A massage at Isle of Eriska spa to untangle the toughest knots

Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island
Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island
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DAVID Rosenthal converts to the power of massage after a trip to the Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island

The treatment

The Invigorating Ishga Massage, £67 for one hour, at the Stable Spa, Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island, Benderloch, Oban.

Why go?

The Isle of Eriska resort near Oban is a skip over the bridge that joins it to the mainland. There are 300 acres of five-star serenity, Michelin-starred scran, nine holes of golf and, set apart from the main house, recently refurbished garden suites with hot tubs. The Stables Spa and swimming pool, located in the former stables, only makes this A-list experience more deluxe.

Our spy says

For someone who was a virtual newcomer to the world of massage, this was a conversion moment. The French masseuse began with what she called a “welcome touch” – a soothing lemongrass scrub for the feet. The products were from the Ishga range (though the spa also offers ESPA treatments), which uses hand-harvested Hebridean seaweed to create 100 per cent organic oils with a raft of health properties. After this soothing aperitif, mind and body were prepared for what was to come – a mix of traditional Swedish massage, which is gentle and aimed at relaxation, and deep tissue massage, which means strong pressure sometimes using a fist or full arm. So, once on the bench, there were moments where I felt completely weightless, lulled into an almost hypnogogic state. Then there were other moments that were even better. I gasped as the masseuse worked reef knots out of my shoulders and turned my calves to jelly. “Keep going,” I mumbled, “this is the good pain.”

Over the course of the hour, I could feel the computer neck, the office back, in fact the whole spine, untwisting.

I was left feeling like a length of elastic.

The results

Just as zen was the post-massage comedown. Wrapped in a towelling robe, you are led to a sun lounge, handed a little cup of sorbet and left to gaze out at the Morven hills across Loch Linnhe. It gives muscles the chance to recover. Fabulous. 


• Stable Spa, Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island, Benderloch, Oban, 01631 720802, www.eriska-hotel.co.uk/spa-0