Review: The Radisson Blu, Galway

5th January 2012
Pól Ó Conghaile

Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Galway - lobby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Impressions…

My hopes are tempered after a mixed experience at the Radisson Blu in Limerick recently, but a step into the slick and spacious lobby of the Radisson Blu  on Lough Atalia Road is all the reassurance I need.

With over-sized lampshades hanging down over grey armchairs, aubergine carpets and a curving wall of reception desks, this looks like a choice Radisson.

I’m surprised to find out that the hotel is 10 years old. It feels about a third of that. A recent refurb has a lot to do with this, but the lobby packs a huge punch. It’s a very stylized, make-a-statement kind of contemporary space, with lots of marble, tall palm trees, and glass elevators whizzing up into a gaping atrium.

 

The room…

Rooms at the Radisson range from standard twins to executive suites on a dedicated floor. Most are still gleaming after the recent makeover, and standard rooms eke the most out of their compact space with the use of black marble, spanking white duvets and Scandinavian-style light fittings.

Radissons don’t do personality. What they do is slick, businesslike design. A black crushed velvet armchair comes with a matching, curvy footstool, for example. Executive rooms are fitted with Nespresso machines. My advice is to request a room with a view over Lough Atalia.

 

The food…

The Radisson’s ‘Super Buffet’ breakfast is laid out in the Marina Restaurant overlooking Lough Atalia (and the various estates and industry around it), with a tempting smorgasbord of cereals, juices, fresh fruits, pastries, cheeses, meats and hot breakfast items displaying no stinginess whatsoever.

It’s hard to go easy at a Super Buffet, but after a snappy bowl of fruit salad, some fresh OJ, a pot of coffee served in an insulated jug (I’m forever leaving cold coffee at hotels), and a couple of tasty sausages, I vamoose. A grab and run breakfast is also available between 5am and 7am.

 

The amenities…

Galway’s Radisson is well-equipped for a city-centre hotel. An 18.5m pool wallows amongst blue mosaic tiles and columns, an al fresco hot tub overlooks the lake, and a basement spa offers a broad range of treatments. The most unusual feature is its Salt Spa, located across the arrivals plaza.

Built to resemble a cave using blocks of salt from Poland and the Dead Sea (it even has stalactites), a dry saline diffuser here renders the air restful to people with respiratory or skin complaints. There’s a little play area with crayon-coloured plastic chairs for kids too – not something you often see in a spa. It costs €25 for 45-minutes, and is taken fully clothed – not in skimpy Speedos.

 

The bottom line…

The Radisson Blu has B&B from €135 per room midweek or €170 per room at weekends. Contact 091 538300; radissonhotelgalway.com.

 

Anything to add…

The five-minute walk from the Radisson to Eyre Square isn’t Galway’s finest, passing as it does a bus depot and some grotty graffiti, but this combo of hotel and city centre is a good fit.

As an added bonus, children up to age 17 can stay free in their parents’ room.

 

This review originally appeared in The Irish Examiner.