One of the best things about the spa experience is how secluded they are. The best ones are outside of the city, set in acres of rolling countryside, making your very presence there feel like a treat. A break from routine, and your workaday cares. A place thats very ethos is for you to relax.
One of the worst things about the spa experience? How bloody difficult they are to get to if you don’t have a car. And if you do have a car, well, how on earth do you expect to drink the champagne?
Yeah, I waited 12 years to get an invite to a spa day, and then I got two in the space of a fortnight. But my invite to review the Imperia spa at Gleddoch, just outside of Glasgow, was extra special because I was able to invite my mum along. And really, what’s the point in having a blog if you can’t treat your mum to a spa day?
The Gleddoch luxury hotel, spa resort and golf course is located near Langbank, on the border between Inverclyde and my native Renfrewshire. For public transport day trippers like ourselves, this created a bit of an issue: while the hotel is probably a 20 minute walk from the train station on a good day, our visit coincided with a torrential October storm. Langbank is a small town and doesn’t have a taxi company of its own, while Renfrewshire Cabs will only pick you up if they have a car in the area. Inverclyde Taxis were quick, reliable and have a free iPhone app for your booking convenience – the only problem is they add on a £5 surcharge for bookings which start and begin outside of their usual catchment area. In the circumstances, it was a small price to pay and didn’t put too much of a dampner (ha!) on our day.
Our arrival coincided with our booked treatments, so we were immediately whisked away to the Gleddoch’s spacious, airy treatment rooms to get ready. Despite being one of the most relaxed people I know, my mum decided to follow my lead and book a massage, and we opted to share the large treatment room. There, Nicole got to work on the shoulder-knots that had already redeveloped since my visit to the Westerwood, while Lauren and my mum chatted away while still managing to make time for a pretty decent massage.
The Gleddoch’s therapists use a combination of ELEMIS and ishga products for their face, body and massage treatments, so it was good to have a slightly different experience from my last massage. Nicole was incredibly skilled (did you know that one of my shoulders is slightly higher than the other? because I didn’t…) while Lauren was warm, friendly and completely receptive to my mum’s needs as a first-timer. Afterwards, we were led through to the dimly-lit relaxation room where we cuddled up on a bed and sent giggly selfies to my sister.
To get the full benefit of a massage you’re supposed to let the oils sink in as long as possible, but with both of us keen to get into the hotel’s lovely heated indoor pool we compromised and instead spent a bit of time relaxing on the spa’s heated day beds. These are located in perhaps the most attractive part of the spa complex, with expansive floor to ceiling windows and a view over the River Clyde towards Dumbarton Rock.
This is also the site of the spa’s outdoor hot tub, which was wisely covered up on our visit but which I’d imagine would be a gorgeous place from which to watch the sun go down in the summer months.
The leisure facilities at Gleddoch, use of which comes included with a booked day or half-day spa experience, also include a 17 metre heated indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room – and despite the last of these not being to either of our tastes, we made a point of trying them all. The pool, which is deep enough to appeal to “proper” swimmers while just shallow enough for those of us who are still learning, was ideally suited to an impromptu swimming lesson, and the broad-stepped ladder into the pool itself was particularly appreciated.
Shoutout too to the poolside showers, which are among the classiest-looking I have ever seen and which, of course, come equipped with ELEMIS products to ensure that you feel pampered even while you’re just rinsing off the chlorine.
Since my mum doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth – and also because it was early evening by this point – we decided to forgo the traditional afternoon tea accompaniment to a spa day in favour of a very late lunch – and champagne! In my case, that came in the form of a steak sandwich on ciabatta bread, while my mum happily tucked in to a tasty-looking cheeseburger.
Befitting the hotel’s luxury status, the food was delicious and the bar service second to none – with Jordan in particular going above and beyond for us despite us having to rush off in order to time our taxi/train departure correctly. A perfect end to a perfect afternoon.
Thanks to the Gleddoch Spa for our afternoon of pampering, and for use of the photos of the relaxation room and pool. All views are, as ever, my own and unbiased.