Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel is the first KOHLER spa experience found outside the USA. The spa focuses on the therapeutic benefits of water, with treatment experiences that draw on the healing properties of natural mineral-rich waters. Facilities include a 20-metre swimming pool and waterfall, deep relaxation room, and a roof top spa garden and lounge. The spa is just a short walk from the historic town of St Andrews, and near to the West Sands beach and the beautiful Scottish coastline.
- Single sex facilities
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- 11 treatment rooms
- Deep relaxation room
- Poolside relaxation area
- Rooftop hot tub and garden
- 20m swimming pool with waterfall
- Hydrotherapy whirlpool with swan neck jet spray
- Thermal suite
- Japanese steam room
- Plunge pool
- Deluge shower
- Fitness suite with personal trainers
Our Spa Spy review
The Old Course Hotel is a relatively modern (built in 1968) but very grand resort. St Andrews is home to possibly the most famous golf course in the world: The Old Course, dating from the 1400s. The golf course runs between the hotel and the beach, so there are beautiful, uninterrupted views of the coast from one side of the hotel.
A kilted concierge welcomed us to the hotel: a lovely reminder that we had arrived in the most bonny of countries.
What's on offer?
The entrance to the spa is at the sea-side of the hotel, among a small arcade of golf-inspired shops. Spa reception is bright with lots of tempting products, and large windows overlooking the golf course and coast. A helpful and friendly member of staff greeted us and took us through to the spa dining area/relaxation lounge. Much darker than reception, here are comfortable sofas, bistro-style seating, and hot and cold drinks to help yourself to. Curl up with a magazine or newspaper. Style wise, stone walls, hardwood floors and green and purple furnishings start here and run through the spa.
The changing rooms are well kitted out and feel much more spa than health club. The area is lined with large wooden lockers, with three comfortable vanity stations and a private changing room. There are two loos and four showers in a separate area; they have everything you need in terms of products, including shampoo, conditioner, moisturisers, cleansers -- even razors, combs and hairspray.
At the heart of the wet facilities is the 20-metre pool. The pool is in an orangery-style room, so on sunny days you can swim through sunbeams. A waterfall runs into the pool at one end, creating a continuous flow of water; a lovely feature but it can be a little noisy. Sandstone walls, purple pillars and coastal-inspired art give a mix of colour and warmth. Children's swim times are between 3pm and 5pm so, if a quiet swim is essential, plan an afternoon treatment.
The main thermal facilities are next to the pool. The nicely warm hydro-pool has four different water experiences including bubbly air-beds and two swan pipes to massage tight shoulders. Around the edge of the hydro-pool is a traditional wooden sauna, a Japanese aromatherapy steam room (both would comfortably seat eight) and a very cold plunge pool. If you want to cool off, but can't quite face the plunge pool, there are two drench showers. A little fridge has fruit-infused waters so you can rehydrate in the heat.
Head upstairs (it's two flights to walk, but you can take the lift and just come down a couple of steps if you have restricted mobility) to the rooftop hydro- pool, with six loungers and a shower to rinse off. There are no views, unfortunately, but screens make this quite the suntrap.
The deep relaxation room in the treatment-room area is very quiet, and very dark with grey walls and individual lighting so you can read or sleep. The nine lounger beds each have a blanket and pillow so you can continue your post-treatment bliss. The loungers are screened by soft cotton curtains, so you can rest with a little privacy. Help yourself to herbal tea, water, dried fruits and magazines.
A small but well-equipped gym has step, rowing, cross-trainers, running machines and free weights.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the All Things Scotland treatment (80 minutes, £114). I'm not sure words can quite do the treatment justice!
My therapist, Corrine, met me in the reception lounge and took me through to our large treatment room. She explained that this hydrotherapy treatment would start with a scrub and wrap, then a water massage with a Vichy shower.
Corrine used the Kerstin Florian Turkish Bath Scrub to stimulate and cleanse my skin, then wrapped me up in a thin plastic sheet. She turned on the shower and gallons of warm water covered me, washing away my stress. While my body enjoyed the warmth, Corrine massaged my face, scalp and feet. She then used a hand-held shower to massage my muscles, working from my toes to my shoulders. The warmth of the water was very healing and, of course, cleansing.
Once I was suitably relaxed, Corrine wrapped me in towels and patted me dry. She finished the treatment by massaging in a mineral- rich cream using lava shells to apply more heat. My skin felt beautifully soft and I felt relaxed but refreshed. I wasn't once tempted to fall asleep during the treatment; I was more interested in experiencing it in full.
Corrine gently told me the treatment was over and helped me off the treatment bed. She took me through to the relaxation room and gave me a glass of water with strict instructions to drink more during my spa day.
My spa partner had the North Sea Hot Stones Massage (80 minutes, £116). He arrived in the relaxation room relaxed and calm. The perfect complement to running on West Sands à la Chariots of Fire.
The treatment focus at Kohler Waters Spa is "the therapeutic benefits of water". You can opt for some unusual hydro-treatments; the Riverbath with Massage treatment includes a body exfoliation, a Vichy hydro-massage, then a chromo-therapy bath; the Rainman treatment for men includes a hydro-massage, hot stones massage and a full body exfoliation. You can also try more traditional spa treatments including massage, facials, scrubs, manicures and pedicures. Look out for the NEOM wellness treatments; choose from Happiness, Energise, Sleep or De-stress.
You can eat your spa lunch in your robe in the relaxation lounge by reception. Hot and cold dishes are on offer, including soups, wraps, salads, and healthy fish and meat options. If you're feeling indulgent, try a glass of bubbly and a decadent dessert. Our smoked-salmon wrap and vegetable soup were both well presented and very tasty.
The five dining options at The Old Course Hotel range from fine dining at The Road Hole Restaurant to pub-style food at Hams Hame. We tried the burgers at Hams Hame; very hearty after a long walk on the beach.
We loved / we didn't love
Swimming lengths in the pool: The pool is very well maintained and, because of the limited children's swim times, you can drift in and out or swim some serious lengths.
The old-fashioned customer service: Everyone was friendly and helpful but didn't make a fuss. A member of staff even typed up the recipe for a juice that we loved.
We didn't love
The steps up to the hydro-pool: They felt more like steps in an office building than a spa and would prove troublesome if you have problems with more than a few steps at a time.
Who do you think would like it?
We hate to go with the obvious – but golfers! When we arrived at the spa, a few gentleman golfers were waiting for their post-session massages. Even if you're not into golf, it's interesting to see the history and sheer amount of work it takes to run one of the most famous golf courses in the world.
Couples, mothers and daughters or best friends. Kohler Waters Spa has plenty to do but it's still relatively intimate. Perfect to catch up around treatments or lunch.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded the Kohler Waters Spa at The Old Course Hotel a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles. The spa has lots of facilities to try and they are well maintained. The interesting and unusual treatment menu will make even the most seasoned spa-ista happy, and the food is well designed for spa guests and very delicious. You'll leave the spa feeling both bonny and blithe.
The 3 AA rosette Road Hole Restaurant offers a fine-dining experience with Scottish and organic produce. Sands Grill is a contemporary brasserie specialising in seafood and steak, with afternoon tea available in the conservatory. The hotel also has a traditional pub, The Jigger Inn, as well as newly opened Hams Hame Pub & Grill; and also The Duke's Clubhouse with panoramic views of St Andrews and the beautiful coastline.
144 bedrooms including 35 suites, the majority of which overlook the Old Course and the coastline of Fife.
Open Daily. April to September: 6:30am-9:30pm; October to March: 6:30am-9:00pm.