Ever dreamed of living a day in the life of a superstar?
A visit to Mar Hall Golf and Spa resort might be the closest thing you’ll get to stardom.
In fact, the chances are you could find yourself sitting opposite a legend in the restaurant or simply passing by as you enjoy the luxuries on offer at this incredible 5-star hotel.
It is, after all, the place the rich and famous descend upon. But the good news is you don’t have to be either to spend some time in what is without doubt a haven of peace and tranquillity.
The week before my two-night stay rap superstar Justin Timberlake used the hotel as his base throughout his sell-out concerts in Glasgow.
Other A-listers who have lain their heads there include Brad Pitt, Kylie Minogue, Beyonce and Lionel Richie. HRH Princess Anne has also used the hotel as a royal retreat.
And finally, if you like your football, Mar Hall is the hotel of choice for the Scotland national team, who base themselves there before every match.
But what makes this hotel, which boasts 53 individually-designed bedrooms, so special is that the staff treat EVERYONE as though they are a superstar.
From the moment you swing into the meandering tree-lined driveway you know you are entering somewhere different.
Halfway along, you’ll pass a pocket of new luxury houses which would set perspective buyers back somewhere in the region of £1million.
But nothing can prepare you for the breath-taking sight of the magnificent Edwardian Scottish mansion awaiting you at the end of your journey.
It feels you are miles into the countryside such is the feeling of leafy serenity but, amazingly, Mar Hall is only five minutes from Glasgow Airport and just 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre.
Preparing for a short break in the past used to be fairly effortless.
Now, with the addition of my nine-month-old daughter Philippa, not to mention my partner Lauren’s need to pack umpteen pairs of shoes, it’s far more challenging.
So you can imagine my relief when we were treated to a wonderfully warm welcome in the courtyard from the hotel porters.
Our deluxe room was simply stunning, with a glorious four-poster bed, a bathroom that was pure luxury and a view out over the private gardens.
It was so nice we almost had to drag ourselves out the door.
But once we had, and had started to explore, we found Mar Hall had a huge array of things to offer guests.
My favourite was the hotel’s fabulous 18-hole golf course which, like the hotel itself, is a haven for famous faces (former Scotland manager Walter Smith just happened to be playing during my visit).
It is set on the banks of the River Clyde with outstanding vistas of the Kilpatrick Hills.
Inside the hotel, a visit to the bar is a must, but a main feature would have to be the Grand Hall an elegant, sophisticated area where you can relax.
And if you find yourself here, then treating yourself to the afternoon tea is an absolute must.
The hotel’s award-winning Cristal restaurant is fine dining at its absolute best, set in yet another splendid room and manned by the most attentive and friendly staff you could wish for.
The menu is so appealing it makes you wish they provided a tapas version you want a little piece of everything. On top of that and unlike many high-class hotels the prices are reasonable.
Lauren and I went for the half baked lobster which was delicious. And the same can be said of the vast options at breakfast where you are looked after by the especially attentive Angela and her staff.
However, I have to say, the highlight of our stay was the spa treatments.
In fact, they were so good and relaxing we ended up treating ourselves to another pampering session before our departure.
With Philippa packed up and collected by her gran mid-morning, it gave Lauren and I the chance to head back into the tranquil surroundings of the Decleor Spa.
On this occasion I plumped for a half-and-half treatment an aroma back relief and aroma time precious facial. A robe, slippers and towel are provided.
For those looking for a special spa day this hour-long treatment, as well as full use of the leisure facilities and a light lunch in the spa caf, would set you back £80 (Mon-Thurs) and £99 (Fri-Sun).
Not exactly what you would describe as a modern-day man, I might have been more inclined to forego the spa and spend a relaxing (aka Lauren-free) hour watching Sky Sports in the hotel bar and enjoying a refreshment or two.
But even for a sports nut like me I’m extremely glad I didn’t.
The part where I found my face covered in hot towels as I was given a scalp massage was, quite simply, out of this world. Lauren said the same of her first-ever experience of a hot stones massage.
And after our treatments we continued to escape from the stresses of day-to-day life by chilling out in the relaxation room.
As we drove away from the hotel after two wonderful days, we passed a sign at the end of the driveway. “Haste ye back.” We looked across at each other and smiled. Take it as read!
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