A Surprise Spa Day in St. Andrews

The Old Course Hotel

When you think of St. Andrews, Scotland, the first thing that likely comes to mind is “world’s best golf.” Pressed for more associations, you might come up with craggy cliffs, historic ruins, beautiful countryside, haggis, and of course, scotch. But would “luxurious, unique, pampering spa” make the list?It should. Located in the glorious Old Course Hotel (right on the grounds of the famous golf course), the Kohler Waters Spa is an unexpected delight.

I took my dad to the Old Course for his 70th birthday. I don’t golf, so I assumed I’d wander around the town, drink some Irn-Bru, chase some sheep. But instead, I was able to spoil myself day after day with some of the best spa facilities I’ve experienced.

I admit, I am a spa junkie. But I try not to be too critical of any spa because, let’s face it, it’s kind of jerk-ish to complain about something that falls strictly into the “luxury, not necessity” category. But I could find few flaws here, even if I tried.

The treatments were very good. My lucky dad had his first-ever massage, and thought it was great (but of course he did). I had a facial, massage and body wrap, all of which were relaxing and therapeutic.

But the real draw of this spa is the spa itself. It’s beautiful, pristine, quiet, and modern. The ice-cold plunge pool is a pleasant shock to the system. The clover-shaped water feature in the pool area is both energizing and comforting, with a pattern of dancing, pulsing, and jetting streams that were designed to surprise. All spas claim to be sanctuaries, but this one really lives up to it.

The Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel is St. Andrews is a member of the Leading Spas of the World, and is one of only three spas in the United Kingdom with that designation. There are Kohler Waters Spas in the United States too (in Kohler, WI and Burr Ridge, IL), so you don’t have to travel to Europe to experience it. But why not? If you have a golfer in your life you want to treat, you’ll come off as utterly selfless by taking him or her to the Old Course… the spa will be your little secret.