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Annabelle Hood tries out the UK’s first Guerlain spa and emerges fragrant and relaxed.  Guerlain may be affiliating itself with the Waldorf-Astoria hotel brand globally, but I think it’s a bold move to have eschewed London for the Scottish capital. Of course it makes sense why it did so,...

A Scentsual Scottish Spa

Annabelle Hood tries out the UK’s first Guerlain spa and emerges fragrant and relaxed. 


Guerlain may be affiliating itself with the Waldorf-Astoria hotel brand globally, but I think it’s a bold move to have eschewed London for the Scottish capital. Of course it makes sense why it did so, to fashion their handsome spa to their brand and vision during the hotel’s recent multi-million pound refurbishment, rather than attempt to shoe-horn a teeny version into the confines of the Waldorf-Astoria London.

Any beauty aficionado or night owl worth their flawless complexion covets a blue bottle of Guerlain’s cult product ‘Midnight Secret’. This elixir truly compensates, as if by a miracle, for scant sleep following a late night – hence its affectionate nickname ‘sleep in a bottle’. This go-to product and Guerlain’s lavishly luxurious bronzing range have for years sealed the brand’s reputation, not to mention weighed down my own wash bag.

So with the aim of clear glowing skin in mind, I had high hopes that the sparkling new Guerlain Spa, located in Edinburgh’s newly refurbished five star hotel The Caledonian, would deliver – no mean feat considering I’d returned to my hotel room in the ‘wee small hours’ after a charity gala and was feeling tired to the bone. If this sounds a tall order, consider that the UK’s first Guerlain Spa, follows in the award-winning manicured footsteps of its sister spa in Paris. 


Stepping into the Guerlain Spa reception was like gliding in to a bright white time-machine; the interface between the old world and a futuristic orgy for the senses, particularly of sight and smell. All around me were illuminated panels bearing Guerlain’s legendary bottles, a dazzling showcase of fragrances containing all-natural perfume oils (no cheap synthetics at Guerlain). Like a kid in a sweetshop, I immediately took to spritzing and sniffing these enticing flacons and would have happily fumigated the entire hotel were it not for being greeted by a chirpy Guerlain therapist letting me know that she’d be doing the spa’s signature body treatment: The Edinburgh Caledonian Chic massage.

First, she invited me to join her on a ‘Guerlain Fragrance Journey,’ the result of which depended on how I wanted to feel post treatment, she said. ‘Definitely refreshed and invigorated,’ I replied, aware that on so little sleep, I would almost certainly fall asleep at dinner otherwise. Uncannily, the displayed scent cone bearing the recommended Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic fragrance turned out to be the one I was most drawn to. But I suspect that’s the way this clever fragrance malarkey works. Either way, it was a nice touch to find the same zesty scent lightly sprayed on the massage bed and even on my bathrobe as I sat on a chair in the massage room for a ‘welcome foot bath’ while scrawling out my health questionnaire answers. 


What followed was a very professionally executed massage enhanced by nice touches like an orchid-filled bowl positioned beneath the massage couch hole so I could see it once face down. This aside, this ‘signature’ massage was basically a straightforward body massage, albeit an expertly administered one attending to my knots and concerns. At £150 a pop, the 90-minute version is only an option for deep designer pockets, so I contended with an hour (£90), which lamentably seemed to end as soon as it had started (I confess I fell asleep – but what a tonic!).

Post treatment, as I peeled myself reluctantly from the über-comfortable massage couch, I inwardly wished I’d booked the Ferrari of Guerlain signature treatments to follow: The Orchidée Impériale Prestige Treatment facial (a cool £250 for 150 blissful minutes) – this would have been the panacea to my sleepless ills and pining for radiance! The consolation prize was the final, slightly surprising phase of the Guerlain treatment ritual: the application of a touch of makeup (a daub of Guerlain blusher and quick coat of lipstick). A cheating but obligatory note to end on, one imagines, for the uniquely chic Parisiennes who wouldn’t be seen dead with a bare, crumpled face. Oh mais non! But for a down-to-earth English lass in Scotland, it was as unnecessary as it was amusing, but then who said luxury is about necessity? And besides, I had indeed left the spa relaxed, invigorated and (albeit fauxly) glowing in the way that the Guerlain brand so excels; not a bad result for a body massage. 

The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Princes Street
Edinburgh
EH1 2AB
Tel: +44 (0) 131 222 888
www.thecaledonianedinburgh.comFrom £239 per night for a double room including VAT and breakfast See website for special offers and spa packages.Guerlain Spa
Tel 0131 222-8836

Edinburgh Caledonian Chic massage, from £90 for 60mins

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