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
Gleneagles looks more like a French chateau than a Scottish country house and golf club; the first sight of the grand and luxurious hotel from the long, winding driveway is imposing. At the entrance, doormen greeted us, promptly took our luggage and parked the car.
Inside, the décor is equally grand, with high ceilings and floral displays, alongside more modern spaces such as the Brasserie and garden café.
What's on offer?
The huge wooden spa doors with a silver embossing hide the spa and keep it peaceful. Pass 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.
The changing rooms are cleverly designed with lockers divided into three bays. Each bay has full-size lockers, a vanity unit with mirrors and hairdryers, plus cushioned stools and a circular seating area in the middle. The three black-slate showers have hooks for clothes within them and are well stocked with ESPA shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. Help yourself to extra towels. The vanity areas have cotton pads and buds, but you can ask at the reception desk for almost everything you could ever want, from facial moisturiser to straighteners.
The spa journey takes you from the changing rooms directly into the single-sex heat experiences -- if you go with your significant other of the opposite sex, you will spend part of the day apart. The heat experiences include a large crystal steam room which was deliciously hot on our visit, two experience showers with “cool mint” or “warm tropical” settings, and an ice fountain.
The mixed-sex hydrotherapy pool and traditional wooden sauna would comfortably seat seven or eight people. The pool was nicely warm, with a bubbly air bed, a strong swan pipe, and two massage stations. Around the edge of the pool are four heated tepidarium beds.
Shimmering fabrics, lanterns, a shallow water pool and plants to create a restful atmosphere in the spa courtyard where light streams in through the roof. Settle down on a recliner with a fluffy throw or be mesmerised by the flickering fire.
The relaxation room is dark and rich. Comfortable beds each have a large V-shaped pillow and 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 music. Help yourself to hot and cold drinks and snacks of dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and home-made granola bars.
If fitness is part of your spa day, make use of a large gym or join one of the classes in the studio.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried a signature treatment, The Source (120 minutes, £195).
My therapist, Emma, collected me from the courtyard and took me to a treatment room dressed in neutral tones. She began by placing my feet into a bowl containing local river-washed stones to stimulate my reflexology points; the water also contained Scottish honey which softens the skin. There followed a foot exfoliation using fresh lavender picked on the Gleneagles estate, mixed with the ESPA Body Smoothing shower gel.
Feet neatened, I lay face down the treatment bed where Emma carried out a full body exfoliation, first on one side of my body then the other. Again, she used fresh lavender, this time also mixed with cleansing milk. I turned over so she could repeat the process on my front. Expertly wrapped in a towel, I hopped into the shower to wash the scrub off with a mitt.
For my full body massage, Emma used nourishing body oil and warm muslin poultices packed with oats, lavender and elderflower. The treatment of my back, neck and shoulders was divine. Emma used a mix of smooth, flowing strokes combined with chopping motions for more pressure. I turned over and Emma paid attention to my legs and feet, hands and arms. I also thoroughly enjoyed the facial massage using mini poultices.
The treatment ended with a scalp massage which was totally relaxing. I felt I had been smoothed and soothed from toes to top. The scents were intense and Emma's touch throughout assured, practised and professional. The length of the treatment allows you to relax and let yourself unwind. Emma brought me some elderflower iced water and finished with some aftercare advice for my skin.
You can book facials, some specifically for men, traditional massages, wraps and body treatments, as well as treatments for mums-to-be. The Spa at Gleneagles also offers a range of Ayurvedic treatments. If you love massage, try the Purva Karma where two therapists work together to massage you. There are also physiotherapists, naturopaths and wellness practitioners available as part of the "Espa Life" programme.
The spa café is small but the food is imaginative, and you can eat comfortably in your robe. The menu focuses on superfoods, salads and mains, tailored with a healthy-is-best philosophy. The café also offers a complete vegan menu, and dishes for people with food allergies.
On our visit, we tried what must be the healthiest salad we have ever eaten, encompassing salmon, kale, avocado, blueberries and toasted almonds. This went well with a glass of fresh carrot juice. The steamed sea bass with soy dashi which followed had oodles of umami as well as substance. You won't go hungry on your spa day.
Desserts are decadent as well as healthy (in our book, anything with pumpkin seeds on top is healthy). This doesn't stop you, however, from doing as the people at the next table did; they popped to the Garden Café next door and chose one of their cakes.
Evening food in the elegant Strathearn dining room is worth dressing up for. Think white linen cloths, sparkling silver cutlery and fresh flowers on every table. Our starter of goat's cheese and beetroot was delicious. The restaurant promises meals with "a touch of drama" and certainly obliges: smoked salmon sliced at your table, your fish deboned while you watch. Each day they offer a different traditional roast; ours arrived in a rather grand trolley wheeled to our table where the roast was carved. That beef wellington was doubly delicious.
We loved / we didn't love
The attention to detail that has gone into the design of the spa: It's a peaceful, elegant space that is warm and fragrant.
The service: Everyone we came across in The Spa at Gleneagles was friendly and attentive.
The serenity and sense of privacy: Even on a busy day, the design of the spa means it never feels crowded.
Our treatment: Our therapist personalised the treatment perfectly.
We didn't love
The lack of sound-proofing in the treatment rooms: On several occasions we could hear other guests chatting outside.
The single-sex heat experiences may disappoint anyone who has planned a romantic spa trip à deux.
Who do you think would like it?
Anyone who needs some TLC: The treatments are special.
Anyone celebrating an occasion: Gleneagles offers luxury with a capital L, but the price tag makes the place a wonderful spot for a treat. You can have a brilliant spa day then some delicious food in the evening.
Anyone wanting to combine activity with relaxation: The health club next to the spa has a 20-metre pool and an outside hot pool with water jets. You can also use the large, well equipped gym, or join a class in the fitness studio before retreating to the spa to unwind.
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 is well designed and well run; the staff work hard to keep customers happy and relaxed. The treatments are well thought-out and beautifully delivered, and the food is fantastic. What more could one 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