When getting married in Scotland, a spa day at Gleneagles ought to be part of the essential wedding preps. I know "essential" and "spa" sound a little silly side-by-side, but very little that concerns wed-min can really be called essential, so I'm going to stick with it.
And so I booked this indispensable ESPA day for my Chief Bridesmaid (CB) and I. Our aim: to recover from the weekend-long hen party from which we had just emerged, both sleep-deprived, me voice-deprived (karaoke may have been involved) and, I must add, suntanned. Yes, suntanned in Scotland. Thank you heatwave, and long may you last.
We pulled up the drive to Gleneagles at 9am. The sunshine had brought the golfers out in force, so the famous golf course was buzzing with buggies. As we continued up the drive a swan waddled past, seemingly making the most of such a fine morning to show her offspring the grounds.
Heading straight for the spa, we robed up and made for the heat rooms. When you book a treatment they always recommend you come at least one-hour beforehand to make the most of the sauna, steam, jet pools and tropical showers.
Heated through and so horizontal we has already planned an after lunch siesta, we headed through for our first treatment. The Source is one of the signature Gleneagles treatments, a massage that lasts for two whole heavenly hours.
First up came a foot ritual using local Perthshire river stones, then it was face down for a full body exfoliation, followed by a massage using hot muslin-wrapped herbal infusions that heat the muscles and feel fantastic. Finally, things were topped off with a scalp massage.
Emerging into the light with ruffled hair and massage beds imprinted on our faces, CB and I caught the giggles at the sight of one another. Safe to say the massage was amazing. "One of the best I've ever had," said CB. "Do you think we can steal the masseuse?"
The thing about hour-long massages is that they finish in a flash, so much so that I can find myself spending half the time feeling sad it will all be over soon.
One of the many perks at Gleneagles is that only those who have spa treatments can use the spa, so it's not too full. Another perk is that there's a restaurant, Deseo, in the spa, so there's no need to de-robe all day.
Joining tables of fellow bed-headed diners, we ordered the tasting platter which comes on a wooden tray with six different sections filled with everything from salad to sweets. Then, sticking solidly to the plan, we made a B-line for the relaxation room for a nap.
At 3pm we were woken from our slumber. ESPA Personalised Facials were on the agenda. Feeling like we wouldn't have got up for anything else, we followed our respective therapists.
The facial starts with a SkinVision analysis to work out what your skin needs thanks to a machine that displays your face in colourful dots, each hue revealing a different cause. Congestion and dead skin reigned on my complexion, but the machine detects everything from dry to damaged, lined and sensitive skins.
Cleansing, exfoliation, massage and mask ensued, and all too soon the treatment, and our day, was over. Now this is a 9 to 5 I could do again...