Auchrannie Resort handbook and coffee

It always feels like the longest month of the year, so this January I decided to break it up a bit by crossing the water and visiting the Auchrannie Resort in Arran.

With it being only an hour on the ferry from Ardrossan, I’ve visited the island many times but never had the Auchrannie experience.

View of Arran from Auchrannie

View of Arran from Auchrannie

I didn’t quite know what to expect but the package I’d opted for (The Island Escape) promised a luxury overnight stay including breakfast, a prosecco lunch and two spa treatments.

January weather is ideal for hibernating in a spa resort, but not so ideal for travelling to it. Luckily, our sailing was relatively calm and we had a transfer from the ferry terminal to the hotel included in our package. A very welcome touch since I’ve learned that only one taxi serves the island. My suitcase and I are not made for the local bus service I’m afraid!

I’m sure it’s walkable without the luggage but the five minute transfer took us right to the door, where we were able to check in at reception with minimal fuss. Our room was ready and we got ourselves settled in before heading down for a pre-booked lunch in the spa.

Twin room at Auchrannie Resort

Twin room at Auchrannie Spa Resort

The room itself was on the third floor and my only complaint was that the wifi didn’t appear to function up there. It was fine in other parts of the spa hotel and the main house hotel, so at least we weren’t completely cut off from civilisation, aka social media.

The spa hotel is modern with plush grey decor in the corridors and purple interiors in the rooms. We had a twin room, which was very spacious, with a sofa/seating area in addition to the beds and a fridge to store vodka water. There was ample wardrobe space and a modern bathroom with miniature complimentary toiletries courtesy of Arran Aromatics.

Arran Aromatics miniature toiletries at Auchrannie

Arran Aromatics miniature toiletries at Auchrannie

We checked into the ASPA for lunch and were shown around the facilities while our food and drinks were prepared. The seating area in the spa itself is very luxurious and an ideal setting for lunch, though it would’ve been nice to have the menu to peruse at a table, rather than the spa reception desk. Talk about being under pressure to choose!

ASPA reception area

ASPA reception area

The lunch menu itself was what you would expect from a spa, full of light, healthy(ish) options and a delicious start to the afternoon, accompanied by a glass of sparkling prosecco.

We had a few hours to spare after lunch before our spa treatments, so decided to check out the rest of the spa facilities. There was a large swimming pool, shallow pool, solarium, steam room and foot baths, so plenty of places to relax before or after your pampering session. My one disappointment was that there was no jacuzzi, as I love some bubbles on a spa day!

Auchrannie Spa relaxation room

Auchrannie Spa relaxation room

Complimentary robes and slippers are provided when you check in to the spa so we headed back to the relaxation room to wait on our treatments. With low lighting, beaded curtains, chaise longues and secluded pods, this is the perfect place to chill out with a glass of chilled water. 

I opted for the mini facial and back massage using my favourite Espa products. My therapist was very knowledgable about the products and expertly carried out my facial to treat the condition of my skin at the time (dry and dull). I’ve had better back massages but it was relaxing if nothing else. After our treatments we headed back to the relaxation room for a raspberry sorbet and glass of lemon water, pure bliss!

ASPA relaxation area

ASPA relaxation area

It was a struggle not to go for an afternoon nap at this point, but we had booked dinner in the Brambles restaurant at 7pm, so powered through to get ourselves dressed and across the carpark to the main house hotel. We couldn’t fault the traditional surroundings or the service in the restaurant but had to ask to move twice, which wasn’t ideal.

The first time it was due to overheating in front of an open fireplace and the second time it was due to being surrounded by a family of ten with unruly kids. Understand the resort is family friendly but there should be an area where adults can escape if they don’t fancy listening to mummy tell little Ben/Jen to please sit down for the millionth time. Or at least a curfew on when said families can enter. Rant over. 

Dinner itself was top notch, I went for the fillet steak with blue cheese sauce followed by white chocolate and Arran Gold cheesecake, which I have to say is one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had. After the food feast we retired to our comfy beds for a Grey Goose nightcap, totally pampered and relaxed for a good night’s sleep. 

Auchrannie Hotel breakfast

Pastries for breakfast

Breakfast was included in our package and again it didn’t disappoint. Pretty much all you can eat continental and cooked breakfast, with too many options to list. I had some spiced Arran sausages with grilled mushrooms on toast, then managed to squeeze in a couple of mini fruit pastries alongside my tea. 

It felt really sad to be checking out and heading home, but there was still some time left to enjoy a cosmopolitan in Cruz bar before our transfer taxi arrived to take us back for the ferry home. I’ll definitely be back to the resort, but now I know what to expect I’ll be planing a few more spa treatments and maybe even an extended stay.

I visited Auchrannie Resort on the Island Escape package, courtesy of itison.com. Standard price for this package starts at £119 per person per night.
Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

Beauty Boutique & Day Spa, Bath Street, Glasgow (Source: Beauty Boutique & Day Spa Facebook page)

Beauty Boutique & Day Spa, Bath Street, Glasgow (Source: Beauty Boutique & Day Spa Facebook page)

Many moons ago I reviewed the now-closed nkd Waxing concession in House of Fraser, Glasgow.

