Good Housekeeping - The best spa hotels in Scotland for top-notch pampering

Posted on 30 April, 2024

Image by Olya Lolé from Pixabay

Written by Caroline Lewis for Good Housekeeping

A pampering spa holiday is the perfect treat, and if you’re hoping to visit the spectacular countryside or scenic cities north of the border this year, we have the perfect spa hotel in Scotland for you.

If you've tried the spa hotels in the Cotswolds and love a city spa break in London, you'll want to know all about Scotland's impressive spa sanctuaries for a soothing escape.

There’s no better way to relax with your partner or a group of friends than an indulgent spa break – and in Scotland, the spas come with a backdrop of beautiful countryside. There are also some excellent spas in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where you can soak up the city skyscape from a rooftop pool.


At Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, for example, you can lie back and enjoy a view of the city from the heated comfort of the hydropool on the rooftop.

Then there’s the globally renowned Gleneagles, a destination hotel that likes to call itself ‘Scotland’s playground’; it won’t take you long to see why, especially once you’ve visited the mega spa.

Or, book in for a restorative retreat with a few rounds of golf on the side at Old Course Hotel, Machrie Hotel & Golf Links or Fairmont St Andrews.

Here’s our edit of the best spa hotels in Scotland for the ultimate relaxing staycation

1. Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

A spa hotel in Scotland with a showpiece hydropool on its rooftop, Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa also has a 19-metre indoor pool, fitness studio and thermal suite, which has a range of salt- water- and heat-based experiences to aid your relaxation. Treatments include body wraps and scrubs, couple’s options and facials, and there’s a selection of Ayurvedic rituals, too.

Visitors can also book in with a fitness counsellor, or try one of the special hair and scalp treatments. There may be a hectic city outside, but you won’t know it by the fire in the relaxation area, where the loungers are under-lit with a soothing magenta glow.


2. Fonab Castle Hotel, Pitlochry

Enjoy being pampered with a backdrop of the Perthshire Highlands at this historic hotel, set within Fonab Castle, a grand baronial pile built in 1892 that was used by the British Red Cross during the First World War.

Convalescence continues today at the aptly named Woodland Spa, which has a 15-metre pool inside, along with an outdoor hot tub and pool. Loch Faskally is right outside and you’ll be able to enjoy views of Ben Vrackie, too. And when you’re finally ready to expend a little more energy than the average spa visit entails, activities available include white-water rafting, canyoning, fishing and Highland safaris in a Land Rover.

3. Auchrannie, Brodick

Take getting away from it all to the next level with a spa break on the Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland. At Auchrannie, guests can choose from pick ’n’ mix treatments – the Island Getaway, for example, includes your pick of three 25-minute rituals, or indulge with the Island Retreat and enjoy two 50-minute slots.

The spa menu covers a list of signature Ishga treatments, so you can experience the benefits of Hebridean seaweed; or try a glow-giving ESPA facial. More unusual therapies on offer include massages performed with warm bamboo.

4. Portavadie Loch Fyne, Argyll and Bute

On the banks of Loch Fyne, this spa hotel has a 16-metre indoor pool, assorted outdoor spa pools and one of the biggest heated outdoor infinity pools in all of Scotland. Portavadie Loch Fyne is a great choice for families – toddlers will love the pool for younger children, which has some fun water features.

There’s also a Scandinavian sauna, steam room and relaxation space with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame a view out across Loch Fyne and over to the Isle of Arran. The glass, steel and stone spa blends seamlessly with its surroundings, with an eco-friendly energy system in place, to ensure all that natural beauty is preserved.

5. Cameron House, Loch Lomond

This historic hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond heralds a new era of Timorous Beasties soft furnishings and wallpaper you’ll want to redo your own walls with. At Cameron House's spa, a short drive away (to which the tartan-trouser-wearing drivers will happily transport you), there’s a thermal circuit that includes a sauna, experience showers and ice fountain, a 20-metre indoor pool and, the undoubted star of the show, the heated rooftop infinity pool, from where you can enjoy the beautiful backdrop, regardless of the temperature.

