A treatment at Dalhousie Castle that firms up your facial muscles

THIS perfect Darphin facial is both a work-out for the skin and deeply relaxing

Darphin at Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa
Darphin at Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa

The treatment

Darphin’s Ideal Renewing Facial, £65 for 60 minutes (there are also options of £35 for 30 minutes and £90 for 90 minutes), at Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa, Bonnyrigg near Edinburgh.

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Why go?

If you are feeling flabby of feature and concerned your crow’s feet may be crossing a line too far, this comprehensive treatment uses massage techniques combined with Darphin products to firm up facial muscles, tackle fine lines and reveal a clearer, more-nourished complexion. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Our spy says

Tucked away at the end of one of Dalhousie Castle’s wonderfully atmospheric corridors is a small but perfectly formed contemporary spa. Therapists here are friendly and well informed, chatting through your skincare routine to help decide on the products most suitable to use. Once it’s established that my skin needs all the TLC it can get, my therapist leads me through to one of three treatment rooms (there are two singles and one double). The experience starts with each foot being gently rubbed in a warm cloth, which is deeply relaxing and sets the tone for what is to follow.

Skin is double cleansed using Refreshing Cleansing Milk with Banana Tree Flower followed by sweet-scented Aromatic Cleansing Balm before Darphin’s Age-Defying Dermabrasion exfoliator is massaged in, removing dead skin cells and polishing the surface, and followed up with Refreshing Toner with Banana Tree Flower. So far, so clean. But it’s the massage techniques that really lift this facial out of the ordinary. Every part of my face and neck is treated to a deep massage that is intended to restore energy, rebalance the skin and help it to soak up all of the lovely product being lavished upon it.

I lie there in the hope that every upward sweep is putting anything that is slipping firmly back in place; it feels both like a treatment and a pampering session. Ideal Resource Perfecting Smoothing Serum and Ideal Resource Smoothing and Retexturizing Radiance Cream are then massaged in, before the Youthful Radiance Camellia Mask is applied and the Eye Sorbet Mask patted on to the eye area. Just as I think my wonderful massage may be over, my therapist works every knot out of my arms, neck and hands as the mask does its stuff. It is blissful and I’m pretty sure I nod off at one point. The treatment finishes up with Jasmine Aromatic Care Essential Oil being massaged into skin to further nourish. I take a little bit of rousing from my treatment bed – I really don’t want this to end.

The results

My skin feels as if it has had a bit of a workout, it’s softer to the touch and feels much more hydrated, and the whole experience has been incredibly relaxing; a real treat.

• Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa, Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh, Midlothian (01875 820 153, www.dalhousiecastle.co.uk)