It was my first experience of designer waxing and I was so impressed that I was a regular customer until they closed their doors a couple of years ago.

The reason for the closure cannot have been lack of customers (as it was always really hard to get an appointment), but Brazilians and Hollywoods are now the norm in the waxing world so there’s a multitude of options out there for former nkd devotees like myself.

The one thing I learned from going along to nkd regularly was that the wax they used, Perron Rigot, made all the difference when it came to preventing pesky ingrown hairs and minimising the pain.

So when it came to finding a new “intimate” waxer, as they’re known in the beauty industry, that was the first thing I looked for.

I’ll be honest – although many salons I tried after nkd were good, they never quite managed to meet the nkd standard. It wasn’t that the salons or therapists were bad, most were lovely and I can’t actually fault their waxing, but if you went to nkd and had Ashley as a waxer, you’ll know what I mean.

I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally found one salon that does meet my high post-nkd expectations.

Beauty Boutique & Day Spa, located on Bath Street, Glasgow, is a real gem of a place. Like most newbies to beauty salons these days, I booked using an offer I received via Wahanda which meant I had a package of treats for a decent price.

The salon itself is welcoming and modern, and way bigger than you expect it to be. Although I only experienced the waxing and massage rooms, a short trip through the salon revealed a slick city nail bar and hair salon to the left the of main beauty building. As they offer day spa packages and treatments, I assume there are hot tubs and/or a small swimming pool somewhere in the salon but I didn’t come across this on my visit.

I’m terrible with names but I *think* my therapist’s name was Laura. She immediately put me at ease and a short chat revealed that she managed the salon, so I was in safe hands. 

I opted for a Brazilian wax and since I’ve been having these for a few years now, there’s no surprises in the routine. However, you do hear horror stories of being asked to kneel on all fours (really, is that ever necessary?!), so when you go to a new place, that’s always my worst fear! Thankfully, there was none of that and the process was as embarrassment-free as it can possibly be when you’re naked from the waist down.

This is my checklist for a good bikini wax and Beauty Boutique met them all, so that’s why they’re my new favourite waxing place:

  1. The therapist should be easy to talk to – awkward silences are good for no one
  2. The procedure should be explained fully if it’s your first time at the venue or first time getting the treatment – surprises are never welcome
  3. Perron Rigot wax is your friend, if the salon is using it then you shouldn’t have to worry about ingrown hairs
  4. The hair should come out in one swift swipe of the strip – if you feel every strand being tugged out, there’s something not right
  5. Wait for the excruciating pain to come… and smile in relief when it never does. Okay, so it’s not the most relaxing/enjoyable experience in the world but if you’re close to passing out from the procedure then it’s not being done right.

I’d say I only had regrowth after about 6 weeks and could easily have got away with 8 weeks if I wasn’t going on holiday, so it was also excellent value for money.

I know some people are put off by the cost of designer waxing, but I used to spend £8 every 2-3 weeks to get a basic tidy-up wax so it does add up to around the same cost in the long term.

If you’re looking for a fuss-free (and mostly pain-free) waxing experience, in sleek city centre surroundings, Beauty Boutique & Day Spa is definitely the place to try – you won’t be disappointed.

I had the Brazilian Wax, £27, @ Beauty Boutique & Day Spa, 145 Bath St, Glasgow G2 4SQ
0845 408 8804

http://www.beautyboutiquedayspa.co.uk

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

January’s a grim month so I decided to hide from the snow storms and hibernate in the luxurious K West Hotel & Spa for a night.

Situated in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, the 4 Star boutique hotel is only a few minutes walk from both the tube station and Westfield Shopping Centre, on a quiet residential street.

I had read previously that the modern, neon-lit building sits awkwardly across from a concrete council block and that the building’s surroundings were less than desirable but it’s central London and I’ve ventured into worse streets if I’m being honest.

Besides, if this hotel was anywhere in W1 it wouldn’t be half as affordable as it is currently.

Reception is located at ground level on the third floor – there are two floors underground for those who want to hide from the world and two floors above for those like me who prefer to know there’s a window that leads outside, even if the curtains are closed.

The bar at K West Hotel

The bar at K West Hotel

The building is a former BBC recording studio so the slick rock vibe lives on in the glamorous bar area, perfectly placed beside the entrance, and the quieter velvet chair filled reading room across from the lifts. I liked this space, featuring a nice pop art Amy Winehouse print and plenty of musical reads on the shelves to keep you amused during your stay.

Lounge area at K west Hotel

Lounge area at K west Hotel

After wheeling my suitcase along the seductively lit corridor that snaked round the building, I found my surprisingly spacious room just past the ice bucket in the wall (yes, really!).

K West Junior Double Room

K West Junior Double Room

K West Hotel junior double room bathroom

K West Hotel junior double room bathroom

The sleek, monochrome and metallic decor was right up my street and the bathroom was everything you hope from a hotel/spa, complete with white fluffy towels and miniature toiletries from The White Company. Two sets of K-West branded robes and slippers are provided, ideal for slipping on before heading down to the spa located in the ground floor of the building.

