The vitality pool.
The vitality pool.

Review: The Gailes Hotel & Spa, Irvine

Ellie Forbes swaps the hustle and bustle of Glasgow for a chilled-out break by the coast and it truly soothed the soul.


The beach is always a good idea in my book. Give me the salty sprays of the sea any day.

So I have decided to escape the city for a weekend by the coast to recharge the old batteries, and I’m headed to The Gailes Hotel & Spa, a family-owned four-star hotel, in Irvine.

Just minutes away from the beach, the hotel is surrounded by three excellent golf courses and boasts a pretty decent in-house restaurant, but the star of the show here is the gorgeous Si Spa.

It underwent  a £2 million makeover just a few years ago and it’s a real winner for even the most seasoned spa goer.

The Gailes is just a short walk from the beach.

Bedrooms at The Gailes Hotel.

After checking into our cosy and comfortable room, with a view overlooking The Gailes’ bandstand, where a wedding has just taken place, we head into Irvine to visits the hotel’s sister restaurant, The Potting Shed, for a spot of lunch.

The restaurant is spacious with fabulous, trendy decor, and a lovely outdoor seating area perfect for the summer. The menu is huge, so you are really spoilt for choice, with everything from breakfasts and brunch to sandwiches and loaded fries.

We share the Highlander fries, topped with peppery haggis, a blackened cajun chicken sandwich and a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel.

The Potting Shed.

A short drive back to the hotel, via a stop off at the beach, and we are heading to the spa.

You collect your fluffy robes and slippers from the reception before being guided through to the zen-like Thermal Suite, which is the main hub of the spa.

It’s a small area, with only a certain number of people allowed in at once, to keep the experience relaxing. 

A relaxation area with sun loungers is the centrepiece of the room with stairs leading to a large vitality pool. There is also a sauna and steam room, and the modern changing rooms were extremely well equipped and spacious. 

After an hour of luxuriating in the warm waters of the bubbling pool, we head back out to the main spa to wait for our treatments (a back, neck and shoulder massage and a facial). 

The spa’s thermal suite.

Si! Spa changing rooms.

The treatment rooms are stunning, not too cramped (nothing worse), and it’s not long before I am on the heated bed, surrounded by calming music and soothing aromas.

My highly skilled therapist talks me through the range of ESPA and ishga products she’ll be using for the treatments, both of which are pure bliss. 

A hot herbal tea and a lie down in the deep relaxation room afterwards, and then we are led to the bright, airy bar area, where everyone is still in their robes drinking refreshing smoothies and cucumber water.

Outside there is a decking area with a hydro pool which is sheltered from the wind, and more loungers where people (still in their robes) are enjoying lunch. 

The spa’s deep relaxation room.

The outdoor hydro pool.

It has the perfect relaxed atmosphere, exactly what you need to come back down to earth – especially if like me you are prone to dozing off during your treatment.

After a quick change back at the room, we headed back for dinner at the Coast Restaurant & Bar. The nautical-themed eatery offers a locally-sourced menu created by SimpsInns’ Executive Chef Gavin McGill and his team.

I opt for the seared scallops, with pea purée, black pudding and crisp parma ham, followed by an excellently cooked fillet steak, and delicious sorbet to finish.

Coast Restaurant dining area.

The hotel is busy, there was a wedding that evening, so breakfast the next day is buzzing. 

Thankfully the continental buffet is well stocked, with a good selection of pastries and fruit, and I order smoked salmon and scramble eggs from the hot food menu too.

The true highlight of the trip was, undoubtedly, Si! Spa. It’s a fantastic coastal spa and the perfect place to soothe the soul. I will be heading back down the coast for a visit very soon. 


The Gailes Hotel & Spa, Marine Dr, Irvine KA11 5AE.

The Potting Shed, 18 Kilwinning Rd, Ayrshire, Irvine KA12 8RU.


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