A spa day is the epitome of escapism. Getting away from the stress of everyday life – particularly after living through a pandemic – to be thoroughly pampered is the best way to recharge your batteries and, frankly, be a little selfish. 

Yet to achieve true escapism you don’t have to travel very far and a 45-minute car journey from Glasgow brings you to the new state-of-the-art spa at The Gailes Hotel in Ayrshire. Situated just outside Irvine, the hotel’s 2,000 square metre Si! Spa has recently reopened following a £2 million makeover. 


We arrived on a rainy Sunday and headed straight for the thermal suite, a stylish relaxation area that includes a sauna, steam room, rainforest shower, and vitality pool. With atmospheric lighting and my phone locked away in the changing room, I was so relaxed that I nearly missed my scheduled spa treatment – a massage and facial that used luxury Espa and Ishga products.

Suffering from the kind of upper backache that most of the home-working kitchen table workforce will sympathise with, I hoped that a deep tissue massage would leave me feeling refreshed. That was exactly what I got, with the combination of hot stones and firm pressure banishing my backache after just half an hour. Then came a facial and therapeutic scalp ritual which left me with delightfully glowing skin.
From there, we headed outside to the hotel’s open-air spa experience, with custom-built decking offering views over the golf course and a collection of sun loungers in case the sun made an unexpected appearance.

We were delighted to have the sunken outdoor hot tub to ourselves, enjoying that sensation of feeling smug and warm within the water despite the weather being decidedly chilly. Thinking the spa experience was over we started to head back inside, but the lovely staff brought out a sorbet and a fresh fruit smoothie which we enjoyed under the glow of the in-built heaters. 

We then headed back to our room – a conveniently short walk from both the spa and restaurant – where we changed for dinner in the hotel’s Coast restaurant. Fortunately, we opted for loose-fitting options as the portions were some of the most generous I have ever been served. A starter of salt and chilli-battered chicken included six huge pieces of chicken breast, while the prawn cocktail had two dozen prawns and plenty of bread. No scrimping on portions here. For our mains we opted for a butter chicken curry (served with wild basmati rice, homemade flatbreads, mango chutney and cucumber raita), and a buttermilk chicken burger (with honey and sriracha sauce, French fries and three massive onion rings). Both were delicious.

Our waiter, Frazer, was incredibly friendly and reassuringly attentive when it came to my nut allergy, which I had flagged up when we booked the trip. He had checked with the kitchen that every ingredient I was being served was nut-free, meaning I could relax into my food coma without any allergy concerns. And despite the big portions, I manged to valiantly order a dessert of Baked Alaska, made with Isle of Arran white chocolate ice cream. It was every bit as indulgent as I hoped for.

Breakfast the next morning was one of the best we’ve ever tasted: creamy scrambled egg, vegetarian sausages, potato scones, beans, tomatoes and freshly-squeezed orange juice. We left feeling refreshed, recharged, and wondering how soon we could justifiably book another spa break.

Supporting around 250 local jobs, SimpsInns has invested over £2.5m across its portfolio of venues around the Ayrshire coast to enhance the quality and overall visitor experience. The family-owned The Gailes Hotel has 42 luxury bedrooms, Coast Restaurant & Bar, GG’s Coffee Shop & Sports Lounge, a nine-hole golf course, and Toptracer driving range along with the new Si! Spa.

For more information on Si! Spa and to make a booking visit https://www.gaileshotel.com/si-spa, call 01294 316090 or email spa@gaileshotel.com