Treatment of the week: A weekend of pampering and invigorating sea air at Fletcher's Cottage Spa
22:14 GMT, 3 July 2012
Fletcher's Cottage Spa is described as 'somewhere you can relax deeply, where luxury is not a guilty pleasure' – and although I visited a couple of weeks ago I'm still holding on to the memory of feeling deeply relaxed and pleasantly pampered. A return trip is on the wishlist.
Leaving the smog of London for some fresh sea air, I hopped on a train from King's Cross to Edinburgh where on arrival I was swiftly transported to the Archerfield estate, 20 minutes north of the city overlooking the estuary of Scotland's river Forth.
The luxurious golf club, set within 500 acres of prime private country grounds, has a loyal band of followers including golfers Sir Ian Botham, Darren Clarke as well as singer Ronan Keating.
Northern retreat: The interiors of Fletcher's Cottage Spa are warm and inviting
But it's latest addition – the spa – has been busy entertaining a new type of clientele – non-golfers seeking a slice of Scottish solace. Since opening in March it has been fully booked and it's easy to see why.
Brainchild of Sian Parry Jones, the attention to detail
is impressive. Champagne flutes and crockery sourced
from vintage shops, fabrics and fittings imported from the south of
France and potato boxes from her brother's farm in Somerset transformed into purpose made storage units.
The result is a warm and inviting
space which plays on a country-chic theme.
Walking into the softly-lit pine lodge complex I instantly started to unwind. My shoes were exchanged for a pair of plush white slippers and I was offered a shot of revitalizing kiwi juice.
After being welcomed by an exceptionally friendly front of house team, I was shown to my roomy changing room – almost the same size as the bedroom in my London flat – which was decked out with a giant dressing table, rainshower, a range of Aromatherapy Associates products, hairdryer and a pair of ghd hair straighteners.
Country chic: Designer Sian Parry Jones spent time scouring the country for suitable interiors
Once I had slipped into a toweling robe I headed for a rasul mud session – an ancient Arabic bathing ritual that has become popular among spas over recent years. Exposing your body to heat and steam after lathering your body with mineral-rich mud is said to help remove dead skin and increase circulation.
The treatment room is made for two people, with heated seats facing each other, and through the steam you can hold a conversation with your partner – albeit a rather odd experience – or enjoy a 20 minute stint listening to the eclectic music mix which filters through the tiled chamber.
A spacious sauna, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows looking on to the walled garden and the marine steam room – which gives you 'the same effects as a walking along the coast' – are other spaces worth visiting.
Although they weren't ready for use when I looked around, the personal bath huts in the garden area are also set to be a hit during summer months.
Each wooden beach hut-inspired structure comes complete with a freestanding bath, armchairs, fur throws and customers can choose from a range of bath ingredients including organic, hand-harvested seaweed with sea salt to detoxify the body.
After a morning spent relaxing you must indulge in one of the treatments.
I selected the Fletcher’s Cottage Spa Signature Treatment (90 mins, 120) – a bespoke treatment using massage movements and stretches, to alleviate tension across the back, neck and shoulders, feet and scalp.
Archerfield House boasts fifteen luxuriously decorated double bedrooms and in the past it has been used to accommodate kings and prime ministers
Treasure island: The view which inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure novel, which focuses on 'buccaneers and buried gold'
This was combined with the Spiezia Organic Stone Massage (75 mins 110) – a deep massage which uses smooth hot volcanic stones with Spiezia oils to ease away muscle tension. As well as Spiezia Organics – Aromatherapy Associates, VOYA and Frazer Parfums are other brands available to try and purchase in the shop.
My therapist was exceedingly friendly and professional and took time before the treatment to understand each area of concern.
With the window blinds closed and soft music playing, I occasionally drifted off to sleep as I was lulled into a comatosed state, but I was determined not to miss a minute of the soothing experience.
Feeling brand new, and vaguely spaced out after almost 2 hours of being pummelled and stretched, I was invited to recline in the relaxation lounge. But with blue skies and bright sunshine filtering through the windows I opted for a garden seat.
Afternoon tea and champagne were served to the table – the perfect way to top off an unashamedly indulgent day.
The cakes are definitely worth a taster. Made by a local confectioner the ample selection is spot on. Larger meals or special dietary requests can also be ordered in.
The only downside to the spa experience is that there is no swimming pool or jacuzzi facility but I was assured that plans are in the pipeline.
Windswept: The golden beach is easily accessible from the Archerfield estate and well worth a visit
Spa guests have a range of accommodation to choose from. Archerfield House, The Pavilions, The Lodges, Marine Villa, The Boathouse, The Cottage are just some of the complexes situated on the Archerfield estate.
I was based at the secluded Cottage which is set on the sea front and boasts magnificent views of the small island which inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Accommodating four guests it's the perfect base for a weekend trip.
The beach is easily accessible and the charming harbour town of North Berwick is a just a few miles away. Here the high street is punctuated with small boutiques and local restaurants. Osteria, an Italian family-run restaurant is a top pick, both for it's intimate ambiance and delicious selection of dishes. The beef carpaccio was deliciously creamy and the scallops were some of the biggest I've ever tackled.
The Archerfield concierge are more than happy to ferry you around wherever you please – day or night – and it's well worth taking advantage of the service.
After a two-day stay I felt depressed to be leaving. Archerfield and Fletcher's Cottage is a definite must-visit. The location is unique, as are the services on offer – something owner Kevin Doyle, must be pretty proud of.
Archerfield Links, Golf Club House, Golf Green, Dirleton, North Berwick,
East Lothian, EH39 5HU. www.archerfieldgolfclub.com. A spa break for two (325.00), includes breakfast and two spa treatments of your choice. To find out more Tel: 01620 897050.
East Coast trains (www.eastcoast.co.uk) serve Edinburgh, a short taxi ride from Archerfield Links. Standard Advance returns, booked online, between London and Edinburgh start from 16.50 each way. Times and fares also on 08457 225225 or from staffed stations and rail agents.