Beauty review: Castle Thai Spa

The treatment
Spa Spy/Castle Thai Spa. Picture: ContributedSpa Spy/Castle Thai Spa. Picture: Contributed
Spa Spy/Castle Thai Spa. Picture: Contributed

A Thai Oil Massage for two at the basement level Castle Thai Spa 
(9a Castle Street, 0131-629 0794,, £100 for 60 minutes.

Why go?

There are very few places in Edinburgh where you can get a treatment alongside a buddy/partner. In fact, this spa is almost unique in that it has a couples room, with traditional Thai mats on the floor, so you can relax together (and, as I had my sister with me, try to suppress giggles as you listen to each other snoring/watch them being pummelled).

Our spy says

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The last time I was here, I had an amazing but rather intense Traditional Thai Massage, and it hurt to breathe/walk/exist for a few days afterwards.

This time, I’m in for the Thai Oil version, which, I’m assured, is a much less scary proposition. Using their warming Janjira Thai Lime and Ginger Oil, it’s a relaxing treatment that combines acupressure, stretches and long flowing strokes.

Lying face down on the mattress, with heads on little silken pillows and faces turned to the side, the experience starts with our masseurs applying their body weight to the back of our ribcages. This feels rather full-on, but seems to crack everything into place.

After this, I’m bracing myself for pain, especially as I’d asked for firm pressure. However, instead, there’s a relaxing full body rub down that lulls me into a semi-coma. Arms and legs are rolled and stretched and knots are popped. It’s especially heavenly when knuckles are used to rub the soles of my feet, and when my legs are folded so that the inner thighs can get some attention.

The final flourish, once my sister and I are sitting up, with towels wrapped around our bodies, is a Thai stretch that involves our therapists pressing on our backs with their feet, holding onto our wrists and pulling back our arms until we’re c-shaped (a bit like a reverse cat stretch).

The results

I’m no longer wearing my shoulders like earrings and my joints feel pleasingly lubricated and wobbly (the same feeling one gets after an especially intense yoga class). Also, as far as a day out with my sister goes, a visit to Castle Thai Spa felt like a pleasurable post-lunch and pre-shopping diversion right in the centre of town.