With the leaves changing colour, the colder climes setting in and the daylight hours getting shorter, autumn is the perfect time of year to think about winding down and taking some time out to relax.
Summer is a distant memory. The time has come to pack away the shorts and sandals and dig out those winter knits and cosy coats.
But don’t shelve your swimsuit just yet.
With the Christmas craziness just round the corner, these next few months are prime time for relaxing, recharging and indulging in some pure pampering.
Scotland is awash with stunning spas, whether within city centres for an afternoon of chill time or further out in the countryside if you prefer to make a weekend of it.
We checked out some of the best across the country, designed to soothe away all those stresses and strains and leave you feeling on top of the world…
Macdonald Inchyra Hotel, Falkirk
Despite being located just 30 minutes from both Glasgow and Edinburgh, this welcoming getaway makes you feel instantly disconnected from the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life.
I visited recently for an overnight stay with a friend and, once we were tucked up inside our fluffy robes, lounging beside the 20-metre swimming pool, we didn’t have a care in the world.
As well as full use of the facilities including sauna and steam rooms, we enjoyed an hour-long full-body massage with luxurious Elemis products.
The therapist was one of the best I’ve ever experienced, making sure to check the pressure throughout. Simply bliss.
Afterwards, the quiet, dark after-treatment room was the perfect place to unwind.
Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow
The purple mood lighting in the Blythswood’s basement spa brings a feeling of calm and relaxation and you’ll find yourself so well looked after you’ll feel like one of the celebrities who have donned a robe and slippers here.
The Thermal Experience is a series of rooms that will take you on a journey through wet and dry, warm and cold. Alternating between hot saunas and steam rooms and chilly ice fountains and cold showers has therapeutic benefits. It apparently increases blood flow, speeds up healing and improves your mood as well as being good for your skin, so I braved the cold fountains too.
The reward at the end was a back, neck and shoulder massage with Ishga products, which certainly helped get rid of the stresses and strains.
And the relaxation room was so peaceful, I fell asleep..
Knock Castle, Crieff
I decided to opt for the castle’s signature Pinks Boutique Eco Chic Facial. This combines a gentle exfoliation treatment with a green clay and camellia-based face melt, plus a relaxing face, neck and shoulder massage.
I asked for the massage to be medium pressure as my neck can often get tight from sitting at a desk during the week, and this instantly helped to loosen any knots.
Once I was suitably relaxed, the green clay and camellia melt, otherwise known as a cleansing anti-oxidant face mask, was applied to my face to help open pores further and create a smooth texture.
Next, warm pads were placed over my eyes which nearly sent me to sleep!
Once my treatment was over, the therapist offered use of the heated pool, sauna and jacuzzi, which has views of the surrounding greenery.
A fabulous, relaxing experience.
Stobo Castle, Peeblesshire
As soon as I slipped on the famous Stobo dressing gown and slippers I felt the tension in my shoulders starting to lift. Miraculous.
The view looking out over the immaculate grounds of the castle, with rolling hills in the background was beautiful.
Once firmly stationed on a bed of bubbles in the hydropool, any anxiety I had started to ease. I think I went into a trance, waking only when the bubbles stopped to sleepily reach behind me, never once opening my eyes, and hit the button to release more bubbles again.
I contemplated being active and doing a couple of lengths or hitting the gym but decided instead to lie on one of the sun loungers stationed at the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The heat coming from the pool, the gentle background sounds of the spa and the hypnotic scenery made it impossible to keep my eyes open.
Sheraton Grand, Edinburgh
With an iconic rooftop pool offering views of the capital, this spa is a delight. Chill in the laconium, the hot air hammam room or the tepidarium. The Himalayan salt room is worth a selfie when lit up in pink.
Old Course Hotel, St Andrews
This is the first Kohler spa experience outside the USA which relies on the theory that our bodies are in essence, water. And it is with water that Kohler believes we can restore and replenish them. An interesting concept and a pretty spa.
The Spa at Gleneagles has been designated a Luxury Spa Resort by the Leading Hotels of the World group – the only spa in Scotland with this honour. A real treat if you want to relax, invigorate and rejuvenate both the body and the mind.
The Gin Spa, Glasgow
Inspired by the botanicals used in everyone’s favourite tipple, this award-winning day spa offers facials, massages, manicures, body treatment and packages. Each treatment includes a complimentary gin and tonic!