Travel: Stobo Castle

Stobo Castle.
Stobo Castle.
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As Scotland’s only destination spa Stobo Castle celebrates its 40th birthday this month, here are 10 reasons to book in to the Borders resort.

1) The treatments

The Spa Courtyard.

The Spa Courtyard.

There are so many to choose from including a range from Neom, Phytomer and Caudalie, but one of the most popular must be the Top to Toe Face and Body Glow from Stobo’s signature treatments menu which incorporates a full body exfoliation as well as an Express and Glow facial. Or if it’s a de-stressing experience you are looking for, try the full body massage to iron out all those troublesome knots.

2) The rooms

At its launch in 1978 there were just 16 bedrooms with shared avocado bathroom suites.

Today there’s every possible combination from singles to triples and even two lodges so you can find something to suit your party whether you are temporarily checking out of the rat race, on a solo sojourn or one of five giggly hens.

The 25m Ozone pool.

The 25m Ozone pool.

3) The food

In the early days of its health farm incarnation Stobo weighed guests on arrival and meals were calorie counted. Thankfully times have changed and the eating experience at Stobo is now almost as much of a draw as the treatments. Threre are three dining rooms and you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner in your robe, should you wish. The desserts are amazing – especially the dark chocolate cup with white chocolate and ginger, and the sticky toffee pudding. It’s fine – just take the aqua fit class in the morning.

4) The ground floor toilet facilities

This is like no ladies restroom you have ever visited before. There’s a lovely lounge area for starters with linen velvet embroidered fabric on the walls and stylish textured soft furnishings, pulled together by regular Stobo designer Lizzie Bell. With a wash and blow dry function in the loos – understood to be a first for Scotland – expect hysteria from the neigbouring stall as confusion reigns and they push all the buttons at once.

5) The Cashmere Suite

Probably the swankiest hotel room in Scotland when it was launched in 2004, a night in this twin double suite with a beautiful patio and views across the grounds, is still a luxurious experience today. Product junkies will be in their element – you can choose from the entire range of Molton Brown’s oeuvre. Slosh some of those fabulous potions into the suite’s famously giant limestone bath, installed at a cost of around £10,000 and weighing over a ton.

6) The pleasure of swanning around in a white bathrobe when everyone else is at work

This value of this as part of the Stobo experience cannot be underestimated. As you toddle from aromatic steam room to laconium to outdoor hot tub, you’ll find yourself beaming inanely at walls and fellow spa-goers alike. This is brilliant, you’ll think to yourself. I need to do this more often.

7) Little extras that mean so much

They wash your car for you while you’re indoors, erm washing yourself.

8) The grounds

There’s so much to do inside Stobo Castle, that it’s easy to overlook the grounds. But one of the key attractions of this place is its bucolic location and it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to take the short stroll to the restful Japanese Water Gardens. Or simply wander outside from main reception and take in the rolling hills and ever changing sky.

9) The gift shop

If you loved a product used during your treatment, you can pick it up here. Their own brand range of shampoos and body lotions has been expanded and has just been redesigned in cool slate grey packaging. A special souvenir to mark the 40th birthday is a limited edition scarf in a Stobo tartan by Lochcarron of Scotland in 100 per cent lambswool.

10) The cocktail lounge

The jungle themed cocktail bar threw open its doors late last year in the upper space that used to be devoted to the nail bar. With the increasing popularity of shellac and gel manicures it seemed that customers were getting their nails done before coming to Stobo. So the entrepreneurial owner Stephen Winyard decided to react to the market and put in a bar. Right decision. We can highly recommend the classic mojito or Raspberry Kiss (Chambord and prosecco).

So happy birthday Stobo. Here’s to the next 40 years. ■

An overnight stay at Stobo Castle costs from £145pp including dinner, breakfast, lunch and use of the spa facilities, or £309pp for The Cashmere Suite with a bottle of Bollinger and chocolates on arrival. The Celebration Spa Day experience, launched to celebrate 40 Years of Stobo, costs £99pp and includes a Top to Toe Face & Body Glow treatment (40 mins), sit down three course lunch, full use of spa facilities and optional use of fitness and aqua classes. For more information see www.stobocastle.co.uk or tel: 01721 725 300