With clean air, soul-inspiring scenery, and water that’s good enough for whisky-making, Scotland could almost be a giant spa unto itself.
The country is well connected with four main and several regional airports, plus handy rail links (perfect for reuniting friends and hens, we say).
There’s an itinerary to suit everyone. Culture, history and chic shopping await visitors to Scotland’s seven cities, while dramatic castles, hills, wild coastal trails and fascinating islands will put the wind in your hair and a spring in your step.
Scotland has seen a quiet farm-to-fork revolution in recent years, with restaurants and artisan producers opting to showcase local, seasonal and fresh ingredients. The seafood is awesome.
And when you’ve feasted your eyes and sated your appetite, it’s time to treat your senses. Whether you’re looking for a city spa, a rambling retreat, something big or something boutique, Scotland has a spa experience to leave you feeling lighter, brighter and bonnier. And the fresh air is always free.
We love the country romance of Norton House Hotel to the west of Edinburgh. Glide across the walled garden to the hotel’s purpose-built spa; its super-modern glass structure belies a restful inner ambience. Enjoy an aromatic massage or soothing facial (key brands include Elemis, Jessica and Neom), then drift away in post-treatment tranquillity in the softly lit relaxation room.
With four refuelling options, from refreshments in the Spa Brasserie through to fine-dining luxury in Ushers Restaurant, there are plenty of reasons to stay for a whole weekend.
If you’re only passing by, the spa at Norton House Hotel offers excellent day packages. This is a spa which represents great value for money in a truly lovely setting.
Wallow for a weekend in a real Scottish castle, on an estate owned in turns by landed gentry, a judge, a baronet, a cricketer and a countess. Stobo Castle is Scotland’s only destination spa: its crystal steam room, 25m ozone pool and vast array of treatments helped secure its five-bubble rating from our discerning Spa Spies.
We can’t think of a better pick-me-up from a hard week than checking into Stobo and indulging in sumptuous treatments over a couple of blissfully slow days. Key brands include Darphin, Gatineau and Phytomer - and there’s a hair salon for getting yourself preened as well as pampered.
Be sure to take someone you love: this 200-year-old castle in the Scottish Borders is seriously romantic, especially when the sun goes down over the hills. There’s also sunrise to savour during a dawn walk through the Japanese Water Gardens.
Do you enjoy a local twist to your treatments? The ishga range at Glasgow’s Spa at Blythswood Square uses Hebridean seaweed to pamper your skin, Scottish-style. Another fun touch throughout this five-star hotel is the elegant appointment of Harris Tweed.
Spa at Blythswood Square strikes a happy balance between hosting hotel residents and spa-goers, allowing everyone to have a peaceful and relaxing day. We’re impressed by the large and imaginative treatment menu. As well as ishga, the key brands here are Anne Semonin, Elemis and ila.
While you’re in town be sure to schedule in a spot of retail therapy. Glasgow is home to Scotland’s ‘mini Milan’ (The Italian Centre includes the UK’s first Versace shop), while Prince’s Square brings designer names, boutiques and chic bars under one heaven-gazing Art Nouveau roof.
Just a short chip away from the historic university town of St Andrews (where Wills and Kate fell in love), the Old Course Hotel is an AA five-star establishment boasting the first Kohler spa experience outside of the USA.
Kohler’s a global player in designing dreamy bathrooms and you’ll find one on a super-spa scale at the Old Course Hotel. Described as providing “well-being around every corner”, the Kohler Waters Spa offers escapism on tap, with water-inspired treatment rooms, a 20m swimming pool with cascading waterfall, and a rooftop spa garden.
As you’d expect from a five-star AA hotel, the dining options here are delicious. There’s a brasserie which serves afternoon tea, a traditional pub, a grill and a clubhouse – as well as the 3 AA rosette Road Hole Restaurant. Enjoy yourself: a wee bit of overindulgence can always be countered with a breezy stroll along the nearby Fife coastline.
There aren't many places where you can enjoy views of the surrounding Scottish mountains from a tepidarium, and watch birds fly past from a rooftop infinity pool, but this is one of them…
Cameron House is a traditional hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond. Its spa is a little journey away at the Carrick estate, but offers a complete spa and thermal experience for hotel guests and day-spa visitors alike. It's a spacious spa, with neutral earthy colours and curved walls being key themes throughout. It's also a spa with a view, and a green, soothing view, no less.
Waterbabies will be in their element, with three pools with spectacular views to choose from, all adult-only. There’s a 20-meter swimming pool, a heat and ice experience with a tepidarium overlooking the mountains, and a large hydropool with floor-to-ceiling windows delivering countryside views. Head upstairs to the rooftop pool and watch the birds fly past.
As Scotland’s only five bubble luxury spa Gleneagles has a reputation for excellent Scottish hospitality, dramatic landscapes and impeccable design – and it absolutely lives up to the rumours.
The gold and bronze wet facilities are separated into individual journeys for men and women, so if your significant other is the opposite sex, you are likely to spend part of the day apart. Explore the steam, sauna and ice fountains before meeting up in the unisex vitality pool or Japanese inspired tranquil courtyard. There’s also a dreamy dark relaxation room and 20 treatment rooms to experience ESPA therapies, mindfulness and wellness experiences.
Gleneagles offer luxury with a capital L. It’s perfect for anyone who wants a special treat as you can indulge in delicious food, excellent service and professional treatments in incredible surrounds. Gleneagles is equally appealing for those who need some TLC thanks to its special wellbeing treatments led by naturopaths, TCM practitioners, physiotherapists and Wellness practitioners.