One of the best things you can do with your clothes off in Edinburgh is to stand under a cool drizzle - it's simply one of the latest hi-tech treatments on offer at One, the city's newest spa.
One of the best things you can do with your clothes off in Edinburgh is to stand under a cool drizzle. Not in some ancient body-mind-environment sort of way, you understand. Or even as a masochistic method of cellulite reduction (though you never know). It's simply one of the latest hi-tech treatments on offer at One, the city's newest spa.
After a 10-minute stint in the rustic-looking rock sauna and a similar sojourn in the "laconium" (cool room, hot seats), a spritz of soft, mint-scented "drizzle" in one of the nearby showers is the closest thing to heaven this side of a week in the Caribbean.
British spas may have started out all clinical and curative, places where ailments were healed through rigorous diet and exercise, but these days it's more about luxury. And One spa is among the most sophisticated in the country.
Just about everything has been thought of. Don't like undressing in front of strangers? There are comfortable personal changing rooms. Don't like having to carry that big, fluffy towel around with you? Enormous body driers outside the showers eliminate the need for them. In fact, the only thing that hasn't been included is someone to carry you round the spa.
Arriving at One after a frantic pre-Christmas week at work, I tucked my scruffy tracksuit bottoms and battered trainers into one of the futuristic-looking lockers and, stepping into the enormous plastic slippers provided, flip-flopped my way round to the pool. With cream paintwork, wooden steps and enormous glass windows, the surroundings may have been stylish, but I certainly wasn't feeling at one with them. When my electronic wrist strap failed to work the security gates, I was left shivering outside the pool area, looking at all the blissed-out people inside.
Fortunately, an attendant came to my rescue and I was soon in the pool, soaking in a personal jasmine-scented bath and splashing my way to the outdoor mineral pool.
I underwent a sensory transformation. Resting on the enormous submerged metal lounger, my head just above the surface of the water and cocooned on three sides by a beautiful cedarwood wall, I watched the hot steam rising from the pool, mesmerised as the wintry city lights twinkled in the distance. I'd just taken the best short cut I've yet found to inner calm.
And that's really the key to this spa. The swimming pool was fine (although its rough edges caused havoc with my bikini) and the E'spa treatments are among the best – and, with many of them two hours long, most thorough – on offer in the UK, but the outdoor pool and adjacent thermal suite set it apart from the competition.
A day out here is a bit like a round-the-world trip – from the sleek Manhattan-style locker rooms to an intricately tiled hammam, where tiny ceiling lights fool you into thinking you're under a starry Middle Eastern sky and a personal rainforest-simulating shower. Oh, and just in case the homesickness sets in, there's that "cool drizzle" to remind you of Scotland.
One, 8 Conference Square, Edinburgh EH3 8AN (0131-221 7770, www.one-spa.net). Half-day membership, with use of all the facilities, costs £35 per person. Treatments from £28.Reuse content