At the café, you’ll be able to keep the wellbeing going with delicious, healthy lunches, such as poached chicken with red onion salsa and pak choi, and, of course, some perfect smoked salmon.


6. Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow

One of the finest luxury hotels in Glasgow, Kimpton Blythswood Square is also home to one of the city’s best spas. Work your way through the thermal experience, which alternates between hot and cold, wet and dry, all with the therapeutic aim of improving your mood.

The treatment list covers both results-driven and more holistic options, with some using products by Ishga, a brand based in the Outer Hebrides. For the ultimate indulgence, book in for a spa day and enjoy an hour and a half in the thermal area, a 55-minute treatment and then lunch or afternoon tea in the spa lounge.


7. Dalhousie Castle, Bonnyrigg

This fairy-tale castle – just a few miles away from Edinburgh – has a spa that will make anyone feel like a princess. The 11 private acres span parkland, wooded valleys and one of the oldest inhabited castles in Scotland. Spa treatments at Dalhousie Castle use the holistic vegan line Ytsara, and facilities include a Roman laconium, a hydro-pool, Kneipp foot baths and experience showers that will let you flit between tropical rain and cold fog.

Continue the wellbeing with a dram of whisky in the oak-panelled library, or get out into the great outdoors for a little falconry or archery.

8. The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa, Aberdeen

At this Aberdeen hotel, spa packages include indulgent four-hour combinations of a full-body exfoliation, a facial and a massage, followed by a mani-pedi; or a hot-stone Indian head massage with a mini facial and foot ritual with thermal boots.

For the pampering to continue, make sure you book the overnight package at The Marcliffe Hotel: a room with dinner, bed and breakfast, with either a full-body volcanic scrub or massage, and a back, neck and shoulder massage – with the added bonus of a late check-out, especially helpful since you’re most likely to be drifting along behind schedule.

9. Inglewood House, Stirling

A listed Jacobean mansion set on 25 acres near Stirling, Inglewood House was completed in 1901 for a woollen-yarn magnate and his fortunate family. Today, the former private dwelling is open to the rest of us, to enjoy its restored conservatory, elaborate interiors and lodges in the woods. At the spa, visitors can warm up in the alfresco hot tub, book in for an ESPA treatment and relax on a tiled hot-bed.

The town of Alloa is 10 minutes away from Stirling and both Edinburgh and Glasgow can be reached within an hour’s drive – the estate is a great base for exploring central Scotland and the Fife coast.

10. Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa, Inveraray

The already acclaimed spa at this Loch Fyne lodge has recently been refurbished, which means that it’s now better than ever – with the view from the indoor pool and outdoor hot tub just as magical. Spa experiences can be tailored to each guest, with seaweed-based products coming straight from the Hebrides.

The Loch View Bar, unsurprisingly, has some wonderful views to enjoy over a whisky. The hotel is perfectly placed to explore the west coast of Scotland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and Argyll and Bute – or stay put with a spa treatment followed by afternoon tea.

11. The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder

It’s inevitable that a hotel that bills itself as ‘Scotland’s playground’ should have such an expansive spa, and one that you’ll definitely want to retreat to after days out adventuring with the falcons, hunting dogs, clay-pigeons and zip-lines. At Gleneagles' spa, there are several treatment rooms and a Dr Barbara Sturm studio for miracle-working facials.

Treatments make use of the natural bounty on the estate’s doorstep, with wild heather and herbs incorporated into the rituals. And if you haven’t indulged enough, Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles – Scotland’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant – awaits for afterwards.


12. The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

The Rocco Fortes are experts in hotels, interior design and now bath products, since Irene Forte has created her own line of organic skincare, most of the ingredients for which are grown on the family’s Sicilian farm. Luckily for visitors to Edinburgh, the sunshine of the Med is brought to you in Scotland with transportive treatments at The Balmoral, such as ‘Time in the Med’: a welcome foot bath, followed by a two-hour treatment planned with your Irene Forte skincare therapist, ending with a glass of Sicilian lemonade.

You’ll want to stick around to enjoy the hotel – some of the rooms overlook the castle, and there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant, Parisian-style brasserie and daily afternoon teas.


13. Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Argyll and Bute

This spa hotel and golf course is on the Isle of Islay, the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides in Argyll and Bute – and the local Hebridean seaweed is put to good use in the treatments. This organic ingredient contains natural antioxidants with anti-ageing properties. Treatments on offer at Machrie Hotel include massages and facials.

There are lots of lounges to relax in after your spa day, including a deck at the water’s edge and a high-ceilinged space with a fireplace and huge windows showcasing the surrounding countryside.

14. Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, St Andrews

The Old Course Hotel is home to the only Kohler Waters Spa outside of America, with 13 treatment rooms, a 20-metre indoor pool, an ice fountain and a series of experience showers. Book in for a bathing experience in one of the wet treatment rooms, a Himalayan salt scrub or a ritual involving lava particles.

Handily for anyone coming to golf and spa, there are several treatments on the spa menu specially designed for golfers. Guests can really make a day of it, since the spa is open from 6.30am to 9pm, with a café on-site for healthy lunches of soups and salads.

15. Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island, Argyll and Bute

The spa at the Isle of Eriska Hotel near Oban champions the British brands Ishga – which is handmade in the Hebrides – and ESPA. It’s set in the former stables, reached by a path through the garden. Of the five treatment rooms, three have been created to immerse you in the woodlands around the estate, and two celebrate the surrounding shores.

The ultimate accommodation choice for spa lovers is a spa suite in the stables, each of which has its own hot tub. The loch-facing Hilltop Reserves have their own hot tub, too; or stay within the main house, which was built in 1884, for four-poster beds, fireplaces and roll-top bath tubs.


16. Fairmont St Andrews, St Andrews

As with most spa hotels in Scotland, the Fairmont St Andrews combines a beautiful backdrop with a golf course and excellent wellbeing facilities. The 520-acre coastal estate overlooks St Andrews and the North Sea.

At the spa, there are 10 treatment rooms, a nail salon and treatments on offer by brands including Ishga and ESPA. Book in for a seaweed wrap of a nourishing facial. Spa days start with a glass of prosecco, and lots of treatment combinations are possible.

17. Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, Isle of Mull

In the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa lies on the east coast of the island, close to the Craignure ferry terminal. You’ll be able to enjoy fine Scottish produce at the restaurant, which has an uplifting view of the coast, and stroll down the wooden boardwalks to the small beach.

At the Driftwood Spa, facilities include a rasul mud chamber, a swimming pool and an outdoor hot tub overlooking the sea. Fittingly, the treatments use acclaimed homegrown brand Ishga, which has Scottish seaweed as a key ingredient.


18. SCHLOSS Roxburghe, Kelso

Over in the Scottish Borders, equally easily reached from both Newcastle and Edinburgh, SCHLOSS Roxburghe has an impressive outdoor spa. The 1,100-square-metre space features a heated infinity pool in the grounds, indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, a fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows framing the landscaped gardens, and two saunas, one Finnish, the other aromatic.

Naturally, given the location, there are treatments created specifically for golfers, or sign up for a hot-stone massage. Elsewhere on the 300-acre estate, guests can enjoy fly-fishing, clay-pigeon shooting, cycling and croquet.


19. Marine Troon, Ayrshire

You’ll find Marine Troon along the beautiful Ayrshire coast, surrounded by world-class golf courses. As with many spa hotels in Scotland, the brand partner of choice for treatments is the beloved local brand Ishga.

There are sauna and steam facilities, and a squash court, too. The pool overlooks the scenic surroundings; at dinner, you can admire the links instead. For further invigoration after your trip to the spa, set off on a bracing coastal walk.

20. Trump Turnberry, Ayrshire

Just down the coast from Troon, Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire is another great choice for spa seekers who also enjoy golf – the resort is home to some especially attractive links. The estate spans a vast 800 acres of scenic Scottish countryside.

The spa has a heated infinity pool, from where you can gaze out to the Isle of Arran and the iconic Ailsa Craig. The sauna, too, has a view – with full-length windows helping to show them off. Other spa facilities include an ice fountain, a sensory shower and a steam room.

To read the original article written by Caroline Lewis for Good Housekeeping, including images of each location, please visit:


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