When day to day life gets too much, and I feel the knots tightening in my shoulders, there's only one place I want to be....Stobo Castle! It's a health spa and hotel, and while it is nestled in the countryside of the Scottish borders (just outside Peebles) it's only twenty miles from Edinburgh. Stobo is the one place in the UK that makes me forget the outside world, and feel completely relaxed by the time I leave. The castle itself is a stunning building, and the drive up to it is really special. A sweeping single track road winds its way through beautiful countryside, and you occasionally get glimpses of the castle along the way - while you dodge the pheasants!
The castle was completed in 1811, and was transformed into a spa in the mid 1970's. A £5 million extension and refurbishment was completed in 2003 bringing it bang up to date, but retaining the traditional castle features.
The service at Stobo is impeccable, and feels very personal. The food is amazing; and while there are healthy options, this is not the sort of spa where you're going to feel hungry after dinner. Whether you want to pig out, or detox, your every need is catered for. Oh, and the bread is simply delicious...my suggestion would be to ditch the no-carb diet, even if it's only for the weekend! The treatments are fantastic (I'd highly recommend the paraffin wax for the back, neck and shoulders - mmm!); the exercise classes are superb, but what really makes it stand out from any other spa is the beautiful Scottish scenery.
The walks in the surrounding area are amazing, and the Japanese water gardens (above) within the castle grounds are stunning. The reception staff are superb at giving information on these walks, but they're also well signposted once you find the starting point.
If you want to escape the stresses of daily life, and forget all your troubles (there are no mobiles allowed in the public areas - bliss!) then why not try Stobo Castle. You can go as a day visitor, or stay overnight, but quite frankly a day is not enough - even after two nights, you don't want to leave! Check out their website here as they sometimes have superb deals.
Have you been to Stobo Castle, or do you know of another spa that ticks all the boxes? Let me know about it!