Gleneagles has a reputation for excellent Scottish hospitality, dramatic scenery and impeccable design – and it absolutely lives up to its name. Play a round of golf at The King’s or Queen’s golf course and lunch in the Michelin-starred restaurant. The spa is sublime, with gold and bronze wet facilities separated into journeys for men and women – explore the steam room, sauna and ice fountains before re-uniting in the unisex vitality pool.
- Single sex facilities
- XXL robes available
- Child care facilities
- Indulgent changing rooms with large power showers and heated limestone floors
- Crystal Steam Room
- Hot Sauna Cabin
- Relaxation lounges
- Artic mist showers
- Courtyard Garden with glass roof and gently flickering fire
- Vitality pool with massaging swan necked fountains
- Deseo at The Spa, our Spa’s exclusive café
- In house naturopath, physiotherapist and TCM practitioner
- Acupuncture and colon hydrotherapy
Our Spa Spy review
As the house is more like a French Chateau than a Scottish country house and golf club, the first sight of Gleneagles from the long, winding driveway is breathtaking.
Born from the legacy of its original owner, the Caledonian Railway Company, this 1920s-era grand dame hotel was traditionally a haunt for Great Gatsby-type gatherings and grouse shoots. Times change, but Gleneagles remains satisfyingly in fashion: a multi-million-pound spring clean following a change in ownership has once again made it the most sought-after address in Perthshire. Inside, décor is all sporran artwork and contemporary Scots wallpapers. Expect great touches throughout your stay; we loved the complimentary in-room gin cocktails.
What's on offer?
Huge wooden doors with silver embossing hide the spa and keep it peaceful. Pass the threshold into the spacious spa reception and you enter a world dedicated to calm and relaxation. The design is elegant, with limestone flooring and shining wood.
Many of the facilities at Gleneagles are single-sex, so if you go with your significant other of the opposite sex, you are likely to spend part of the day apart. The spa journey takes you through the changing rooms, directly into the single-sex heat experiences and relaxation areas, on to the mixed-sex hydrotherapy pool, and through to the spa courtyard. The spa has gold and bronze tiles and low lighting to create a restful atmosphere.
The changing rooms are cleverly designed with lockers divided into three bays. Each bay has full-size lockers, a vanity unit with well-lit mirrors and hairdryers, plus cushioned stools and a circular seating area in the middle. This means you can often find an empty bay to change in. For the shy, there are two private changing cubicles. The three large showers are big enough to have hooks for clothes within them. All are well stocked with ESPA shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.
The heat experiences include a large crystal steam room, a traditional wooden sauna (both would comfortably seat eight or nine people), two experience showers that offer cool peppermint or warm tropical settings, and an ice fountain.
The hydro-pool would comfortably seat seven or eight people. It has a bubbly air bed, a strong swan pipe, and two massage chairs where you can let the wonderfully warm water lap over you. Around the edge of the pool are four heated tepidarium beds.
Out in the spa courtyard, light streams in through the glass section of the roof. It's a restful space with relaxing music and a strong Japanese feel, with a shallow water pool, lanterns at floor level, and bamboo plants. Settle down on a recliner with a fluffy throw while waiting for your treatment.
The relaxation room is dark and rich. The 16 comfortable beds each have a large V-shaped pillow and warm blanket. Gauze curtains around each bed add privacy and the lighting is low, so you can snooze if you wish. If you prefer to read, you get your own spotlight, and personal headphones so you can select your own music. Help yourself to hot and cold drinks and snacks of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and home-made granola bars.
Tell us about the treatments
We enjoyed the signature Serenity treatment (120 minutes, £200), a combined massage and facial using ESPA products, followed by a personalised facial (60 minutes, £110).
My first therapist, Anna, led me to a peaceful treatment room and conducted a scent test for the oil she would use in the massage. I selected "Fitness", a warming oil containing lavender and sweet almond to soothe and relieve tired muscles.
As I lay face down, the treatment began with an inhalation bowl before a thorough back and leg massage; Anna's tailored movements helped release the tension in both my body and my mind.
