The Glasgow-based Gin Spa has had a little upgrade recently. It has been my go-to place for treatments when I’m in the city so I jumped on the chance to go and see the changes myself, and let’s be honest, who can say no to a free spa day!? Gin Spa is the first ever gin-inspired botanical day spa. The spa is based in the Merchant City, next door to Cup Tea Rooms (also known as Gin71), making it very convenient for you to follow the treatment with an afternoon tea or a lunch.
What is a Gin Spa?
The Gin Spa is an urban day spa, meaning it only has treatment rooms and a cosy new relaxation area where the gin is served after your treatment. The new decor includes sparkly carpet flooring, furry seating and Art Deco style tables, making the room very comfortable all year round. As it is an urban spa, there is no pool or sauna. That’s not to say the Gin Spa is any less impressive – their treatments are excellent!
They use a selection of Scottish botanical products from Edinburgh-based JustBe Botanicals, which are all handmade in Scotland using pure and natural ingredients. The botanicals used in the products match well with the gins served at the spa. “How would you like to feel?” is the first question you are asked at the beginning of the spa experience. The team really understand their botanicals and offer bespoke treatments and tips based on your needs and your skin type. For example, lavender and cloves are good for aching muscles, or to lift your spirits, botanicals such as bergamot and pink grapefruit will do the trick.
I opted for the 60-minute signature facial, which is my favourite treatment at the Gin Spa. It includes a double cleanse, facial scrub, massage, cold stones, mask, eye treatment, arm and shoulder massage and much more. If you are short of time, I also recommend their 40-minute mini facial.
At the beginning of the treatment, we had a chat about how I felt about my skin and what I would like to achieve from the treatment. Based on the consultation and treatment, your therapist will make a suggestion for your next treatment and recommend a product, which can be purchased at the end. They aren’t pushy about upselling, so there is no pressure to buy anything. My recommendation was the 60-minute head massage, which starts with a back, neck and shoulder massage. I’ve tried it before and it is very relaxing, especially if you are prone to headaches. Just don’t make plans for afterwards as you will leave the spa with an oily scalp and messy hair (yes, I’m talking from experience…).
After the facial I was guided to the new relaxation area where the gin menu was waiting. Not only do they have a wide variety of gins, they also offer a range of tonics and other mixers. The receptionist will offer pairing recommendations if needed. You can sit back and relax with the G&T for a good while, or if you are heading for an afternoon tea, you can enjoy the gin at the Cup Tea Rooms. You also have the option of taking away a sample to be imbibed at home. And, of course, they offer mocktails and other non-alcoholic options.
I was with a friend, so we had a morning tea with our G&Ts at the tea room. The snacks were tasty, and you could have unlimited tea from the tea menu. I’ve previously tried the afternoon tea (I actually prefer it to the morning tea) as well; it is definitely worth it post-treatment. It gives you time to relax, enjoy a selection of teas and snacks and catch up with a friend.
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After the facial I did feel rather oily, shiny and relaxed. After about half an hour, my face was feeling a bit sweaty as the facial included a gentle massage of reflex pressure points (as well as the shoulder massage), which clearly worked and helped to remove toxins from the body. I recommend you don’t make many plans for after this type of treatment, or at least give yourself more time to relax afterwards. Don’t forget to stay hydrated!
It was a great experience, even though the gin really is secondary. I try to visit the spa every time I am in Glasgow as the treatments really are that good. Now that the space is bigger, you can even organise a proper outing with friends as the spa will be able to accommodate larger groups.
The Gin Spa, 2 Virginia Court, Merchant City, Glasgow
Disclaimer: My treatment was complimentary.