Is there anything better than a little staycation for a pre-Christmas rejuvenation? Last weekend, Andy and I were invited to Roe Park Resort, Limavady for exactly that! Of course, being married to a PGA Pro Golfer, I would never turn down the chance to stay in a hotel that was recently named 'Golf Resort of the Year' (by The Ireland Golf Tour Operators Association). After all of the Black Friday shopping, heading to a spa hotel was exactly what I needed. I was able to take a couple of hours away from Andy, which allowed me some downtime in the spa (and a break from listening to how I 'overshopped' and how I am 'a marketer's dream') and allowed Andy time to play Golf with Roe Park's PGA Pro, Michael McCrudden.
The drive to Roe Park from Belfast is gorgeous. We stopped along the way to grab a hot drink and some gluten free brownies (from Greggs of all places!) to enjoy along the way.
We took the Glenshane Pass, which is like entering a completely different climate! We left a sunny, but cold Belfast and within an hour, we were in a snowy winter wonderland!
I had totally forgotten how close Limavady was to the North Coast, in fact it's merely a 20minute drive away. So if you're looking for somewhere to visit while you spend the weekend in Roe Park, your options along the coastline are endless. Visit the Giant's Causeway, take a drive along the Causeway Coastal Route, walk along the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge or watch the waves crash on the small Ballintoy Harbour.
Roe Park is situated in a stunning, natural setting of the Roe Valley Country Park. It has an 18 hole parkland golf course, which takes advantage of the beautiful setting and Lough Foyle and Inishowen Peninsula offers the dramatic backdrop that everyone is looking for when they golf in Northern Ireland. I was pleasantly surprised that the resort hotel has the feel of a traditional coutry house hotel and the enormous Christmas tree in the lobby only added to it!
Roe Park was buzzing when we arrived. There was a festive wedding on and there were lots of happy people walking around the large lobby in sparkly dresses. The lobby sides onto the bar, so it’s the perfect place to grab a drink, take it to a cosy seat to people watch.
We checked in and went to our large room above the main entrance, which overlooked part of the golf course. It had all the amenities you could possibly need, including a giant TV, big bed and tea and coffee facilities. Our room also had two single beds, which would be great if you're looking for a family getaway! We dropped our bags, kissed goodbye and I made my way to the spa and Andy to the golf course.
The Spa and Healthclub boasts a gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Unfortunately, these were closed during our visit as they were under maintenance, but that just gives us something to look forward to for our next visit! It was SO cold and I couldn't have been happier that I had chose a hot stone massage as my complimentary treatment. The spa is so lovely! It smells beautiful and is complimented by the gorgeous soft, warm lighting. I felt totally at ease as soon as I walked in.
I met Michelle, my masseuse, and she showed me into the room. Michelle was so friendly, so knowledgable and so nice. I never talk during massages, but at the end of my massage, I realised that an hour had passed and I had chatted to Michelle the whole time! The hot stone massage was everything I needed and more. I have had a sore shoulder since August, which Michelle immediately picked up on and worked on, without hurting me. She also offered some fantastic advice for things I could do to help when I was at home. For someone who loves heat, a hot stone massage is your dream treatment, as it was mine.
After my massage was over, Michelle showed me through to the relaxation room. She showed me the facilities and brought me over a glass of water and also lemon sorbet in a cocktail glass. I lay there in the darkened room, slowly eating my lemon sorbet while enjoying the therapeutic sound of the waterfall. Knowing that Andy would have well and truly finished playing golf, I peeled myself off the bed and made my way to the lobby to meet him.
While I had been in the spa, Andy met up with Roe Park’s PGA Pro, Michael, and because the weather was so bad, they opted to stay indoors and spent the afternoon practicing golf swings using Michael’s Flightscope. This equipment allows you to take an in-depth look at your golf swing giving results on all impact factors, which is not only excellent for golf lessons, but also for club fittings (these are Andy's words, not mine - I don't have a clue about golf).
Andy said that Michael had a first class pro shop with top brands and boasts top facilities. His coaching studio was loaded with technology, including a V1 video coaching system and the Flightscope launch monitor which they used. Thy explored the 18 bay (10 indoor and 8 outdoor) driving range and the high spec short game facility.
Andy was really impressed and said that when the weather was better he would love to take ‘a few of the boys’ up to play. Of course, he was picturing a lad’s weekend, but I agreed with him and said a couple’s retreat would be fab – the guys could play golf while the girls enjoyed a spa day.
When we met up, we popped bottle of champagne and enjoyed a bit of people watching before deciding to grab a warm drink and a snack. So we headed to The Coach House to do just that. We ordered Calypso coffees and a sharing platter of nachos - my favourite!
There are two evening dining options in Roe Park - The Coach House Brasserie and Green's Restaurant. We were booked in The Coach House, which is the more casual of the two restaurants - it feels a little bit like an old ski lodge and I loved the oldy-worldy lighting around the bar. We began our meal by reviewing the impressive wine menu and settled for a bottle of Chianti. We were married in the Chianti region in Italy and the wine is a great way to take our taste buds on a trip down memory lane. That weekend we had been married for six months - so our wine choice definitely seemed fitting!
I really appreciate a restaurant that has a gluten free menu because it removes any stress from choosing what to order! Roe Park had a great gluten free menu. I chose the chicken liver parfait, with gluten free toast and chutney to start…what a treat! The parfait was light and rich, the chutney was sweet and the toast was lovely and perfectly crisp. Everything you could wish for in a starter! For main, I ordered a sirloin steak, with whiskey & pepper cream sauce and garlic potatoes. The chef cooked my steak to perfection – rare (sorry vegans!) and added sautéed onions, as I couldn’t have tobacco onions.
Andy opted to ignore the gluten free menu and order food from the standard menu, which of course meant that we couldn't share (insert eye roll emoji). He chose the breaded mushrooms to start, followed by the 'Mexicana' burger. The burger looked incredible and like something an American would describe as a 'Sloppy Joe'.
I rarely order three courses, but when I saw that they had a gluten free chocolate fondant, all bets were off and knowing it’s Andy’s favourite dessert, we agreed to share. I regretted sharing because it was SO good, but my leather skirt was tight enough and I don’t think the zip could have coped with anymore pressure from my stomach! With that, we rolled back to our room to finish the champagne for a little nightcap!
Breakfast the next morning was fab! I'm not that much of a breakfast fan in hotels, because options are limited if you're gluten free. However, not in Roe Park! The lovely hostess brought me over an assortment of gluten free cereals to choose from and I picked Rule of Crumb's gluten free cornflakes. She also asked if I would like the kitchen to prepare a gluten free breakfast for me - a full fry including gluten free sausages and gluten free toast! It was a no brainer!
With full bellies and happy hearts, we checked out of Roe Park and made our journey back to Belfast.
We are very much looking forward to returning to Roe Park in the New Year! To book your stay visit https://www.roeparkresort.com
I would like to send a HUGE thank you to Roe Park Resort, who invited us to stay and sample their new gluten free menu! The staff were all wonderful and a complete credit to the resort. I look forward to seeing you all again soon! x