Travel: Stobo Castle, Peebleshire
ORIGINALLY built in 1805, Stobo Castle is nestled in the beautiful Scottish Borders countryside, in the former county of Peeblesshire. The Manor of Stobo was originally owned by the Balfour family and has evolved through the years into what is now Scotland’s most renowned spa destination.
Purchased in 1975 by the Winyard family, it has recently gone through its biggest transformation to date. A vast extension incorporates several new hotel rooms and a spa complex, which was opened in 2003.
The new state of the art spa boasts Scotland’s only 25m Ozone Pool, hydrospa, Serailbad mud room, gymnasium and 40 treatment rooms.
WINING AND DINING?
Diners are split between three tasteful dining rooms – with the option of sharing a large table and meeting fellow spa-goers or choosing to sit with your own company. Menus are simple, with a limited choice, but what we had was delicious and healthy without leaving us feeling deprived. Despite being a health spa, there is no restriction on alcohol and you can enjoy a desert without feeling guilty. Produce is locally sourced and dishes are designed to be packed with flavour and highly nutritious. There is also a Piazza-style coffee shop and juice bar in the spa courtyard.
We were fortunate enough to be staying in Stobo’s renowned Cashmere suite – so-called as the walls are opulently lined with the beautiful fabric sourced form Holland & Sherry in Peebles – with its warm terracotta-hued living room being and claret-coloured bedroom. There has been no expense spared throughout the entire suite (formerly the swimming pool), which is split into three rooms by sliding doors. At one end, the marble bathroom is stocked with Molton Brown toiletries and an abundance of towels (and no guilt-inducing ‘save the environment, please consider how many towels you need to use’ signs anywhere). An integrated TV added a techie touch, to be enjoyed while bathing in the enormous freestanding limestone bath, located slap-bang in the middle of the room. Jack and Jill sinks, a separate WC room and shower cubical with water jets flying everywhere rounded off the most decadent of en-suites.
The lounge was also a showstopper. Paintings by Scottish artist Deirdre Edwards, a rich, warm palette and traditional furniture created a tranquil atmosphere, with silk curtains complimenting the warm cashmere throws throughout. A private terrace looking out on the beautiful grounds, and parking, were also a nice touch.
The bedroom had two elegant and comfy Italian four-posters, each with a flatscreen TV. An adjoining dressing room kept the bedroom clutter-free and restful.
WORTH GETTING OUT OF BED FOR?
If you can tear yourself away from the endless spa treatments on offer, it’s worth taking a walk to the nearby Japanese Water Gardens, where cascading water, lush plant life and classic Oriental landscaping combine to create an overwhelming – and very welcome – sense of peace.
BUDGET OR BOUTIQUE?
The Cashmere suite doesn’t come cheap but is worth every penny – there are few places in Scotland that can rival such opulence. The spa has regularly changing deals and offers available to suit most budgets. It’s worth checking the website for details.
Top-notch bathrobes, slippers and the choice of so many luxurious Molton Brown smellies were all much-enjoyed extras. As were the Stobo chocolates and fresh fruit bowl, not to mention the complimentary bottle of Bollinger champagne.
If you can afford to push the boat out, go for the Cashmere suite. The spa offers a comprehensive array of treatments and if you decide to book additional ones on the day, staff will try hard to accommodate you. Stobo excels in comfort and relaxation, so you’re guaranteed to feel pampered.
• Stobo Castle Health Spa, Stobo, Peeblesshire (01721 725300, www.stobocastle.co.uk)
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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