The Spa at Turnberry's infinity pool.
The Spa at Turnberry's infinity pool.

A wellness weekend in southwest Scotland

There’s something about being by water that makes my heart sing.

As we rolled up to Trump Turnberry, which has enjoyed vast views of the Firth of Clyde and Ailsa Craig for well over 100 years, I couldn’t help but breathe a little deeper.

Fresh sea air blew strongly, sending a Saltire flag high above the Golf Clubhouse, while the sun beat down on the striking 198-room hotel.

This luxurious venue sits proudly along Ayrshire’s coastline, and has done since 1906. Though it started out life as a Station Hotel and later served as a military air base, Trump Turnberry now serves as a luxurious playground for thrill-seekers in southwest Scotland.

These thrill-seekers come in many forms – as clay shooting, horse-riding, off-roading or water sports enthusiasts – but most come with golf clubs in hand, drawn in by the world-renowned Ailsa 18-hole golf course. But more on that later.

This time, I was looking for a more relaxing pastime to kickstart my weekend. I was heading for The Spa at Turnberry.

The Spa at Turnberry looks on to Ailsa Craig.

The Spa 

From our deluxe room, it was an easy walk through the winding hotel corridors to The Spa. (You can, if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, ask for a driver to take you there).

A new offering at The Spa has just been announced – Gelida Cryotherapy treatments (a favourite among celebrities including Judy Murray, Jo Wood and Pixie Lott) which is said to help reduce fat and firm and rejuvenate the skin using new technology and cold therapy.

But if, like me, you still prefer the warming sanctuary of traditional treatments, you can luxuriate in the comfort of full body massages, detox body wraps, hydrotherapy baths, or (my chosen treatment) a 75-minute ishga hot stone massage.

I was welcomed by a lovely spa receptionist who asked me to fill in a simple consultation form, detailing any allergies or problem areas that I’d like targeted during my massage. My shoulder blades and lower back are where I hold most of my tension, so I marked these down for my masseuse, Marianne, to take a look at.

The full body massage incorporates heated Basalt stones (which, Marianne informs me, are three times more effective at relaxing the muscles than manual massage alone) and aims to relax the mind, reduce body tension, and open up energy pathways. After a busy spell of deadlines and breakneck speed visits to all corners of Scotland, I was ready to surrender to Marianne’s expertise.

The Relaxation Suite.

The scent of the spa’s Relaxation Suite was lovely, but wasn’t a patch on what was to come. For the uninitiated, ishga’s range of organic Scottish seaweed skincare products are truly heavenly. I began on my front, lying on an exquisitely comfortable massage table, and Marianne started working on my feet and legs, using ishga’s seaweed-based Invigorating Body Oil which has a blend of lavender, rose, geranium, juniper and lemongrass essential oils. It was a challenge to stop myself from falling asleep in this blissful oasis of calm.

As Marianne made her way up to my lower back, shoulders and neck, the heady aromas of ishga’s oil grew stronger and I fell even deeper into a state of relaxation –  the perfect time for attacking those nasty knots! I had requested a firm pressure, which is exactly what I got. Marianne, who first started working at Turnberry in the 90s, knew exactly where to target, and managed to strike the perfect balance between calm movements and deep tissue massage.

For the second half of the treatment, I was on my back with a refreshing, cooling towel over my eyes. Marianne worked on my feet, shins, thighs, arms and hands, (which, with the best will in the world, were in serious need of TLC at the end of a long winter).

As with any thoroughly enjoyable massage, you blink and it’s over. Seventy-five minutes felt like 15, but I did come away feeling looser and calmer, and my skin was deeply moisturised.

Plush sofas awaited in the Relaxation Suite, along with herbal teas, a lemon sorbet, and kombucha health shot to see me on my way. I then headed to the outdoor seating area, enveloped in my fluffy white robe, to watch the starlings dancing along the skyline.

The Golf

‘This is a golfer’s paradise.’ My plus one was beaming as we stepped out of Turnberry’s revolving doors to the breathtaking view of the resort’s golf offering.

He is, of course, absolutely right. Trump Turnberry has long been known as a lavish Mecca for golfers.

It was postcard perfect as the sun lit up the undulating green fairways of Trump Turnberry’s three golf courses which run alongside the rugged Ayrshire coastline.

There was a buzz around the Clubhouse as players of all ages and nationalities arrived to soak up the experience. The Clubhouse walls were lined with photographs, documenting the illustrious history of this golf resort which is a four-time host of The Open Championship.

Some of the sport’s biggest names and personalities have battled it out on these links to get their hands on golf’s most coveted prize – The Claret Jug. He might not have been up against Tom Watson and Stewart Cink, but how did my plus one fare on the Arran course?

Strolling out onto the first tee, he was keen to create his own chapter of history at Turnberry. The nine-hole course might not have the reputation or size of its big sister courses – the world-renowned Aisla or King Robert the Bruce – but the par-31 course is still a challenge for any golfer and offers an exciting mixture of holes in full view of Turnberry’s famous lighthouse.

My plus one regaled me with his favourite holes and shots and left with his head held high, having not lost any golf balls (or so he tells me!)

If a full round of golf isn’t for you, there are impressive practice facilities including a driving range and a ‘Wee Links’ pitch and putt which can be a fun way for you and your loved ones to unwind.

Looking on to the famous golf courses and Turnberry Lighthouse.


A Day Spa Experience at The Spa at Turnberry starts from £95 and includes full use of the facilities. The 75-minute ishga hot stone massage is priced at £175.
For more information, please visit their website