If there are two words that don't belong in the same sentence, it's surely nappy changing and a mani-pedi. Despite the soaring popularity of spa-breaks thanks to money saving websites such as Groupon, pampering weekends just don't scream young family holiday. And nor should they. So when we went to Galgorm Spa Resort in scenic County Antrim– just 30 minutes outside of Belfast - we reviewed with two readers in mind: the mother and her teenage daughter.
A spa trip with your family here does come at a price, but the fact so many pay up for these bath robed mini-jaunts speaks volumes. So-called 'wellbeing' tourism is no longer for the very few and very rich, with mothers and daughters across Europe willing to pay big for that extra jolt of energy after an oasis of calm. Is Galgorm spa worth a punt? Oh yes.
Situated 30-minutes from George Best Belfast City airport, the spa wins brownie points for location. When we visited the resort in May flights from London came to £60 return, with rental cars starting at £15 a day.
If you've got the energy, a rental car is worth it for exploring the beautiful surroundings (the coastal route to Giants Causeway takes around an hour) and might satisfy those who tense-up at the thought of spending 48 hours wrinkling in a hot tub.
The spa: Galgorm Resort & Spa won gold stars for its friendly, welcoming staff, fantastic views – a river runs through the estate and can be enjoyed from the comfort of an outdoor jacuzzi, and treatments. There's no question that this is an ideal setting for a relaxing mother-daughter mini break.
Food: A four-course meal in the hotel restaurant, Gillies Bar & Grill, is included in the package – we'd recommend the ribs. And the buffet breakfast is a real winner.
How to get there: British Airways flies from London to Belfast City Airport; from £123 return.
Travel time: A flight takes 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Price: If travelling to a spa with children is a bad idea, travelling to a spa on a budget is a terrible one. As a seasoned bargain-hunter (well, I am a journalist), this is an expensive way to unwind. The two-night packages offered by the hotel, which includes breakfast, dinner and a spa treatment, costs from £265 per person - £305pp if your stay includes a Saturday night. That's a £600 mother-daughter bonding weekend before you've sat down for lunch. Pardon me – but aren't we supposed to be in some sort of economic meltdown?
More information: galgorm.com