W Hotel's Away Spa: the Earth massage proves that heaven is in Edinburgh's St James Quarter

The spa also includes an Elements Suite
Spa reception at W HotelSpa reception at W Hotel
Spa reception at W Hotel

I think it was Belinda Carlisle who sang that heaven is a place on earth.

To be more specific, I’d say it’s in the new W Hotel’s Away Spa.

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I’m there to try their 90-minute Earth treatment in one of their elemental-themed rooms, which also include Air, Fire and Water.

As part of this experience, I’m lying on a bed of heated rose quartz sand. It feels a bit like a bean bag, except warm, and is rather lovely.

This full body massage, using beauty brand Comfort Zone’s Tranquility Oil, with sweet orange, Damascus rose and cedarwood, starts on my back, and therapist Carly, uses sinuous moves with forearms, knuckles and fingers. She also deploys lozenge-shaped warmed Himalayan salt stones, which have a pleasingly granular and grippy texture.

Next she moves onto my legs - usually my least favourite part of a massage - but this is totally gorgeous. She stretches my muscles and leans into the rigid bits.

Once I've turned over, an oaty heated mask is placed over my eyes, and the front of my legs, arms and decollete are worked on. Then there’s a glorious scalp massage, and she switches on the magic bed. It rolls across my back, from underneath. Magic! Apparently, in the Water room, they have a waterbed version of this.

Afterwards, I’m led along their pink lit corridor, to linger in their Elements Spa Suite, which can be booked as an hour-long add-on or on its own. It includes an infrared sauna, a Jacuzzi and an experience shower, which sprays a minty-scented cooling mist. This space adjoins their couples treatment rooms, which Carly says has been hugely popular since they opened.

While you’re in the spa, it’s hard to work out where you are in the W building. At one point, I peep out of the curtain, and see the inside of St James Quarter. You’d never know there were so many people nearby, it’s so quiet and cocoon-like in here. Heaven is a place in a shopping quarter. Who would have guessed.

Earth treatment, 90 minutes for £180; use of Elements Spa Suite, £55pp at the Away Spa, W Hotel, 1 St James Square, Edinburgh (0131 287 1455, www.marriott.com)



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