I checked into Room 505 at Galgorm Resort & Spa escorted by a well-dressed agent. He effortlessly wheeled my heavy luggage into the room and proceeded to point out the features.

Secure Wifi access? Check. Hair dryer? Check. Plenty of outlets for electronics? Check.

Since these first few amenities met my approval everything else was a bonus: a small portable fan, bottles of complementary water and mini-bar, drapes that didn’t bleed, long bathrobes and slippers, a European heated towel rack and on and on.

I ripped my bathing suit from my suitcase and rushed down to where more hype was happening. The sprawling estate hotel included indoor/outdoor spa facilities profiled on the banks of a terraced waterfall on the River Maine. I was torn as where to get wet first.

Admittedly, there’s a routine or ritual to follow at this fairytale Resort. But being as excited as I was, I skipped the instructions and let the pampering begin in the Infinity Hydrotherapy Pool. The aqua bed jets eased my tired, arthritis neck muscles.

I followed that up with the Aroma Grotto where eucalyptus oils hung heavy in the steamy air. The scents helped release tension around my face and sinuses. My friend Ann baked blissfully twice as long as me to help with a recent hip fracture.

An icy Vichy Shower awoke my senses for a final dip in a crowded jacuzzi. I had to laugh (and cry inside) when couples looked at me with sympathy in their eyes when I told them I was American.

“I’m sorry but he’s not my fault,” became my standard response for everyone’s confusion and disgust.

Finally, I braved a stint in the Snow Cabin. A bearded visitor already inside had the markings of a few growing goosebumps on his arms. No surprise since the winter dwelling was brushed with powder snow and ice crystals and maintained a bone-chilling temperature of 14°F.

(I lasted less time than it took you to read this blog up until this point).

All facilities and services at this luxury resort are beyond expectation, however, it’s also the furry creatures that roam the grounds that make this place unique. Horses, goats, dogs, cats, even stone statues of animals frozen in time, turned my one-night stay into a cozy slumberland.

A special thank you to Stable Manager Lisa Munce for allowing Max, the Irish Sports Half-bred, to befriend my camera. 5-year old Max, like the entire staff at the hotel, couldn’t have been friendlier.

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