Blythswood Spa opens - we try Glasgow's Hebridean island inspired retreat
I’m doing a Hebridean island hop.
At Glasgow’s refurbished Blythswood Spa, which reopened last month, there’s a map inside my locker. I’ll be travelling from Flodaigh to Soay, then Jura and onto nine other destinations, before ending up at Hirta.
If this was a real journey, it’d be exhausting. Instead, I’m going to achieve total relaxation (there are alternative itineraries if you want to invigorate, recover or detox) in 80 minutes, as each of these islands is the name of a thermal therapy at this destination. The document also includes advice on how long to spend in each, from two to 10 minutes.
On my visit, I’m glad to see that, after spending seven-figures on changes, they’ve retained the great things about Blythswood Spa, but added a bit extra.
I start in their vitality pool, aka Flodaigh. I also visit the new Staffa Himalayan Salt Room, with its pink brick walls, and the Erraid tepidarium, where smooth heated loungers are lit from beneath. This is interspersed with some time-out on their new canopied day beds.
I stick to their plan, including, gulp, a visit to Fara - Scotland’s first snow shower. It’s a cubicle that’s lined by back-lit images of pine forests. The snow comes from a portal above, and you can grab handfuls of it to rub across your skin. It feels less harsh than ice, but is still an effective cool down.
My spa experience concludes with one of their new treatments. I’m trying 80-minutes of Ishga Sound Therapy, which features a sound composition by wellness brand, Swell.
As therapist Kimberley, presses and stretches my muscles, there are beach sounds, then, when we move onto the salt scrub, you can hear waves rushing against the shingle. After the scrub is towelled off and your back is spritzed with a cool toner, the experience segues onto a back, neck and shoulder massage, using hot stones as well as hands, knuckles and rolling movements with forearms, and a thick seaweed–infused oil.
This is accompanied by electronic music, with white noise and seaside sounds that send you into a completely zoned-out space.
While this plays, Kimberley gets on with my mini facial, which incorporates lifting massage and a mask, plus a soporific hot oil scalp massage. This extends from behind the ear to the tips of the shoulders, and I’m so zonked that I’m practically drooling.
The visit finishes when I’m dropped off in their new relaxation lounge, where a screen plays dramatic drone images of the Hebridean coast. I feel like I’ve found my island paradise, except it’s in the centre of Glasgow.
Ishga Sound Therapy starts from £129 for 80 minutes at Blythswood Spa, Kimpton Blythswood Square, 11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow (0141 240 1622, www.kimptonblythswoodsquare.com). The Blythswood Spa Day starts from £215 and includes an 80-minute treatment, two hours use of the spa and a two-course lunch in the hotel’s seafood restaurant, iasg.
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