Set in the rolling countryside of the Scottish borders, a little over an hour’s drive from Edinburgh or Newcastle, SCHLOSS Roxburghe is a celebration of cosy luxury, where rest and recuperation greet you in many forms.
The classic country estate, which once played host to ‘The Young Pretender’ Bonnie Prince Charlie, has just emerged from an extensive renovation, combining its fascinating history with an expansive new spa and 58 additional rooms bursting with classic charm. From lazy laps in the indoor-outdoor pool, a Royal-worthy array of local food and drink, plus an impressive programme of pulse-raising country sports (including a famous Championship golf course), here’s why it’s time to escape to the Scottish borders for your next spa break.
WHAT TO PACK
Expanding a hotel where the magic traditionally revolves around its fairytale-like historic house is no easy feat. Yet, from first sight of the new-and-improved SCHLOSS Roxburghe you can tell every detail has been thoughtfully considered. With the modern extension skilfully hidden from view as you come up the drive, the sprawling lawns and turreted exterior still take you back in time and, as you step into the tartan-carpeted, historic painting-adorned halls, all thoughts of the hustle and bustle of city life quickly drift away. You might just find yourself sinking straight into a cosy chair at the 1745 Bar for a post-travel tipple.
Room key in hand, you’ll either ascend up the traditional wood-varnished staircase that retains its majestic aura, or via a blink-and-your miss-it transition to the new contemporary wing. Here there’s large, light-inviting windows that reveal a peak at the spa and a bustling restaurant. Yet, despite all the facilities of more modern stays, the extension seamlessly blends with the original building so you never feel like you’ve lost your arrival’s welcoming, history-infused charm.
If emerging from a deep sleep in a four-poster bed surrounded by grand fireplaces, Scottish tartans and oak furnishings sounds like your traditionalist dream, then a stay in the historic manor house rooms still doesn’t disappoint. But, there’s plenty of new magic to be found within the extension’s Estate House rooms too, which offer a little more modern comfort. From the outside corridor, there’s more of a traditional hotel feel but as you step inside, you’ll benefit from fresh, homely decor and particularly breathtaking views across the estate. In either location, you’ll need to book a suite to have a long stress-relieving bath, but dogs are more than welcome wherever you stay. In fact, a dog basket and homemade treats will be waiting when you arrive.
For anyone seeking more privacy, or for small groups and families, 12 new self-catering cottages have just opened too. Set within the estate’s woodland, from here you gain the best access to the Championship golf course and all the other sporting activities on offer. Golf buggies can keep your steps down should you wish. For something extra special, book the cottages with their own private sauna – the perfect way to release tension after 18 holes.
This is not the kind of spa that hides you away from your surroundings – in fact, it celebrates them. The large 1,100 square metre space is designed to look across the grounds with floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the light as you recline on the impressively plentiful choice of loungers. If the thought of an outdoor pool in the UK causes some trepidation, especially with inside surroundings as cossetting as here, never fear – the pool is bath-water warm, has LED lighting, and you walk into it from inside the building.
Other spa facilities are also positioned to maximise your enjoyment of the country landscape. We’d recommend a dip in the outdoor jacuzzi where you can read with the birds chirping in the background, followed by the aromatic sauna where you can choose from three tailored aromatic scents designed to ease you into deeper relaxation. For further health benefits, steal your nerves and enter the plunge pool (its not ice cold, we promise), and then straight to the Finnish dry sauna which – as it’s part-sunken into the ground – provides the allusion of being cocooned by the hills around you.
For treatments, there are three spacious rooms where you can leave your stresses and tensions behind, with soft-handed, knowledgeable therapists making full use of Aromatherapy Associates’ award-winning treatment menu. (We would love to see the inclusion of Scottish brands in the coming years too, for a truly authentic experience).
The hot stone massage comes highly recommended, especially if the weather outside promises to be a little less than summery, or amplify the effects of being out in nature with the Forest Therapy facial. This clever treatment mirrors the way in which clean country air can bring a refreshed glow to your complexion and spirits, with deeply cleansing products on hand to remove city-borne pollution. A massage for your body and scalp can be added on too, which both destresses and avoids you leaving with any remaining muscle tension from the outdoor activities you may have tried.
Food + Drink
SCHLOSS Roxburghe is the epitome of service with a smile, and a large helping of local knowledge to boot. In the morning you’re met with a hearty buffet breakfast that’s included in the room price, plus a further à la carte menu, so everything from a Full English, syrup-drizzled pancakes and avocado on toast is on hand to wake-up your taste buds. You’ll want to save room for the exceptional Champagne afternoon tea though. Served in the historic drawing room, the pairing of refillable finger sandwiches, and traditional scones with sweet treats inspired by the local area rivals many a London hotel in presentation and scale.
For lunch or dinner, head to Charlie’s Restaurant – another nod to the historic house’s heritage. A celebration of produce from the estate itself and the wider Scottish Borders, it’s described as ‘Scottish bistronomy’, which means simple, seasonal ingredients elevated by fine dining-level techniques. Whatever they call it, the food is sure to bring a smile, including traditional favourites such as the rather delightful fish, chips and mushy peas. Or, to truly elevate your experience, book in at SunLaws for a full seven course tailored menu with accompanying wine flight. The menu changes regularly to reflect freshly caught meat and fish, plus seasonal vegetables, but what stays consistent is a commitment to moreish, well-rounded flavours that will have you pleading for the chef’s top-secret recipes.
The Little Extras
As you’d expect from any worthwhile countryside outpost, the hotel offers a full array of country sports to get your adrenaline pumping. First among them, is the impressive 18-hole golf course (the Scots invented golf after all), which is one of the best ways to take in the estate’s rolling hills and impressive viaduct nearby. You can also try your hand at archery, which provides fun for all ages, or take the opportunity to attempt catching your evening meal at a fly-fishing lesson with the exceptionally friendly and experienced team. The clay pigeon shooting centre has been refurbished too, with 10 new traps, meaning whether you are an experienced shot or complete beginner, it’s a memorable way to complete your Scottish borders experience.
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