Norton House Hotel and Spa is an elegant Georgian country-house hotel just outside central Edinburgh. The spa itself is part of a modern cluster of buildings separate from the hotel. The facilities are perfect for a restful spa day; swim in the pool, brave the bucket shower and then bubble away in the hot tub. The customer journey is well thought out, and the treatments are excellent. The spa offers very good value-for-money and, on a sunny day, the zen garden is a lovely suntrap.
- Family swim times
- Treatment rooms
- Relaxation room
- Steam room
- 18m indoor swimming pool
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Experience shower
- Exercise studio
Our Spa Spy review
Norton House Hotel and Spa is an elegant Georgian country-house hotel just outside central Edinburgh, near the airport. Follow the long and winding drive and you'll feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Scottish capital.
The spa itself is part of a modern cluster of buildings separate from the hotel; walk to the walled garden then take the glass stairwell (or the lift) to the spa which has been cut into one side of a hill.
What's on offer?
Spa reception is a little dark, but a member of staff greeted us warmly and showed us through to the café and lounge area. With floor-to-ceiling windows running down one side, the area becomes very light and bright, and you forget that you're underground. We were given a citrus juice and asked to fill in our consultation forms. Our spa hostess, Lauren, joined us and went through our treatments and lunch booking before taking us on a tour of the spa.
The changing rooms are sleek with large dark wood lockers, slate floor and stone walls. There's a private changing cubicle and wooden seating along one wall. Next to the changing area are the four showers and five loos. The changing rooms are well designed with plenty of space and all the fixtures and fittings you'd expect, but they are little more focused to the health club members than spa goers. For example, there's shampoo and body wash in the shower but no conditioner. You also have to ask at reception if you want an extra towel.
The wet and thermal facilities are in a bright, warm and calming space with floor-to-ceiling windows looking over a stepped zen garden. The 18-metre pool is perfect for lengths, with lots of comfortable loungers around the edge of the water; choose a lounger next to the windows to soak up the warmth of the sun.
The hydro-pool -- slightly screened off so the noise doesn't interrupt the peace of the main pool -- has bubbly air-beds and a strong swan pipe to soothe tired muscles. To cool down, try the bucket shower. Warm up again in the traditional wooden sauna which would comfortably seat eight, or the smaller blue-tiled steam room. There's also an experience shower to wash away the day.
Norton House Spa has two relaxation spaces: The Amber Lounge and the dedicated post-treatment relaxation room. The Amber Lounge is bright with neutral sofas and armchairs and bright blue cushions. Help yourself to drinks, fruit and magazines. The post-treatment relaxation room is darker with eight lounger-style beds, each screened by a wall of bamboo. Curl up under a blanket and take a nap, or just use the space to chill out. Magazines, water and herbal teas are available here, too.
Norton House Spa also has a mani/pedi area, rasul and well equipped gym.
Tell us about the treatments
We had the Ishga Hot Stones Massage (55 minutes, £75) and Ishga Facial (55 minutes, £65), with the massage coming first.
My therapist, Hollie, met me in the Amber Lounge and took me through to our treatment room. She asked me about my skin type and areas of concern before I settled onto the warm treatment bed. The massage started on my front. Hollie pushed the hot stones into the tight muscles in my shins before moving up to my arms and décolletage. I turned over and she repeated the pattern, working up from my legs and back to shoulders and neck. Hollie used quite strong pressure, releasing knots and loosening my neck.
I turned back over onto my front for the facial. Hollie cleansed, toned and exfoliated my skin before massaging my face and neck with a light oil. She used long, flowing movements, stimulating my circulation. She cleansed once again and applied a thick hydrating mask. Hollie massaged my arms and décolletage while the mask set. Once it had worked its magic, Hollie peeled off the mask, cleansed, then applied a finishing serum and moisturiser.
Once I was back in my robe, Hollie took me through to the relaxation room. My skin felt thoroughly hydrated and muscles much more relaxed.
The Spa at Norton House offers Elemis and Ishga facials, massages and body treatments. You can try manicures and pedicures, mud treatments in the rasul, and treatments for mums-to-be and men. You can also try more holistic treatments such as reflexology, Indian head massage and traditional Thai massage.
If you visit The Spa at Norton House for a spa day, you can eat lunch in your robe in the light-filled spa lounge. Choose from salads, sandwiches, or fuller main courses such as burgers and pasta dishes. We indulged and had the champagne afternoon tea which was sumptuously decadent.
The main hotel has two restaurants; choose between fine dining at Ushers which has three AA rosettes, and the Brasserie which is much more informal and serves good quality modern European food.
We loved / we didn't love
Swimming in the pool and looking out over the zen garden. Perfect for swimming a few lengths before retreating to The Amber Lounge with a book.
The helpful and friendly staff: Having a spa hostess made us feel welcome and Lauren was available throughout the day if we had any questions.
The mix of old and new: The Norton House hotel building is beautifully elegant but the modern extension houses some stunning rooms. Ours had floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides looking over the surrounding fields and trees; a very special treat.
We didn't love
The changing rooms and thermal experience rooms do feel more health club than spa. They don't offer hushed luxury but are perfectly good for a chilled-out spa day.
Who do you think would like it?
Edinburgh locals: You have a lovely gym and spa on your doorstep. We'd join the health club if we could.
Solo spa-goers: We saw lots of people on their own enjoying the day and would have felt very comfortable drifting between reading, swimming and treatments.
People who travel a lot: Norton House Hotel is near the airport and central Edinburgh. Use the hotel as a base to see the city, then head back from some spa R&R.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Norton House Hotel and Spa a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles. The facilities are perfect for a restful spa day, the customer journey is well thought through, and our treatments were excellent. The spa offers very good value for money and, on a sunny day, the zen garden is a lovely suntrap.
The Spa Brasserie serves refreshments and healthy dining options; Ushers Restaurant offers fine dining; The Brasserie Restaurant offers an informal dining option; The Conservatory offers drinks and snacks.
83 rooms available and five room types from Classic Rooms to the Kingdom Suite.
10am - 6pm daily