The Sheraton Grand Hotel is large modern building in muted honey-coloured stone set on Edinburgh’s Festival Square, putting you right in the heart of the city. Across the square is Beaux Arts Usher Hall, a venue for concerts and theatre events.
Inside the hotel is stylish with bright seating, sculptural metal light fittings in a variety of colours and generous open spaces in the bar and lounge areas. The Brasserie on the second floor is popular with locals as well as guests.
Shall we spa?
One Spa is actually in the building across from the hotel. From the outside use the external staircase or lift; from inside take the skybridge on floor 5. The spa is spread over an incredible five floors with the stairs and lift in the centre - glass walls keep everywhere light and bright.
At reception, spa concierge will take you in hand and give a guided tour. From the changing rooms it’s possible to see just how large the spa is, with over a hundred full-size wooden lockers in the ladies changing room (containing your robe, towel and flip-flops), several padded cream benches by which to change, curtained private changing areas, loos and showers.
The large vanity area - with mirrors, hair dryers and straighteners - is minimal but functional; help yourself to spare towels and robes as you exit.
You’ll find the thermal area on the next floor up – make a beeline for the spa’s centrepiece: a rooftop hydro-pool with delightfully warm water and plastic dividers leading you out into the sunshine. If the sun hasn’t got its hat on, there’s also an indoor 19-metre infinity pool for length swimming.
There are so many heat experiences on offer at One Spa we found the map on the wall very handy. We counted two saunas - one generous enough to seat a dozen spa goers, plus a smaller very hot sauna for those who can stand the heat – a Himalayan salt room with invigorating pink salt bricks and tiled seating, a hammam, an aroma grotto and several white tepidarium beds on which to relax between heat experiences. Cool off under an experience shower or by grabbing handfuls of ice.
Hidden in the corner is a deep relaxation area with low lighting, padded curved seats and a flickering log-effect fire - the perfect place for a rest or even snooze.
We tried the Signature At One treatment (110 mins, £245).
Lisa, my therapist, led me to a treatment room and began by offering me a variety of scents to inhale and select. I had written on my consultation form that I wanted to feel invigorated at the end of the treatment and, sure enough, chose an energising oil containing peppermint and eucalyptus. I also chose a Hydrating Floral Spa fresh oil containing neroli and Rose Damascena, as well as a regenerating face oil packed with frankincense and rose - we all need a little regeneration at times.
The treatment began with a gentle body scrub which washed off easily in the shower using just hot water – the oils in the scrub made my skin feel very smooth. The hot stone massage that followed was a delight, Lisa moving the stones along the spine before concentrating on the larger muscle groups in my lower back and across my shoulders.
Turning over, Lisa then turned her attention to the facial element of the treatment which ended with a luxurious scalp massage using oils – at this point, I felt so relaxed I almost fell asleep.
How did it measure up?
I met my spa partner - who had enjoyed the same treatment - in the dimly-lit post treatment relaxation room; we snuggled under blankets, drank water and compared notes. We both felt completely relaxed and agreed that the massages were amongst some of the best we’ve ever had (quite a feat in our profession). Both therapists tailored the treatments to our needs; even after a shower, my skin remained silky.
Spot of lunch?
You’ll find the dedicated spa café – where you can comfortably eat in your robe - next to reception. The menu includes salads, soups, hot dishes and drinks. If you are on a spa day you can pre-order Bento Boxes, too.
We loved the beautiful dark wooden boxes that were delivered to our table, opening them up to reveal sections of goodies. We tucked into a tomato and mozzarella salad, salmon with new potatoes coated in crème fraiche, duck noodles, a cucumber wrap and a creamy desert with candied pineapple. It was a visual, tasty delight. Vegan and Gluten-free versions are available.
Got all day?
Start with a swim in the infinity pool before warming up in the thermal area. After lunch, enjoy a treatment and a snooze in the relaxation room. If you are staying overnight, upgrade to a Club room for a view of the castle and access to the Club Lounge for early evening cocktails and canapes.
Short on time?
Start with a wallow in the rooftop hydro-pool – where you’ll feel snug whatever the weather - before working your way around the extensive heat facilities. Take a break from the heat at the ice fountain or head to the deep relaxation room. Round off the day with a treatment.