octagonal lobby space is mostly empty. Another lounge feels off-limits and is set up for a wedding display with several staff members working on laptops. At, one receptionist sits around the corner.
Manager Lindsay Gordon explains that the reception layout is evolving, and will soon move into its octagonal rooms to form a communal spa and hotel check-in. We are also planning a room for The hotel is learning and improving as it goes. 6.5/10
service and style
Country inns, lakeside retreats and swanky spa hotels. Rabbit mixes everything up a little bit, and it’s not surprising to hear Gordon citing the pig’s vacation in England as an influence. Antiques such as bells blend nicely with sassy spas and funky art. dirty rotten rogue is just one example.
Spas (or “relaxation burrows”) are a big topic. “I chose something a little different,” Gordon smiles. “Maybe a two-meter disco ball will give it.”
The outdoor pool, with its glass walls, Roman columns, mood lighting and Ibiza chill-out style playlist, is clearly in line with the couples and groups of women around us (“Somebody took that picture If we don’t think it’s on Instagram, we need to reconsider,” she says.
Our treatments are top-notch, and while we love details like our heated patio, buzzing cabana-style bar, and yellow-and-white striped towels, there’s plenty of space between our treatment rooms, relaxation areas, bathtubs, saunas, and salt chambers. It’s chilly to move. autumn air. The relaxation room has 4 double water beds, but they feel very close to each other and you don’t have a lake view when you lie or sit on these. 7.5/10
The hotel’s 33 rooms range in size from ‘fit’ to ‘comfortable’, with open-air baths and wood-burning stoves on top. You’ll encounter several fire doors and a short staircase to reach them (currently there is one accessible room).
The design is punchy and warm, but features iron-framed beds, printed wallpaper, neon ‘bar’ signs, and gorgeous wooden floors. Extras include a great Dyson hairdryer, bathrobes, flip-flops and a ‘Munchies’ tray with snacks like Keo’s crisps (£2/€2.30) and candy floss (£2.50/€2.87) .
It’s not just these quirks and tiny Marshall speakers that remind us of Press-Up Group hotels like The Dean and Glasson Lakehouse. But all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. I smiled when I opened the door. 7/10
Celiacs are in for a big feast with a complete gluten-free menu that includes rare gems like onion rings, apple crumbles and signature Hunter’s Pie. It (and the breakfast pancakes) were highly rated by my wife, who has celiac disease. Vegans and vegetarians also have their own menu.
“It’s food for everyone,” says the waiter, who I later compliment the menu with, if only more hotels thought like that.
The open kitchen supports a surprisingly large 280-seat space (intended for locals and guests), and it was always busy on the Saturdays we were there. The menu has an Italian-American flair, with mains ranging from £17/€19.50-£23/€27.40. It starts with an 8-ounce steak burger, scampi, house fries, and smoked mackerel salad. Live tunes kick off at Hunter’s Bar Thursday through Saturday, creating a homely and lively space after your spa adventure. 8/10
Rabbit isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but tea lovers will love it. At this price point, I felt some details were lacking. For example, the relaxation room or the little one where the bed frame in the room creaks loudly (if you speak to the staff, they offer you a sincere apology and a promise to look into it soon).
But overall, it’s a fresh and fun take on what a hotel can be, without losing sight of hotel comfort or guest experience.
The Day Spa Package from 8am to 2pm includes lunch, a 60 minute treatment and full access to the spa for £135/€156 per person.
Ask at the front desk about walking trails in the area. Drive 6 miles to nearby Antrim and Loch Neagh.
B&Bs range from €213 to €425 for cozy rooms and €357 to €570 for comfortable rooms with open-air baths. Pol was a hotel guest. RabbitHotel.com