Stobo Castle is Scotland’s only destination spa. Guests sleep and eat in an historic crenelated castle, while a bright, modern extension at the back provides the setting for a luxurious, eco-friendly spa. The vast pool has a glass wall which overlooks the nearby hills; try the thermal rooms (a large part is for ladies only) or head upstairs to the fitness facilities. Take a moment to relax in the outdoor hot tubs or the many relaxation spaces around the spa.
- XXL robes available
- 25-metre indoor ozone-treated swimming pool
- Outdoor hot tub
- Experience showers
- Steam room
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Sauna (men's)
- Single sex facilities
- Hair studio
- Fitness classes
- Personal Trainer
- Leisure Club
- Spa/club shop
- Mountain biking
- Tennis court
- Ice fountain
- Guided walks (including the Japanese Water Gardens)
- Coffee shop
- Fake Bake
Our Spa Spy review
A proper Scottish castle. You turn into the sweeping drive and, at the final bend, get your first view of the 200-year-old castle, surrounded by rolling hills and pine forests. The front of the building may be a castle, but at the back is a large modern extension with a contemporary spa.
If you're staying overnight, go through the covered entrance, and up the steps into the hall; the reception area is stately, complete with gilt mirrors and a full-sized suit of armour. The bedrooms, dining rooms and drawing room are in the old part of the house and have traditional furnishings.
If you're visiting for a day, you arrive in the spa-reception area of the atrium (and have a locker in a room nearby). This large space -- a relaxing area with comfortable sofas, plants, and light streaming in from the glass roof -- is the bridge between the old part of the castle and the new.
What's on offer?
One of the first things you see -- and the jewel in Stobo's crown -- is the beautifully lit 25-metre ozone-treated pool. This has glass walls and an infinity edge, so you can swim while gazing at dramatic views of the countryside.
Within the female changing area is the "Ladies Health Suite" which has more thermal facilities. The aromatherapy steam room would seat six; the larger (and steamier) crystal steam room and mild laconium with dry heat would each comfortably take eight people. Try the ice fountain or experience showers for cooling in between.
The changing rooms themselves are spacious if a bit chaotic; towels and robes tend to be hung here and there. The showers are functional rather than luxurious, but contain bodywash, shampoo and conditioner. There are private spaces to change, and brackets of cleanser and moisturiser on the walls. If you are visiting for the day, the locker room also has everything you need.
The three outdoor hot tubs are in a courtyard. Each one seats eight and has individual controls. We loved sitting in the warm water, with twinkling lights above.
The well-equipped gym is brightly lit. You can book in for fitness analysis and personal training, one-to-one Pilates, or join the classes in the exercise studio that run from aerobics to yoga. We enjoyed our morning stretch session.
Between thermal experiences, you can relax in the atrium, where comfortable seating for 30-40 people is arranged around a huge faux olive tree. This central area is where you wait for your treatments. To one side is a café where you can order drinks and snacks. A spa shop has products and gifts. A very cute restroom has vintage furnishings and flocked wallpaper.
Looking to relax? Try the drawing room which has a huge fireplace, cosy sofas and views of the hills. The relaxation room is low-lit, with orchids, ten lounger beds, and a reminder that "Silence is Golden".
The grounds at Stobo are picturesque. The Japanese water garden has a waterfall cascading down from the lake. Take advantage of the scenery by joining a guided walk, explore by bike, or take to the tennis courts.
New since our last visit to Stobo is an elegant cocktail bar, which overlooks the pool. If your spa day isn't complete without a gin and tonic, you've come to the right place.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the All in One Candle Massage and Facial (85 minutes, £115) using the So Stobo products.
My therapist, Carol, took me upstairs from the atrium to one of Stobo's 40 treatment rooms, spacious and low-lit. She asked me to choose from four candles with different scents: honey, rose, fig or cacao. I chose the latter.
I lay face down on the treatment bed and Carol started the massage by tackling my eternally tense back, neck and shoulders. She varied the strokes: sometimes long and flowing, sometimes with deeper pressure. The warm candle oil made the massage feel super smooth.
I turned over and Carol paid lots of attention to my feet, which was welcome, then my hands and arms; she gave a much-needed stretch to my palms.
For the facial, Carol cleansed my skin using Cashmere soft milk, then exfoliated with a microdermabrasion scrub, which she removed with warm mitts. She included lots of facial massage and also managed a bit more work on my neck and shoulders. She painted on a cool cucumber mask which peeled off neatly. Finally, some cooling rose toner, pomegranate moisturiser and I was good to go.
My spa partner had the Full Body Massage (55 minutes; £65), which she pronounced very divine.
At Stobo, you can choose from over 80 treatments, many using the own-brand So Stobo products. Try facials and body treatments from Neom, Caudalie and Phytomer, massages, mud treatments and wraps. Alternative therapies such as reiki, reflexology and Indian head massage are on offer, as well as beauty treatments including manicures, pedicures, and waxing. There is even a hair salon.
Where you eat at Stobo will depend on your package type. We ate in one of the dining rooms in the castle; these have tables for two, tables for friends, and shared tables for those who have come alone.
For lunch, you can dine in your robe and choose from a three-course menu. The lunchtime cold buffet of salads and meats is accompanied by a choice of hot dishes including vegetarian options. The food is all sourced locally, beautifully cooked and presented.
For dinner, you need to dress and dine. It's another three-course feast, ranging from soup, your choice of meat, poultry, fish or vegetarian main course, to a selection of desserts.
If you are staying at Stobo, breakfast is a buffet of fruit, yoghurt, cereals, croissants and toast, or you can order a freshly cooked breakfast.
We loved / we didn't love
The fact that there is so much to do: The facilities can keep you busy all day, as you move between activities and relaxation.
Stobo delivers time after time: you can rely on having a good spa day, your way.
We didn't love
Stobo is a popular spa. However, just as there are busy times, there are quiet times; you just need to be patient to have that pool all to yourself.
Who do you think would like it?
The Stobo experience is ideal for friends and couples, as there is so much to share. Everyone is there to spa, with no children allowed.
On the other hand, as there is so much on offer, you could de-stress entirely alone.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We once again awarded Stobo Castle a Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 5 Bubbles. With top-class spa facilities, a comprehensive range of treatments, elegant interiors and delicious food, Stobo Castle is a true destination spa. Both a day or a stay will be rewarding.
An informal buffet lunch is available in-between treatments during the day. Breakfast and dinner also available, and every preference can be catered for.
Seven room styles available from Castle Lodge Rooms to The Cashmere Suite. Room rates start at £218 per room per night or £109 per person, including meals and use of the health suites and spa facilities.
7am - 10pm every day.