It was hard to believe, driving up the winding drive to Norton House, that we had just pulled off a busy motorway. You would never guess this little window of countryside existed just minutes from Edinburgh Airport and 20 minutes from the city centre. The effect on mum and I was instant; we felt calmed and full of anticipation for what was to come.
It’s charming! A grand old building on the outside but intimate and cosy on the inside. The spa itself is separate from the hotel with its own car park, but just a minute’s walk if you’re staying overnight whereas we were there for the day. The restaurant menu had a fantastic selection, the staff were very friendly and I spotted a few cosy tables that I’d love to settle down at for a cosy evening with a glass of wine.
You go downstairs to get to the spa and the first room in which you are asked to take a seat wasn’t what I expected at all. It was like a huge hotel lobby and at the back there was a long bar. This was unusual because this is a self-contained spa entrance. I can’t think of any spas I’ve visited where it feels like you could be starting a night out. I’m not complaining, it’s actually crossed my mind before that some spas are too sober – for many a group of girls who want an accompanying drink as they let their hair down. We were given a welcome, non-alcoholic juice blend, which was delicious, and talked through the treatments we’d like with a therapist. Then we were taken through to the next room which was very spa like, with women in bathrobes reading magazines on sofas, fruit bowls, water and ‘healthy stuff’ all around. So, with the two very different rooms, you have the best of both worlds! Facilities include a pool, sauna, steam room and hydropool – they are a tad tired but perfectly enjoyable. The lockers were easy to operate with a code and no need for cars or keys. Towels, slippers and robes are provided for comfort.
I had an hour-long combination treatment including a facial and massage. My mum, my plus one pal for the day, opted for the same. It was bliss. I felt as though I’d had a proper facial and massage even though it was combined into one treatment. My therapist was Holly and she gave me one of the best neck and shoulder massages I’ve ever had. She asked what pressure I wanted and listened, it was indeed firm, exactly as I like it. My shoulders are full of knots and she kneaded them with real dedication. I could tell she enjoyed what she was doing. She was fantastic. The products used were Elemis. They were divine, and at the end I was given a card with a list of items used but there was no accompanying hard sell. Mum’s therapist was Molly and she said she was super too. Part of our package was afternoon tea. I defy you to eat the cakes on offer – there are so many. Trust me, I can eat cake with the best of them, so no complaints there. What we didn’t eat we were offered in a takeaway box; another lovely touch. For the afternoon tea, you are taken back to the first room with a bar, but it had the air of a spa now with other ladies in robes lusting after their three tiers of cakes and sandwiches. You can upgrade to include a glass of Prosecco for a treat and there are salads and other options on the menu as well.
Perfect. To paint the scene, I’m a mum of a one and two-year-old, balancing TV work between Scotland and London; relaxed I was not. But as we left I looked at mum in the car and we laughed. “I feel really relaxed, do you?” I asked? She did too. The combination of atmosphere, top treatments and indulgence did the trick. I’d worried that a day, or around 10am to 3pm, wouldn’t be long enough but Norton is a special place, because rejuvenate it did.
Ladies, run like the wind doth blow and to Norton go!
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