When it comes to spa breaks, Stylist’s beauty director Shannon Peter is pretty picky – and rightfully so. Yet Gleneagles’ newly renovated spa managed to impress this harsh critic. Here she explains why…
Experiencing the best of the UK’s spa scene is undoubtedly one of the biggest perks of my job, but it also means I’ve become something of a spa snob.
I’m not ashamed of it, though. These days, luxury spa breaks and spa days can cost more than your weekly earnings, so it’s important to feel as though you’ve really got your money’s worth once it’s time to kick off those padded slippers and hang up your fluffy robe.
If you ask me, the three determining criteria of a great spa are the facilities (we want more than a solitary jacuzzi, please), the treatments (the less softly-softly and more hard-hitting the better) and the ambience (I want to feel cosy and coddled by the interiors at all times). And if it doesn’t tick all three boxes? Then it just simply isn’t worth your hard-earned cash.
Safe to say, I found all three at the spa at Gleneagles, the five-star country retreat nestled in rural Perthshire.
Recently renovated, the new spa concept takes its cues from the burgeoning wellness scene of LA for its new treatment menu. So much more than a slapdash treatment, nature-inspired facials are designed by the sought after skin guru Tata Harper, while Dr Barbara Sturm brings hi-tech skincare into the fold.
I tried Tata Harper’s Balancing and Grounding facial (£155 for 50 minutes), which is the perfect middle ground between relaxing (I fell asleep within minutes) and results-driven. It involves plenty of breathing techniques to get you in the right mindset, as well as a firm facial massage to boost circulation and glow. I came out beaming.
But the best hour of the whole experience? The Recovery Deep Tissue Massage (£145 for 50 minutes). Not for the faint of heart, my therapist put in plenty of elbow grease to twist and contort my body into all manner of alien positions in a bid to free the tension built up from a pandemic spent working on the sofa. At points, it was so tender my eyes started to well up, but I powered through and reaped the rewards of a more lithe and limber back afterwards. Hands down, it was the best massage I’ve ever had.
The spa also takes an inside-out approach to wellbeing, with a cafe menu curated by leading nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson and delicious moon milk drinks by Glow Bar. Trust me, it’s far more enticing than your usual health-conscious spa food.
And I can’t overlook the interiors, either. With decadent chandeliers, marshmallow-soft sofas, inspirational (and aspirational) artworks all set against a consistent colour scheme of calming sage green and soft baby pink, it feels as though Soho House has started its own wellness retreat. I collected so many ideas for my dream home moodboard throughout my stay.
There’s no question about it, this spa is the very best I’ve ever experienced. I’m already planning my return…
Spa day packages start from £195 for day access including treatments; gleneagles.com
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