When Stobo Castle goes for luxury they certainly don’t cut corners. So perhaps that is why this haven of good living and healthy Travels is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. And the beautiful Cashmere Suite is just about as good as it gets. Spacious, tasteful, soothing and romantic, no detail has been spared. From the Molton Brown toiletries to the underfloor heating to the paintings by Scottish artists, you can sit back and try to imagine living in such luxury – even if only for a day or two.
But Stobo doesn’t have to cost the earth and, even if the Cashmere Suite isn’t on the budget for a while, anyone who visits there can be assured of a warm welcome, a relaxing experience, good food and elegant, beautifully decorated rooms. They also know that, this being Scotland’s only residential destination spa, they will not be disturbed by any noisy wedding parties or corporate conferences.
As soon as your car turns into the long gravel driveway and crunches to a stop in front of the porticoed entrance, you know you can forget your cares for a few hours and leave the world behind.
Unfortunately we had just one night to spend at Stobo and, although it was very tempting to loll around in our luxury suite for the duration, it was time for some serious business.
A full body candle massage and facial was just the thing to recover from our long drive and so, after donning a fluffy dressing gown, it was time to enter the world of soft lighting and fragrant air that is the spa.
I was assured that having hot candle wax dripped all over me was actually a good thing – and after an hour I had to agree that indeed it was. Truly one of the most calming treatments I have ever experienced.
More relaxation was then in order but where to do it? In the specially appointed rooms, supplied with mineral water and bowls of fruit? Or by the side of the enormous indoor swimming pool with its huge windows overlooking the lawns? Or perhaps in one of the outdoor hot tubs whose canopy of sparkling lights make a pretty sight as the evening draws on?
Before long it is time for dinner in one of the two lovely dining rooms. Being the relaxed friendly place it is, solo guests can opt to sit with others or can choose a bit of splendid isolation – whatever they feel like.
When Stobo first opened in the 1970s, the fashions for health spas were different. Then it was all about starvation and calorie counting – now the focus is on wellness and healthy living. And the dinner menus reflect that.
So after a dinner of feta cheese salad, baked salmon and cheese and biscuits, it was time for coffee in the drawing room and some civilised conversation with the other guests.
What people want from their little piece of time out varies widely and Stobo makes sure that all tastes are catered for. If you want to loll around in splendid surroundings for a couple of days, then great. If you want to go on walks in the stunning countryside outside the door, that can be organised, as can bike hire and tennis matches on the hotel’s
A stroll down the drive takes you to the beautiful Japanese Gardens, whose intricate pathways and tumbling waterfalls bring relaxation of a different kind.
Every day a timetable of gym, yoga and aqua activities is posted – take your pick and enjoy. Or just go to the exercise studio for your own workout in your own time.
Owner Stephen Winyard said: “Stobo’s evolution from what was basically a derelict property has been remarkable. My mother had a vision that it could become a health farm at a time when such places were virtually unheard of.”
Now a big local employer, Stobo supports 360 charities including the Musselburgh Ladies Day and other community projects.
Yet they never stop upgrading, developing and innovating and are looking forward to the next 40 years with confidence. And I’ll certainly drink to that.
Source : EXPRESS