Spa Struck

I’ve said it before: I love a good spa. Promise me the tranquillity, the heady aroma, a good pummelling (nicely, of course) or the chance to be beautified, and you’ve got me.

If I were a lady of leisure, I could probably traverse the Lothians for a year or two and never run out of these havens to try. I can’t do that, but I can tell you about two very different, but equally welcoming, places I’ve been to recently.

For ages, I’d hung on to a gift card for One Spa at the Sheraton Hotel on Lothian Road. As well as a Balinese Body Massage, it also gave access to ‘Escape at One’ the heat and thermal suits and I’d heard great things about these rooftop luxuries, so I wanted to take a whole morning out to enjoy the experience.

Would you believe the hour I made the booking, I was invited to the launch of the Sleeping Beauty Spa at the Raddisson Blu on the Royal Mile? Of course I could go to both – I could call it a controlled experiment…

One Spa is on top of the world, Sleeping Beauty is tucked snugly below it. You might prefer one or the other, but you could fault neither in terms of friendliness, facilities, or treatments. I spent a morning in one, an evening in the other – and I’d have happily stayed far longer (the babysitter might not have agreed though).

My Balinese Massage was long and luxurious. The warm, scented oils and the hot stones (yes, those things like pebbles) added a whole new dimension to the treatment, and I floated out to snooze in the relaxation room.

onespa_laconium_medEventually, I wandered past the swimming pool, and found a circuit of saunas, steam room, laconium (pictured), hammam, and the hydrotherapy pools, so detailed it needed its own map. I tried them all – basically rooms of warm to steamy heat and big baths with underwater jets – saving the outdoor pool til last. There’s something very relaxing, very sensual, about being immersed in warm, flowing water from the neck down whilst your hair and face are open to the elements – especially when it’s a rooftop pool and the blue sky (I was lucky) and scudding clouds are right there above you. It didn’t disappoint (also pictured, in the header – with model. Not me).

If I wanted to nit-pick, I’d say that the One Spa café was a bit too pricey and cafeteria-like, but if I wanted fine dining, I wouldn’t have gone to a spa. I’d return here in a heartbeat – a whole host of treatments I’d love to try – and I’m already wondering who I can coerce to buy me another gift card.

sbrmThe Sleeping Beauty Spa is on a much smaller scale, but the newly refurbished area is beautifully kitted out and the treatment rooms very inviting (double room pictured). Here, I was treated to a mini-manicure, although there was nothing mini about it. It was expertly carried out, the products were top-range, and my sparkly autumnal gold-ish nails were admired extensively for a good couple of weeks afterwards.

Here, I thought, I could imagine popping in when I had less time to spare (or was staying at the hotel, of course) than at One Spa, but didn’t want to compromise on the treatment experience.

sbpoolThat said, there was a lovely suggestion of spending time in the spa, the pool, and then rounding it off with a (fizzy) afternoon tea… And that would make for an equally well-received gift card – am I hinting too much, friends, family?

Visiting a spa isn’t cheap. Ever.

What people are looking for in a spa experience isn’t the same. Ever.

That’s what makes finding one you like so special. I’d highly recommend both of these places – go online and peruse the information, choose your luxury, and expect the best at each.

One Spa, 8 Conference Square, Edinburgh, EH3 8AN Phone: 0131 221 7777

Sleeping Beauty Melrose Spa, Radisson Blu Hotel, 80 High Street, Edinburgh, EH 1 1TH Phone: 0131 2026583

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