Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a lady of luxury and there’s no better place to do that than Blythswood Square Spa & Hotel in Glasgow.

Many of my friends were surprised that I hadn’t visited the Blythswood already, so I made a point of booking in for a birthday treat. Another year older, another life goal ticked off the list!

The 5 star hotel exudes elegance, with an impressive exterior and grand reception area that puts me in mind of a David Lynch boudoir. In a good way, I promise – if sparkling chandeliers, monochrome flooring and red velvet is your thing, you’ll love it. 

I wasn’t staying overnight in the hotel on this occasion, so I headed downstairs to the spa, eager to treat myself to some much-needed pamper time.

Upon arrival I was asked to fill out a consultation card and offered a glass of prosecco, which was part of my package and went down a treat. 

Afternoon Tea at the Blythswood 

The relaxation area at the spa reception looks glamorous and comfortable, but I’ve decided the chairs are deceptively uncomfortable. The backs of the chairs recline at an angle that’s neither lie-back-and-relax-pre-massage or sit-upright-and-sip-prosecco. So you end up perched in an awkward in-between position, glugging your prosecco so you can move on to comfier surroundings.

This is also an issue when the afternoon tea is served, as I found I was digesting fruit scones and cream cakes at an alarming rate, due to my uncomfortable seat.

On the plus side, unlike many afternoon tea offerings, you do get one of those fancy tiered trays of treats all to yourself. And dietary requirements, or fussy eater requests, are catered for without any issues. 

Blythswood Square Spa Review

Several scones, cakes, meringues and cups of tea later, I was taken through to the chilled out treatment rooms. I only waited a few minutes in the treatment reception area before being taken to a private room by my therapist, who I want to call Natalie so I will. 

Once Natalie had an understanding of my many aches and pains, she got started on the back, neck and shoulder massage I had requested. Her perfect pressure and precision when targeting my pain points left me feeling very relaxed and soothed some of the tension I had arrived with. One of the best massages I’ve had the pleasure of receiving, using gorgeous-smelling Ishga products. 

Post-massage, I took a wander round the thermal suite to see what it had to offer. Not being a massive fan of saunas (the lack of air is suffocating and I have an irrational fear of being locked in), I opted to spend most of my time floating between the hydrotherapy pool, the solarium and the crystal steam room. 

The hydrotherapy pool was probably my favourite, a large jacuzzi situated in the centre of the spa. Plenty of bubbles and high ceilings made this a relaxing experience that I returned to a few times on my visit. 

The crystal steam room is unique and you’ll either love it or hate it. I could only cope with it when the door was slightly ajar (see previous comment on irrational door locking fear), but it was a calming wet room filled with menthol steam that did its best to clear my congested system of toxins and the previous night’s vodka.

The spa itself feels like the crystal maze, with its various rooms and themes, so it’s fitting that this steam room does have a red crystal centrepiece, from which the scented steam emanates. Strangely hypnotic and relaxing at the same time, with the door open of course…

My one gripe is that the main pool, complete with waterfall and jet features, isn’t larger. When I go to a spa I like a swim, but the size of the Blythswood’s pool is only fit for a doggy paddle. There also doesn’t appear to be a need for the strange ‘hidden’ room located towards the back of the pool. Other than the water that shoots out from the corner, it seems like a bit of a waste of space that could be put to better use.

Given the small size of the pool, there are only a few loungers located next to it for relaxing on but the spa wasn’t busy enough when I visited for this to be an issue. 

Overall, I enjoyed my time at the Blythswood and was pleasantly surprised that it lived up to the hype. Not sure I would pay the list price to visit the thermal suite, but worth a visit if you can get a deal on a voucher code site. 

Pure Spa Glasgow nail bar

Pure Spa Glasgow nail bar and reception area

I make no secret of the fact that weddings and all things wedding-related stress me out, so when a month of hen dos and weddings approached me way too fast, I decided to take action.

I decided that only a total body overhaul would switch my mind off from overthinking the impending doom of the big days ahead, and signed up to the Spa Essentials Experience at Pure Spa on West Nile Street, Glasgow.

My only previous experience of the salon was a quick file and polish in the downstairs nail bar, so I was excited to see what lay in store at the spa side of the building.

On arrival I was greeted by my therapist Alison, who showed me through a series of doors that led to a serene hideaway from the bustling street below.

A quick change out of my work clothes and into the soft, fluffy robe and slippers provided was my first step to relaxation and this was followed by a five minute rest on the reclining chairs dotted around the spa waiting area. My only criticism is that this area is not ideal for relaxing – the bright lights and rigid recliners don’t allow you to switch off fully, even less so as this is the main walkway for guests entering and leaving the treatment rooms.

Pure Spa Glasgow relaxation area and sauna

Pure Spa Glasgow relaxation area and sauna

I was slightly more relaxed when Alison collected me and took me into one of the tranquil treatment rooms, complete with soft lighting and heated, towel-laden beds.

The treatment started with a refreshing foot scrub and massage, as Alison asked what I was hoping to get from today’s experience and if there were any particular aches and pains she should concentrate on.

It was then over to the indulgent bed, where I snuggled down for the first part of the treatment: a hot stone massage. The tension in my shoulders was expertly massaged away with the help of the hot stones and the aching muscles I’d complained of earlier in the day eased up for the first time in a few months.

Part two was a hopi ear candle – now, I’d never considered this particular treatment before, but when I saw it was an option for this package I decided to go for it. Having been plagued by blocked ears and tension headaches over the past couple of years, my research told me this was a possible remedy for these ailments. 

It’s quite possibly the strangest treatment I’ve ever had, yet I found the experience quite relaxing. The hollow cotton tube, soaked in beeswax, honey and herbs, is lit and inserted into the ear to remove excess wax and impurities. Although this sounds dangerous, the flame is at the top of the candle away from the ear and a gentle crackling noise is heard as the candle burns and works its magic.

The jury’s out as to whether this does actually help sinus and stress-related conditions but I did feel less congested and Alison showed me the wax that had been removed by the candle… not something you’d want to look at every day!

Elemis skincare

Elemis skincare

The final part of my treatment was an Elemis facial, which I hoped would give my dull winter skin a boost. Having tried Elemis products in the past, I was looking forward to seeing what Alison recommended for me. The pro collagen cleansing balm was a standout for me, as it felt so soothing on my skin, so I made a mental note to try this at a later date. I love it when a facial is finished off with a scalp massage so I was pleased that this is what came after the facial, but a bit gutted that my time in the spa was over!

As I made my way back down the stairs and into the brightly-lit reception area I got a stark reminder of why I hadn’t revisited Pure Spa after my manicure all those months ago. Some of the reception staff could not be less-friendly and inviting if they tried. There’s one in particular who looks thoroughly bored and disinterested in every customer that comes through the door and when she asked me if everything was okay with my treatment I got the impression she wasn’t remotely interested in my answer as she quickly faked a smile and tried to push some add-on products.

I’d thoroughly recommend the Spa Essentials Experience if you’re looking for 90 minutes of escapism, but try and avoid the icy robots at the door…

*Spa Essentials Experience at Pure Spa, West Nile Street, Glasgow, £110

Scottish fashion blogger. Always having a blonde moment.

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.

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.