Picture a five-star hotel which sits alongside the most famous golf course in the world – The Old Course. Along with 175 bedrooms, including a penthouse suite, The Old Course Hotel is just a short walk from the stunning West Sands Beach and the North Sea. The cobbled streets and ancient castles of St Andrews are all within walking distance, and not forgetting the third oldest university in the English-speaking world.
Shall we spa?
The hotel is not just for golfers, with Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel the first Kohler spa experience found outside the USA. The spa focuses on the therapeutic and healing properties of natural, mineral-rich waters.
Head to the changing rooms with your numbered key card which tells you which locker to use. Place it on the circular control and the locker clicks open to reveal a towel, slippers and a grey cotton and towel robe. There’s one private changing room, several showers and a steam room in each changing area.
Follow the signs to the 20-metre adults-only spa pool – with its waterfall at one end - perfect for swimming laps, or simply unravel on one of eight pool-side loungers. A door from here leads to the wonderfully warm hydrotherapy pool. The oval pool has a bubbly hot tub at one end, massage jets throughout and a powerful swan neck jet for pummelling stressed-out shoulders.
From here we followed the thermal spa journey map and sauntered between the sauna, steam room and experience showers before cooling down at the ice fountain. The cold plunge looked tempting but this wimpish Spa Spy only went as far as knee deep into the very cold water. Other spa goers were happily immersing themselves and coming up glowing.
Wait for your treatment on one of the comfy purple chairs in the stylish spa lounge; help yourself to crisp green apples if you’re feeling peckish.
We tried a Face & Body Ritual (80 mins, from £190).
Aware of my pesky lavender allergy, Shona, my therapist, changed the products for this treatment to an Energising On the Green CBD oil with notes of eucalyptus and lemon for the massage and products from Phytomer for the facial. With everything now personalised, I felt like I was in good hands.
The treatment began – to my glee – with a foot massage, Shona firmly holding and stroking the soles and heels of the feet before moving up to use long strokes up the calf muscles – this she repeated several times.
Lying face down on the bed, Shona continued the massage on my back using a firm pressure which she negated with a warm cloth; this helped me sink even deeper into a relaxed state.
Turning over for the facial, Shona cleansed by skin using a gentle Phytomer cleaning milk followed by a toner to close the pores. Once my skin was completely clean, Shona applied a mask and covered my eyes with a warm cloth so that I could zone out. While this worked, Shona massaged the front of my body with the same long, soothing strokes as my back, almost reducing me to jelly.
Mask removed, Shona used warm rose quartz crystals to aid a lymphatic drainage massage down my neck and out and across my jawline, cheekbones and forehead. This is said to reduce puffiness and firm up the skin (yes please).
How did it measure up?
By the end of the treatment, I felt very relaxed, the knots in my shoulders were much looser and my skin looked brighter and firmer. My spa partner, who went off with Lucy for a Kohler Waters Signature Massage returned feeling completely relaxed with glowing skin.
Spot of lunch?
Stroll to the Spa Café in your robe for lunch served with cold drinks. On the menu: Ramen noodles, Crostini’s, salads and sandwiches, along with a seasonal fruit platter and – on our visit - an almond butter parfait.
We began our lunch with a fresh spring vegetable soup with thyme served with brown bread; our spa partner opted for the Orzo salad with prawns and Parma ham. Everything was light and tasty.
Got all day?
Start the day early with a walk on that famous ‘Chariots of Fire’ beach then book one of spa’s exclusive bathing treatments: a River bath with a massage perhaps, or the Lavender Rain signature treatment? Snooze in the lovely quiet relaxation room afterwards before grabbing lunch. End the day with a turn around the thermal area.
Short on time?
Book your treatments for later in the day and start with a thermal journey. Warm up in the hydro pool, sauna or steam room to relax your muscles for a treatment. Or choose a spa day with a treatment and afternoon tea so you can relax and indulge.