For the facial, Anna asked me to turn over so that she could cleanse my face with an ESPA Invigorating Facewash, a refreshing blend of peppermint and lemongrass, before applying an ESPA Replenishing Face Treatment Oil containing grounding patchouli, sandalwood and neroli.
Anna then performed a delightful combination of an Indian face massage and Ayurvedic shirodhara, gently drizzling warm sesame oil onto my forehead from a copper pot. My mind was immediately transported from the heathery Ochil Hills of Scotland to a palm-shaded Andaman Beach.
Anna's final act, a thoroughly relaxing Thai reflexology foot treatment, was the perfect end to a wonderful treatment.
For my personalised facial, my second therapist, Heather, led me to a different room so that she could take a closer look at my skin using a vision lamp. Pointing out areas of congestion around my nose and dehydration on my forehead, Heather thoroughly exfoliated my skin using a Clarasonic brush before applying a light cleansing milk, massaging it in thoroughly.
She then applied an ESPA Cleansing Mask containing clay and rose geranium to clear out impurities. A hydrating eye and face cream, followed by a slick of pink pomelo lip balm, completed my tailored facial. Afterwards, I looked implausibly more awake and refreshed, as though I'd walked through the looking glass. The results remained impressive for almost a week.
The Spa at Gleneagles offers an unusual range of treatments including a range of Ayurvedic and TCM treatments. If you're a massage junkie, try Purva Karma (120 minutes, £245) where two therapists work together to massage you. The spa also offers facials, traditional massages, wraps and body treatments, as well as treatments specifically for men and for mums-to-be. They also have physiotherapists, naturopaths and wellness practitioners on their ESPA Life programmes. You can tailor these lifestyle programmes to meet your specific needs, or you can book the complementary therapies as part of your spa day.
The on-site ESPA Life Cafe has as much "wow" factor as The Spa. The revitalising menu focuses on superfoods, salads and mains, tailored with a healthy-is-best philosophy. As you'd expect from a best-in-class hotel, the menu changes regularly. You can eat in your fluffy robe.
On my visit, I tried to be evangelical, pairing iced water from the Ochil Hills with a straight-from-the-garden salad, with tweezer-perfect placements of seeds, nuts and Perthshire veg. It was only an attempt to be healthy, you understand. Later that evening, at the see-to-be-seen Art Deco-style Birnam Bistro next door, I pigged-out on garlic-infused grilled lobster, paprika-spiced fries and an epic BLT caesar salad, full to overflowing with frilly cos leaves and served on a glossy plate as long as my arm. Encouraged by the fabulously-tailored staff, I may also have had a couple of Belgian IPAs and craft Scottish beers. Next time -- and there will be a next time -- I'll book in advance for Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, the two-Michelin star French-Scots showstopper upstairs; the only caveat being I won't be able to eat in my fluffy bathrobe.
We loved / we didn't love
Our treatments: Both therapists displayed a good amount of knowledge, managing to personalise both treatments perfectly.
The thermal facilities are expansive, varied and beautifully designed.
The service: Everyone we came across in The Spa at Gleneagles was friendly and attentive.
We didn't love
The lack of sound-proofing in the treatment rooms: On several occasions we could hear other guests chatting on the way to their treatment rooms.
Who do you think would like it?
Anyone celebrating an occasion: The location and price tag make The Spa at Gleneagles a wonderful spot for a birthday or anniversary treat.
Anybody: From the spa virgin to the wellness guru, The Spa at Gleneagles will not disappoint.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Spa at Gleneagles the top Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 5 Bubble Luxury. The Spa at Gleneagles is a beautifully designed spa with great service, well thought-out treatments and fantastic food. What more could you ask for?
Hospitality is the heart of the Gleneagles experience. Four restaurants set the highest culinary standards, including Scotland's only two Michelin stars in Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles. Elegant bars and public spaces encourage intimate conversation and quiet contemplation.
There are 232 rooms in the hotel, including 26 sumptuous luxury suites. Each room is individual in design and layout, with the amenities and thoughtful touches expected of a five red star resort. Guests can choose a traditional or modern approach to interior design.
Spa Opening Hours: Daily from 8.30am to 7.30pm
Spa Treatment Hours: Daily from 9am to 7pm