Spa review: Espa Modern Alchemy treatments launch at Fairmont, St Andrews

This is the first hotel in Scotland to offer these holistic wellness experiences
ESPA Modern AlchemyESPA Modern Alchemy
ESPA Modern Alchemy

Golf looks so tiring.

Watching the players swing the clubs, escaping from the bunkers and dragging the carts around, is exhausting to watch.

Thankfully, my eyes can take a break on a visit to the spa at the five-star Fairmont St Andrews, where you can use their course as much or as little as you like.

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I head straight to the spa, as they're the first hotel in Scotland to have launched ESPA’s new Modern Alchemy treatments. They say these are designed ‘to restore peace, power and balance’, using ‘ancient ancestral wisdom’. As well as making use of a new range of products, they utilise various tools, including jade rollers, sage and crystals.

Choose from The Modern Alchemy Harmonising Ritual or the Empowering Ritual, each of which is 90 minutes long. I go for the former, since I could definitely do with some harmonising, not only because I sound like a cat being throttled whenever I sing.

After I’ve spent a bit of time in their sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room, the therapist, Erin, takes me into one of the spa’s treatment rooms.

The experience starts with a foot ritual. This involves a cooling pink iridescent lotion being rubbed into my hot and puffy feet, before they’re dipped into a hammered copper bowl filled with warm water. I’m asked to choose a card from a deck, based on the colour or symbol that I’m attracted to, and I go for a dusky pink one, which says ‘strength and courage’ on it.

Erin leaves the room, so I can lie, face up, on the treatment table. When she comes back in, there’s a bit of guided deep breathing. My legs and arms are exposed, so I’m like a beached starfish, and a thick Anointing Oil, which contains hemp seed oil, among other ingredients, is applied to my limbs.

Now the kansa wand, which is used in Ayurvedic medicine, is deployed. This is made of wood, with a palm-sized copper and tin nib, which feels so smooth, almost like liquid, on the skin. It’s whisked, using figure of eight moves, across my legs and arms.

Sometimes, she presses the kansa wand’s base, which has a porous texture like eggshell, onto my soles.

Once I've turned over, there’s more of the same, though my abdomen is also gently rubbed in an anti-clockwise motion. My back and scalp are also traced with the wand, which is just a little bit ticklish, as the pressure remains gentle throughout, rather than the pummelling I usually request.

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At the end of the experience, I’m asked to think about the ‘strength and courage’ card, and I slowly regain full consciousness after a very hypnotic 90 minutes.

The stress of watching golf has just melted away.

The Modern Alchemy treatments are £180pp for 90 minutes. Additional day spa packages are available Monday to Sunday from £135pp which includes full use of the spa facilities, robes and slippers, a fruit smoothie or prosecco, call 01334 837 000 or see



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