I was rubbing mud all over my body when it suddenly dawned on me how relaxed I felt.
The smell of sweet spices scented the air, some funky music wafted over the airwaves and soft lighting lulled over my skin.
I’d only been at Archerfield House in Scotland just over 24 hours but this secret retreat is a place where you immediately lose all connection with bustling city life. It’s charm attracts people from all over the world and Ronan Keating also chose it as his wedding venue.
A one hour flight to Edinburgh, a 30 minute drive with the resort’s lovely driver Gordon and I had arrived at this luxury coastal sanctuary. London a world away.
I originally visited the famed golf resort’s spa when it first opened several years ago. It’s now matured into a warm, safe space with planted gardens flourishing and timbered floors settled in place.
It was a chilly Thursday afternoon but walking into the spa was like being hit by a warm hug. I exchanged my trainers for a pair of plush fluffy slippers and sipped on a sherry glass full of carrot, ginger and apple juice.
I was having my first treatment of the stay, an anti-aging facial. My beautician, Melissa, came to greet me and led me through to a treatment room. The wood burner was roaring away in the main room, and docile clients happily reclined in the giant sofas spaced around.
I’m not usually a fan of facials but this one caught me by surprise. I even caught myself snoring at one point, such was chilled out state. After applying a mix of lotions and potions to my face, Melissa gave me a head and shoulder massage. She then finished the treatment with a spot of acupuncture on my feet.
With a booking at the local pub, I left the spa for the afternoon.
However, the next morning I returned with my friend who had travelled over from the west coast of America.
We were booked in for a Rasul Mud Treatment, which involves scrubbing your body down with a sugary substance, washing, and then applying a layer of mud on your skin using a wooden spatula. For those places you can’t reach, it’s handy to have someone you can trust to help out.
Once you’ve been clayed up, you’re directed to sit in a steam room for 20 minutes to allow all of the nutrifying ingredients to penetrate your body. We had great fun in the mud room and it was difficult not to giggle to ourselves as we looked at our pasted faces in the mirror.
After washing off using the divine-smelling Aromatherapy Associates body wash we ventured off to use the spa’s other facilities.
However, first stop was a scone break in the main space. My friend Nick decided he fancied a cream tea and one of the attendants readily brought over a baked delicacy complete with thick clotted cream and strawberry jam. Going for something a little more healthy I tucked into the fruit bowl and sipped on coffee.
There was a nice buzz in the spa. A gentleman to our left sat alone reading the day’s papers while a mother and daughter nattered away with big smiles on their faces.
Feeling adequately full, we decided to pop into the Marine Steam room and test the sauna. We were the only ones in both treatment rooms which was lovely. The sauna at Archerfield is particularly great with large windows looking out over the garden.
To further your calm state, you should definitely take a coastal walk while at Archerfield. The estate has beach access, with gaping sand beaches welcoming you to play.
Story has it Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired to write Treasure Island whilst staying at one of the lodges on the Acherfield estate which is now rented out as a beach villa.
The other thing you should try, is a spot of golf, especially seeing as Archerfield has one of the best greens in the country.
While I’m pretty lethal with a golf club, the resort’s golfing pro put me at ease. And after a 30 minute lesson, I’d brushed up my skills so much so, I was actually hitting balls instead of tearing up turf.
I’d also worked up somewhat of an appetite up after all of that swinging action…
While we went to the local pub for our first night at Archerfield on the second evening we dined at the Clubhouse.
The resort’s hunting lodge-style restaurant has a wonderful cosy feel and the food is on point. On the night we visited we shared a goat cheese and tomato tart to start followed by locally cured smoked salmon and a fillet of cod.
There is a range of accommodation on Archerfield.
If you’re traveling with a group I can’t recommend the Lodges enough. The three-bedroomed Alpine-style homestays are wonderfully homely and decked out with everything you need from deep bathtubs to bottle openers.
For the winter months, there is a large fire in the enormous living room, which is perfect to snuggle up by with a glass of wine.
So if you’re looking to unwind for a weekend, I can’t recommend Archerfield enough.
On waking up in London the next day we wondered if it had all been a dream. However, a pile of sand in my shoe from our windswept beach walk reassured me that it wasn’t all just a figment of my imagination.
Archerfield, you were the real deal!
To book a stay and spa treatment at Archerfield visit www.archerfieldhouse.com.