Scarlet Spy tries The Long Exhale

Nov 15 2022

Scarlet Spy

On the Road

4 min read

Take me with you…

At the end of a sweeping driveway – surrounded by 850-acres of majestic Perthshire countryside - you’ll find the grande dame of Scottish boltholes: Gleneagles. The hotel’s heritage (almost 100 years) harks back to the glamourous age of travel when guests would arrive at Gleneagles’ very own train station. Now, concierge will greet you at the grand revolving door, park your car and whisk your luggage to your baronial bedroom. 

Play a round of golf at The King’s or Queen’s golf course, peruse the Parisian-style arcade of boutique shops or feast in the Two Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie – one of the 10 restaurants and bars at your disposal. There’s a high-end spa, too, offering wellness treatments that are as decadent as they are effective.

Shall we spa? 

The Spa at Gleneagles is sublime. Gold and bronze wet facilities are separated into journeys for men and women; explore the crystal steam room, hot sauna cabin, ice fountains and aromatic showers before re-uniting in the bubbly unisex vitality pool beneath the swan-neck jet. Spa-goers can also nip next door (in their robes) to swim laps in the beautifully-lit adult pool; we loved bubbling away in the outdoor thermal pool. 

When it’s time for your treatment, stroll to the botanical-inspired Spa Wellness Courtyard – a calming palette of sage and pastel pink with statement chandeliers; cool artwork; and an array of chaise lounges, sofas or leather stools to chill on. In the centre: an oasis of plants that weave around a pagoda and over a serene water feature. 

Gleneagles is the only spa in Scotland to offer Tata Harper treatments and the first residence in the UK to use Dr Barbara Sturm’s high-tech skincare collection. The spa also has its own range of Gleneagles balms, oils and scrubs made with herbs and plants – borage, sea buckthorn, rosehip, St John’s Wort and pine – all found on the Perthshire estate. 

Treatment talk

We tried The Long Exhale (120 minutes, £245). 

My wellness practitioner, Anna, met me in the fire-lit Wellness Courtyard and led me to a large treatment room (one of 20) complete with sage panelled walls, dark wood floors and a comfy armchair for pre-treatment consultation. 

Anna talked me through the treatment and discussed my areas of concern - a slight neck-wonk and achy lower back - before commencing the treatment with a foot ritual. Using a mix of salt, heather and honey she scrubbed my feet before placing them in a bowl and pouring warm water over them. After drying them both she left the room so I could disrobe and lie face up on the heated bed. 

A hydra pillow was placed under my head and shoulders; the warming floating sensation felt very soothing. Anna then applied Gleneagles Uplifting, Balancing & Restoring oil with flax seed, borage and sea buckthorn oils infused with neroli, rose otto and Sandalwood balm before commencing full body stretches using Thai massage techniques; she manoeuvred my body into shapes it certainly hadn’t seen for some time. 

Anna then glided warm jade waterstones along my body using sweeping movements, covering the tops of my hands all the way along to my neck; she found tension in my forearms that I didn’t even realise was there. 

Finally, she used a Jade Comb to perform a face and scalp massage; using small gentle motions to release any lingering tension in my head and face – it felt divine. 

Anna handed me a glass of water and advised me to stay hydrated. She then led me to the Wellness Courtyard where I sunk into a marshmallow-soft sofa by a gently flickering fire.   

How did it measure up?

The treatment was truly up there with the best; 120 minutes of absolute bliss - from the Thai-style deep body stretches to the eye-roll-inducing jade comb scalp massage. We loved all the little touches, too, from the hydra pillow and locally-sourced oils to the copper drinks dispenser complete with meditation stones to set positive intentions while you mindfully hydrate.  

Spot of lunch?

Head to the Spa Café – with its parquet floor and central bar adorned with hanging plants - for a choice of herbals teas served in glass teacups. After an epic breakfast we sipped rose and hibiscus tea and feasted on a giant wedge of to-die-for (and semi-healthy) chocolate avocado cake. The new healthy spa menus have been created by naturopath and nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson; try a delicious Glow Bar moon milk drink. 

Got all day?

Active spa goers will be in their element here; along with a ton of fresh air, Gleneagles has country pursuits sewn up - whether you want to hurtle through the estate in a Land Rover 110 Defender or trot along to the 50-acre Equestrian Centre for a Highland hack beneath the heather-clad Ochil Hills. The gym comes fully equipped with Technogym ARTIS and Skill ranges, and there’s a range of over 50 classes every week.

If you prefer to get horizontal, head to the low-lit relaxation room, bag a comfy bed and snuggle under the comfy duvet and V-neck pillow. With your own reading lamp you can catch up on that novel or ask the spa team for headphones, pull your curtain closed and switch off from the world. 

Short on time?

Make sure you book one of the treatments – the wellness practitioners are next level, as we have certainly come to expect at Gleneagles.


Scarlet Spy

15th November 2022

Spy Likes:

Nature-inspired spas, cold water plunges, sound baths, deep tissue massage, delicious food.

Spy Dislikes:

Thin walls in treatment rooms, loungers hoggers, bright lights

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