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Stepping into the pristine Guerlain Spa reception at the newly refurbished Caledonian hotel in Edinburgh, now called The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel is enough to make anyone feel special. The newest addition to the Scottish spa scene is part of an eye-watering £24 million makeover on the capital’s hotelier landmark. And as facelifts go, I’m impressed.
The lobby of the Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
On my winding journey through the hotel to the spa, I catch a glimpse of chandeliers the size of small family cars and a staircase that is most definitely begging for a Gone With The Wind re-enactment. Plush carpets soak up my every footfall - though ok, I'll be honest, there may have been occasional skipping due to excessive excitement. Yes it’s fair to say that the Caley, as its affectionately known locally, is looking rather dapper these days.
But beyond the Michelin starred chefs, gorgeous interiors, and corridors wide enough for nineteenth century ball gowns, it's the new Guerlain Spa which has me positively giddy with excitement. Sadly my own attire is a little short of a ball gown but it doesn’t stop me from feeling like a princess when I step out of the lift and into the glittering spa reception.
The reception of the Guerlain Spa in Edinburgh
Created by interior designer Jennie Lomax, the bright reception takes its inspiration from the original Guerlain Spa in Paris, which opened in 1939. And with vintage mirrors and a touch of crystal sparkle amidst the pristine interior it feels like I’ve stepped into a beautiful bygone era; albeit one with some modern touches. Lined up along one side are some of the amazing skincare products including those from the Orchidée Impériale range which are going to be used in the Prestige treatment; the treatment I am lucky enough to be testing. And with the £250 price tag of this facial, I count myself very lucky indeed.
Considered the granddaddy of all facials, this aims to transform the skin and firm and redefine facial contours. It uses Orchidée Impériale products which contains the molecular extract of three different types of orchids including the exquisite sounding Gold Orchid. Now in its Third Generation, Guerlain boffins have worked on this range for a staggering 13 years and believe it helps prevent aging and specifically to prolong and protect skin cells.
During the two-and-a-half hour facial, my skin will be treated to some 14 or so different products. This includes three different masks and a series of three sets of facial gymnastics. Yes, you read that right- gymnastics. This doesn't mean that Louis Smith is cha-cha-cha across my face, but rather muscles on my face are going to be pressed, squeezed, rubbed and pulled. And that’s not all because 60 per cent of the facial are made up of massage. You can see now why I was skipping.
A treatment room
I’m introduced to my beauty coach, which has me temporarily worried that I had misunderstood the gymnastics mentioned but swiftly realise this is what we call therapists in the world of Guerlain, and she shows me through to one of the three Guerlain treatment rooms, one is pictured above. And after the Versailles-like opulence of the reception, the rooms are surprisingly understated, chic and modern, although luxury isn't left out with the shower in my room being about the size of a tennis court.
Each treatment begins with a Guerlain Fragrance Journey which helps to work out how the end result of the treatment; the chosen scent will follow you throughout your treatment. After this I change into slippers and the world’s best ever dressing gown – which had also been spritzed with my chosen fragrance, I’m shown through to the relaxation room, seen here below. This was probably my favourite room in the spa with the gold curtains, dark wood and red lampshades giving a somewhat masculine vibe. And there’s pile of new glossies to flick through -none of your out-of-date dog-eared magazines here thank you very much.
The Relaxation Room
Now the Orchidée Impériale Prestige Treatment isn’t known as the facials of facials for nothing. There’s a fragrance-full footbath to begin with. And then there’s the sublime paraffin wax hand treatment; my hands are lowered into gloves full of fabulously warm, squishy paraffin which envelops my skin. Bliss. When it comes to the face, interestingly brushes are used for some parts of this treatment such as a Guerlain Kabuki brush which is used to apply the Secret de Purete cleanser. But so fine are the hairs of this brush and so gentle the technique, I wouldn’t have known that a brush was used at all. The gymnastic massage sets aims to pull the blood up to surface of the skin. These last longer than I expect them too and involve the beauty coach lifting and putting pressure onto specific points of the skin. And I can feel my skin respond each time.
One of the highlights of this treatment for me is the massage which is unbelievably relaxing. I’m told later by brand ambassador, the amazing Richard Hawkins, a man who knows everything about Guerlain, this is done at your heart’s resting heartbeat and it was positively hypnotic. Another section I loved is the gentle polishing exfoliator which is rubbed onto my skin, before being gently blasted by a flow of steam. This, I’m told, helps to loosen more dead skin cells thus revealing more radiance. And overall during the treatment the skin on my face was tingling and singing each time the Orchidée Impériale Serum in particular was applied.
Guerlain brand ambassador Richard Hawkins and me - check out how happy I am!
Afterwards my skin looked alien to me; it was positively bursting with radiance, smooth and particularly healthy post Winter. And specifically around my eyes, lines and wrinkles were banished. Now, there’s no getting away from it £250 is a healthy wedge of cash. However, that said it’s worth considering what you’re getting for you money. This is a lengthy treatment that treats all different parts of your body, with specific Guerlain techniques that have been honed for decades. And the result has had people asking me what I’ve done to my skin for days after the treatment. So The Caledonian and the Guerlain Spa is a real treat, a glorious way to spend an afternoon or day if you so desired. There's a variety of different treatments to choose from, including a lovely Mother's Day package, all I'm sure will be the ultimate in pampering. To find out more and to book either visit the Caledonain hotel's website, www.thecaledonianedinburgh.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 222 8836.