Located on the South West coast of Scotland in the historic county of Ayrshire is the independently owned Gailes Hotel and Spa. With an abundance of esteemed links golf courses on their doorstep and only minutes away from Irvine beach, the hotel is the perfect destination for those looking to relax or for those craving a little adventure. Reached by car from Edinburgh in under two hours, it is the ideal base for time-starved couples or those looking for a quick weekend getaway. Where there’s golf involved there is usually a spa nearby and after such a hectic few months, I was thrilled when The Gailes invited me for a stay to experience their acclaimed luxury spa facilities. Arriving at the hotel it was evident to see that the facilities are not only used by guests but returning local visitors which is always a good sign. After a prompt check-in with the friendly reception staff, we made our way to our designated room.
We were residing in one of the hotel’s standard accommodations; Room 30 which was located on the first floor towards the back of the hotel. The adequately sized room was adorned in differing hues of grey and pops of burnt orange, exuding a relaxed and contemporary feel. The king-size bed backed by a studded oversized headboard was backlit and had additional reading lights which provided a further cosy ambience. Tea/coffee-making facilities, along with a small flat-screen TV and complimentary WiFI are provided, which is a great addition for those who are travelling for business. A small bathroom with a shower sits adjacent to a desk/vanity area and a large mirrored cupboard for your items of clothing. Being on a higher level the room took in lovely views of the hotel grounds adorned with surrounding trees, a small body of water and the hotel’s wedding pavilion area. A separate zone with modern swivel seating and a small table was the perfect place to enjoy a drink whilst taking in those views. Whilst luxury is mentioned numerous times on the website there were a few spots of wear-and-tear and tired-looking areas of the room which didn’t quite equate to that level of expectation, but I could only imagine that this will get better in time.
You don’t have to travel far to wine and dine, as attached to the hotel is the newly refurbished Coast Restaurant. Inspired by their seaside location, the space was awash with hues of blue along with touches of sun-bleached wood, quirky seating and numerous nautical touches. Impressive in size the restaurant has various distinct zones each with its unique vibe but still exuding those fun coastal details. After pursuing the extensive menu I couldn’t resist their 100% Scottish beef burger while my partner chose the peri peri burger, both served with onion rings and fries. Whilst it’s entirely obvious that these are not the most healthy options, we felt the fries and onion rings were slightly on the oily side but the meat itself was tasty and succulent. For dessert, we opted for the Simpsinns Sticky Toffee Pudding which was delicious however we sadly didn’t get the Isle of Arrant tablet ice cream detailed on the menu. The baked lemon meringue pie was tasty and uplifting and along with the surrounding crispy pastry and delicate whipped cream, it went down a treat. The Coast Restaurant is also where breakfast was served and unfortunately, this fell short of our expectations for a four-star hotel. Although there was a large variety to choose from, eggshell in the scrambled eggs and brown stained salmon was a little disappointing, however this only gives me an excuse to go back in the hope to try something better.
The Si! Spa located adjacent to the hotel in its very own complex is a wonderful space to forget all your troubles and experience some true relaxation. As soon as you walk into the spa you are greeted with the most beautiful calming scent and tranquil music. Also exuding those nautical influences, the reception takes centre stage, glowing in the most serene blue which almost makes you feel as if you’re in some kind of underwater sanctuary. Guests who book direct with The Gailes hotel enjoy a complimentary one-hour Thermal Suite Experience which can be booked during their stay. We took full advantage of this after breakfast which seemed a less busy time to experience the spa in all its glory. First up was the Thermal Suite which included a large jacuzzi, steam and sauna room as well as a number of beds for relaxing. The Thermal Suite emblazoned with blue light was beautifully clean and modern with plenty of space for guests to unwind. I could have stayed there for hours but waiting for me in the wings was my therapist ready to start my pre-booked spa treatment.
I had booked the ESPA Gentleman’s Tonic, a 55-minute treatment that targeted the back, neck, legs and feet. Ushered into a small tranquil room, my treatment started with a ritualistic breathing exercise with a bowl of steaming hot water and aromatherapy oils filling my nostrils. Before long I was having my back slowly exfoliated with ESPA body scrub along with a much-needed massage. This massage continued on my lower legs and feet which I have to admit was so good that I may have fallen asleep and snored at one point. Unfortunately, the spa treatment did not reflect the description detailed on the website, so I’d recommend checking what your treatment involves before booking and I’m sure one of their friendly staff will advise. But even though it wasn’t what I fully expected the treatment was absolutely fantastic nevertheless. Weary-eyed and fully de-stressed I was then led to the dimly lit relaxation room to enjoy a cup of herbal tea whilst calming sounds played in the background. In complete contrast, the adjoining Spa Lounge was bathed in light streaming in from large floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights. With a decor of pale blues, creams and exposed wood it was the perfect place to sit back, and enjoy a light lunch and a drink at its bar. Opening up onto a decked terrace the spa lounge impresses further with an outside jacuzzi and fire pit overlooking the hotel’s stunning grounds.
This was my first time in visiting Ayrshire and I’m very happy to have been asked to stay at The Gailes as I had heard so much about it and wanted to experience it for myself. From my short stay, I completely understand why visitors return and the appeal that it exudes but for some reason, I just couldn’t quite succumb to its charm. This of course is completely personal and I can still recognise why many guests would enjoy its location, friendly staff and the abundance of facilities on its doorstep. Having travelled to many numerous luxury hotels I was most impressed with how this hotel’s spa stood out amongst them and where I may not have thought about returning to the hotel itself, I would definitely pay a visit just for the spa alone.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 4/5
Customer Service – 4/5
Accommodation – 3.5/5
Cleanliness – 3.5/5
Food and Drink – 3/5
Spa Facilities – 5/5
PR Stay – All views are my own