As we followed the meandering country roads that would lead us to Stobo Castle in Peeblesshire, the transition from stressful city life to uninterrupted relaxation was already taking place.
Just an hour from Edinburgh, the hotel is still far enough from Scotland’s big cities to give a sense of escape and total immersion.
Pulling up outside the 200-year-old castle, you can’t fail to be impressed by its grandeur and the impressive conversion of its courtyard area to become a contemporary spa which includes gym, saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, 25-metre infinity pool and hydrotherapy pool.
My husband and I were booked in for the Stobo Spa Day, which included unlimited use of the spa, two 25-minute pampering treatments and a three-course lunch.
On arrival, we were issued with white towelling robes and slippers.
Within the spa, you are welcome to wear your robe throughout the day, and you can seamlessly move from treatment rooms to dining and thermal experiences without having to think about what to wear.
Once changed, we headed for the three outdoor hot tubs, each offering charming views over the surrounding countryside – the perfect start to our spa day.
Next we went for a swim in the indoor infinity pool which is ozone-treated, a system designed to create clear water without the harsh chemicals. The combination of the ozone-treated water paired with a really pleasant temperature made for the ideal swim.
After that we dried off, popped on our robes and slippers and headed to the central atrium, where there is a cluster of comfortable sofas on which you can enjoy a drink while you wait for your next appointment, or just enjoy some downtime.
I had opted for a back, neck and shoulders massage together with a ZenSpa foot treatment and was called exactly on time by my therapist, Emma.
It was great to switch off and enjoy the feel of my stiff muscles being worked on.
I was taken into the nail salon for my second treatment, where I had my feet filed and massaged with a microdermabrasion scrub before being soaked, then couched in warming slippers which left me in the most relaxed state possible.
Silkening lotion was massaged into my feet which felt suitably smooth by the time I put them back into my spa slippers and headed to the atrium to meet my husband for lunch.
Surrounded by others in their white robes, we didn’t feel at all out of place seated in the more formal dining room where we ordered a deliciously warming sweet potato soup to start, then the cold salad buffet which was both tasty and nourishing.
In the afternoon we were free to enjoy the pool and thermal experiences, first spending time in the sauna, where the dry heat felt exquisite after a winter of battling the elements.
The mosaic-tiled steam room had a luxurious feel, and I found myself revisiting it several times over the afternoon.
We also made the most of the sizeable hydrotherapy pool with swan fountains jetting water on either side for an instant neck and shoulder massage, and loungers that you can lie on for a full-body air massage.
We spent our time in the shared facilities, but there are female-only spa areas in the Ladies Health Suite which includes an aromatic steam room and experience showers.
We nodded off on the pool loungers overlooking the grounds where rabbits gently hopped by in front of us and the world of work and hectic schedules felt a million miles away.
Then, to round off a perfect day, we got dressed and took a wander through the Japanese Water Gardens within the beautiful grounds.
We stopped in the afternoon sunshine to admire the waterfall and the deep greens of the shrubs and trees around us.
Once back in the warmth of the spa atrium, we finished a blissful day with a latte from the little coffee shop which sits within the central hub area, and sells a nice selection of healthy and slightly more indulgent snacks too.
We arrived home an hour later, rested, refreshed and certain of a good night’s sleep.
Spa Day packages at Stobo start from £115pp for a Relaxing Spa Day, including water massage, express facial and lunch. The Stobo Spa Day is priced from £140pp.
For more, visit stobocastle.co.uk or call 01721 725 300.
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