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Style Focus: places to pamper in Edinburgh

Spas may feel like the ultimate indulgence, but they can offer some quick fix relaxation and restyling.

One Spa at The Sheraton
One Spa at The Sheraton

As much as I hate the word 'pampering', which conjures up an image of nappies and baby food, and those annual articles on how we have to ditch the tights and bare our legs for the sun, there is no escaping the fact that more flesh has to go on show when summer approaches.

Whether it's down to booking a holiday, or just coping with the shock to our Scottish systems when we face a temperature rise, normally covered skin will now be out in the open.

Summer is also the time for festivals, weddings and other outdoor events, so I've selected some of my favourite places in Edinburgh for beauty treatments, to get a new make-over or just to unwind from the throng of tourists in the city.

Spa at G & V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh, 1 George IV Bridge

With big bathrobes and towels in a Missoni signature striped patterns, visiting the spa at the former Missoni Hotel is a little taster of the Italian design house. The spa offers treatments that include Eve Lom and Natura Bisse facials, including their Carboxi Express facial - using oxygen and massage techniques to completely refresh and clear the skin.

The spa offers treatments that include Eve Lom and Natura Bisse facials, including their Carboxi Express facial - using oxygen and massage techniques to completely refresh and clear the skin.

One Spa at The Sheraton, 8 Conference Square 

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon than hanging out in an outdoor, rooftop spa, with a view to Edinburgh's Old Town. One Spa at The Sheraton is a very special place with a series of different heated treatment rooms to explore. You follow a route through rock and bio saunas, a laconium and tepidarium and rainforest showers, for a complete sensory experience.

The Edinburgh Beauty Quarter, 32 Lauriston Place

Old Hollywood comes to life in this beauty salon near the Edinburgh College of Art. The walls are adorned with black and white photos of Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe, and they screen old movies in the beauty rooms, which is definitely one way to take your mind off the pain of waxing.

Hothead Hair, 17 West Nicolson Street

Hothead is one of the funkiest hairdressers in the city, like one of those New York lofts with quirky mis-matched furnishings, and exposed brickwalls. I like the little touch of offering Tunnocks wafers while you wait for your hair to be cut and coloured by one of their senior stylists who expertly tailor the cut to the individual.

Pure Spa, 138 Lothian Road

Pure Spa is the first place in Scotland to offer the new Biotec Elemis facial which uses a special machine for 'anti-wrinkle, radiance and resurfacing'. Deep cleansing light therapy really feels like it's getting right in to clean the skin and it does seem to make a noticeable difference to problem or dull complexions.

Miss Dixie Belles, 19 Bruntsfield Place

Wishing for a transformation into war-time siren, a rockabilly or a 1950s Jayne Mansfield sex-pot? Miss Dixie Belles offers a complete retro makeover with vintage hair styling, make-up and nails, with a complete package for around £100. The stylish burlesque boutique with its chi-chi chandeliers, sells vintage-style dresses, corsets, What Katie Did bras and other pin-up pieces to aid in your new look.

Spa at Balmoral, 1 Princes Street

The great thing about going to the spa at the iconic Balmoral Hotel is that you get to use the gym and pool facilities before and after, or lounge by the pool with magazines and a glass of iced lemon or cucumber infused water. Billed as a 'sanctuary in the city,' the treatment rooms are incredibly soothing and relaxing, with many different massage and exfoliating packages on the menu.

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