YOU can feel the stress ebbing away the minute you pull up to Portavadie marina and spa resort on the shores of Loch Fyne.
We arrived on a misty September afternoon after a two-hour drive from Glasgow, through the dramatic Argyll countryside.
There are many viewpoints along the way and stopping off to take pictures of the stunning scenery is all part of this getting-away-from-it-all experience.
After checking in at the main building we headed straight to the spa, a short stroll along a boardwalk, past the marina where impressive sail boats and cruisers bob gently in the man-made harbour.
The stylish complex houses saunas, steam rooms and Jacuzzis (outdoor and indoor), with a choice of relaxation areas where you can lounge in your fluffy robe whilst taking in the incredible views across Loch Fyne to the Isle of Arran beyond.
The jewel in the crown is the 80 square meter outdoor heated infinity pool.
Floating in the bath-warm water, listening to the ambient playlist, the vibe is more Ibiza than west coast of Scotland.
The spa offers a range of treatments using Decleor and seaweed-based Ishga from the Outer Hebrides.
I had a full-body aromatherapy massage while my mum opted for the Decleor facial which included a mini-massage.
We both loved our treatments at the hands of the experienced staff in the tranquil treatment rooms.
Feeling pampered and blissfully chilled, we had a lovely nap in our spotless lodge rooms, before heading to the main marina restaurant for dinner.
Built using glass, steel, stone and decorated in pale tones, the whole resort has a cool Scandinavian feel, which is continued in the bar and dining area.
The floor-to-ceiling glass windows affords every table a view of the marina and mood lighting creates a cosy atmosphere inside.
The restaurant has recently been awarded two AA Rosettes and has a brilliant selection of fresh locally-sourced seafood and produce.
I had the organic Scottish salmon with horse radish mash which was a generous sized portion and tasted delicious. My mum opted for the slow cooked “McDuff beef” with hand-cut chips which was equally moreish.
The service throughout our overnight stay was impeccable, with attentive, friendly staff on hand to take care of our every need.
You can see why Portavadie is a popular destination for a romantic weekend and I’m not surprised to hear from its manager, Stephen McCafferty, that they’ve seen a few proposals over the years. Visitors often come back to celebrate their anniversary and the resort has recently added a secluded cottage, aptly named The Hideaway, where couples can enjoy a cosy retreat complete with their very own outdoor hot tub and wood-burning stove.
Portavadie is also an ideal base for an active break. Known as Argyll’s Secret Coast, this area is great for outdoor activities from cycling forest tracks to walking coastal paths. Hire a bike or kayak or charter a yacht and explore the coastline. You might see deer, golden eagles, allusive red squirrels and even basking sharks while you are out and about.
You can also catch the ferry from Portavadie to the other side of the loch to Tarbert where you can explore Kintyre and discover the Neolithic and Bronze Age remains at Kilmartin Glen.
We felt we had discovered a hidden gem and we didn’t want to join the real world once our stay was over. With so much left to explore, we will definitely be back soon.
Day spa packages start at £91 per person and include full use of the facilities plus one 55-minute treatment from the provided menu.
An overnight stay for two in a Lodge Standard Room, including full Scottish breakfast, a 25-minute treatment and access to Leisure & Spa Experiences start at £209.
Visit www.portavdie.com or call 01700 811075
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