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Weekend Away - Hastings Hotel Culloden Estate and Spa, Belfast

Weekend Away - Hastings Hotel Culloden Estate and Spa, Belfast

A Weekend Break to Hastings Hotel Culloden Estate and Spa in Belfast.


A weekend break can be many things, however personally I have found a recipe for success has always been fabulous food, surroundings, service and the opportunity to indulge in some rest and relaxation. Belfast isn’t necessarily the first place which springs to mind for a weekend break, however with amazingly quick connections between the North West and Belfast, it’s a convenient and beautiful opportunity to escape for a weekend and surprisingly focus on sleep. 

The recently refurbished 5 star Culloden Estate & Spa stands on the forested slopes of the Holywood hills, overlooking Belfast Lough and the glorious County Antrim coastline. Having recently celebrated 50 golden years of the Culloden Estate & Spa, the estate also celebrated the completion of its £4.8M Renovation Programme. Originally built as an official Palace for the Bishops of Down, the hotel stands in 12 acres of beautiful secluded gardens and woodland and provides the perfect city break. The recent hotel refurbishment has now greatly redeveloped the Culloden’s Mitre Restaurant, the Stuart Suite and the Spa. 

In close proximity to Belfast City Centre, the luxurious spa at the Culloden Estate is Northern Ireland’s premier sanctuary for mind, body and soul. Guests can revel in a range of ESPA products and lavish therapies with eight treatment suites and two pre and post treatment relaxation rooms. The hotel also offers a variety of different classes at the Health Club including Aquafit, Yogalates and Pilates. Guests can also enjoy relaxing in the pool, Jacuzzi and eucalyptus steam room. 

Ideal for a winter getaway The Culloden has launched a brand new ESPA sleep ritual. The Sleep Ritual spa treatment is the ultimate ‘unwind’, allowing your body time to relax and renew; an essential element to living well. Hastings Hotels recognise that sleep is vital for physical, emotional and mental wellbeing yet often its importance is underestimated in the rush of modern-day life. The tailor-made Sleep Ritual spa treatment is beautifully simple yet effective as it relaxes body and mind, helping to lull guests into a truly serene sleep. 

Performed in calming, candlelit surroundings, the therapist will skilfully guide you through breathing and visualisation techniques to release physical and emotional anxiety and restore energies. Switch off with an indulgent and warming deep tissue massage, releasing deep-seated muscular tension, using a combination of hot stones and warmed fragrant ESPA oil gently poured onto the body. This deeply therapeutic massage is continued up through the body, promoting positivity to the mind, concluding in a soothing scalp massage to relieve any final signs of stress ensuring guests completely switch off. 

I left the treatment room with a clear mind in preparation for a truly serene night’s sleep. Transported into blissful state, I was calmed by the aroma of the ESPA essential oils and soothed by the warming effect of the hot stones. Hastings Hotels are famous for their ‘Cloud Beds’ and the Culloden Estate and Spa is no different. The beds are heavenly, truly comfortable and welcoming. I really felt the difference after a weekend of sleeping in what feels like a giant, firm marshmallow. 


For those who like to stay active, the beautiful grounds of the hotel offer a welcoming green oasis in which to roam, and the proximity of the hotel to Belfast means you can be in the city centre via train or car within 30 minutes. This opens up a whole world of activities, including world famous tourist highlights including the Titanic Belfast, delicious gourmet offering such as St George’s market and a wealth of bars and shopping opportunities. 

For those like me who work and live in a city, being surrounded by relaxing greenery and having a sensational spa at my fingertips meant that it wasn’t as important to take in the sights of the city, however location wise you have the choice of both worlds. 

Another key focus point for any weekend getaway has to be the food. The Mitre Restaurant at The Culloden is one of the finest restaurants in Northern Ireland, run by leading chef, Paul McKnight. With breath-taking views across Belfast Lough, it serves modern Irish Cuisine using only the finest and freshest local ingredients. 

The décor is gothic grandeur, the food gourmet chic, while waiters ensure your glass never runs empty. The dishes at The Mitre showcase leading local producers and this is a showcase of the best local flavours from Northern Ireland. From Mourne lamb rump to Ewing’s Smoked Salmon, care has been taken to ensure this is a menu supporting and promoting the communities which surround the hotel. 

This focus on fresh and local also extends to their ‘Who Made My Breakfast’ concept. A booklet is provided at breakfast introducing the suppliers and providing details on the background of your breakfast, from the apple juice to the Bushmills Whiskey available to add to your breakfast porridge, its good to know that the best of Northern Ireland is available to sample through their menus. 

Stepping back onto the plane on a Sunday evening for the short hop back after a weekend of relaxation, good food and some seriously good sleep, my body and mind feel refreshed and ready for the week ahead. Whether you need some headspace from the hustle and bustle of normal life or an opportunity to focus on quality sleep, if you don’t have a week, try a weekend break to Belfast, you may just be surprised. 

t: +44 (0) 28 9042 1066 | w:

Thiago Fernandes - Head Chef

Thiago Fernandes - Head Chef

Brasserie Blanc, Knutsford

Brasserie Blanc, Knutsford