White Company miniature shampoo, conditioner and shower gel

White Company miniature shampoo, conditioner and shower gel

I had chosen the Snow Joke package for my overnight stay (25% off a junior double room with continental breakfast), but my plans changed on arrival and I decided to make the most of my time at K West by upgrading. I called reception with my request and they obliged immediately, updating my details so I had some added extras to my stay.

I went for the Love Sucks package (£119), ideal for one person who really does think that love sucks! I think the package is a total bargain for what you get and it was just what I needed. The package includes:

  • Overnight stay in a Junior Double Room
  • Continental breakfast
  • Complimentary movie with popcorn and soft drink
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Room Service Dinner – One main course and a drink (Glass of Wine, Beer or Soft Drink)
  • Complimentary WIFI in room
  • Access to the K Spa

After upgrading I changed into my swimsuit, robe and slippers, then made my way down to the spa. I’d never been to a spa before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I LOVED it! Talk about another world… this was the perfect way to escape the January blues.

K West spa

K West spa

Everything’s perfectly thought out, from the endless supply of pristine white towels, robes and flip flops to the hairdryers, GHD straighteners and cotton buds in the changing rooms.

Changing room vanity area at K West Spa

Changing room vanity area at K West Spa

The spa itself was smaller than what I expected but I think that was good – I had imagined a terrifying parade of perfect modelesque bodies in bikinis lining an endless swimming pool but that wasn’t the case at all. As I made my way to the hydrotherapy pool I noticed there was a mix of singletons, couples and groups of friends so I felt totally at ease doing my own thing. Most importantly for me, it’s a kid-free zone so no chance of boisterous brats ruining my chill time!

The hydrotherapy was like a large jacuzzi with metal bar beds and benches you could relax on. I got quite used to staring at the twinkling lights above me as the bubbles worked wonders on leaving my skin feeling soft.

K West spa ceiling lights

K West spa ceiling lights

After the pool I made my way to the solarium, a wood panelled room where you could lie back on a wooden bench to dry off. It felt just like sunbathing and I closed my eyes imagining I was poolside at a tropical resort.

I tried the sauna for five minutes but it’s just not for me – the extreme heat makes me feel like I can’t breathe! I’m sure it’s great if you can relax but I kept thinking I was going to faint. And therefore I couldn’t face the steam room for the same reasons!

The twin footbaths are a great idea, with bathsalts provided to soften the skin, but it’s not that much fun on your own so I moved on to the Snow Paradise. Yes, having flown down to London to escape the snow in Scotland, it wasn’t high on my agenda but I opened the door out of curiosity anyway… and couldn’t face stepping into it wearing a swimsuit and flip-flops. Again, I’m sure there’s some sort of pleasure in it, and I can vouch that it did look like real snow, but not for me.

Water jugs in the spa at K West Hotel

Water jugs in the spa at K West Hotel

I spent the rest of my Saturday night floating between the pool and the solarium, occasionally sitting on the chill out sofas with a glass of water from the lemon and lime filled jugs that the spa staff keep topped up. Quite a change from my usual Saturday night drink of choice!

After three hours in the spa, I got showered and changed into another fluffy robe in time to order my room service dinner. The food was amazing – I went for the lemon and herb chicken, served with corn on the cob, skin-on fries and BBQ sauce, plus a chilled glass of rose wine that was part of my Love Sucks meal for one (singletons need wine!).

K West Hotel room service dinner and movie package

K West Hotel room service dinner and movie package

As a treat I added on a dessert, the chocolate marquis with cherry sorbet and sauce, easily one of the best sweets I’ve tasted.

By sheer coincidence Bridget Jones’ Diary was the movie of choice on ITV1 that night, so I had a laugh to myself before swiftly swapping for the movie package film I’d chosen, The Wolf of Wall Street. Chick flicks ain’t my thing!

All that relaxation and the comfy bed meant I couldn’t keep my eyes open to watch the entire movie, but I did stay awake long enough to scoff half the salty popcorn and diet coke brought to me by the lovely room service waiter.

A continental breakfast was included in the Love Sucks package but after I saw the options for hot breakfasts in the welcome pack I decided to pay the extra £7 to get a full English in bed.

K West Hotel room service English and Continental breakfast

K West Hotel room service English and Continental breakfast

It arrived at 10am as requested and I managed to watch the rest of the film I’d ordered while munching on poached eggs, chestnut mushrooms, cumberland sausage, wholemeal toast, a selection of pastries and a hot chocolate. Had I not had to check out at 12pm, could easily have gone back to bed after that feast!

I checked out reluctantly as I could quite happily reside here forever but it was a great way to spend 24 hours nonetheless. The whole experience is made all the better by the hotel staff, who really do go out of their way to make you feel welcome and accommodate any (reasonable) request you might have. I think I’ll definitely be back, perhaps for longer next time!

K West Love Sucks package for one person is priced at £119, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

 

 

 

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.