As soon as you turn into the driveway of the Archerfield Estate in East Lothian it feels like you have driven into another world…. a really chilled, beautiful, luxurious one. Whilst it is only about half an hour away from my house, it feels like a world away. I was here to visit Fletcher’s Cottage, the sublime spa based on the Archerfield Estate (www.archerfieldhouse.com), but after driving passed Archerfield House, The Walled Garden and the Wooden Lodges, I would have been very happy to stay for eternity…. not too much to ask?
I have been here twice before and the standards continue to be supremely high. I was first brought here by one of my old clients at work. It was such a treat and I vowed to be back with my two best friends. On that visit one of them told me I had ruined every other spa experience for them, as nothing could hold up to Archerfield…… on that day we promised to make a pilgrimage here again. To recall a conversation with one of their husband’s, I told him that all he had to do for his wife’s birthday was buy her a gift voucher for the spa at Archerfield and it would be THE best birthday present he could ever give her…. trust me. Quite simply I would love this place to be my second home.
Fletcher’s Cottage feels very different to anywhere I have been. It is an awesome combination of luxury, rustic-chic, eco-friendly log cabin and place of restoration. As soon as I walked in the door I was greeted with a warm friendly smile and offered a plush pair of slippers. This place smells relaxing, I was still sitting beside the front door filling in a health form with my details and I was instantly feeling at ease. To my right was a dainty glass including a fresh juice of pineapple, avocado, lime and apple….so refreshing.
I was walked around the spa to get my bearings before being walked down a corridor made of old local potato boxes and being shown to a individual changing room. This was no ordinary changing room. It had its own massive walk in shower with Aromatherapy Associates products for face, hair & body, hairdryer, GHD’s, toilet with pull chain, an array of fluffy towels and my own white towelling robe. Outside in the corridor there were wooden lockers to place belongings in.
Once I was changed I ambled through the reception to look at the range of product houses that are used at Fletcher’s Cottage. With products from Aromatherapy Associates, Voya, Spiezia Organics, Dr Levy, Beautitude and The Refinery there is a great opportunity to have a treatment personalised to your needs. The treatments menu includes facials, massage, body wraps, rasuls, Dr Rita Rakus treatments and indulgent bath huts (experience not to be missed and you will never be able to enjoy a regular bath again without feeling you are missing out). Everything on the treatment menu is very tempting.
My Therapist met me and walked me through to one of nine treatment rooms. These climate controlled rooms are individually decorated but all contain a super comfy massage bed that makes you want to fall asleep in it as soon as you lie down…… and then there is the heated blankets….divine. I loved that the windows had blinds but could look out to the beautiful garden outside. The natural light streamed into the room very nicely. I find that treatment rooms with no natural light can be very stale and depressing. These rooms are stunningly decorated and have a lovely feeling of space.
My therapist sat me down to go through my treatment and invited me to place my feet in a foot bath. I was looking forward to my Fletcher’s Cottage Spa Signature Treatment and she explained that it is bespoke to each person but includes Swedish deep massage movements, along with muscle stretches over the back, neck shoulders, feet and scalp. She asked if there were any areas that I felt were of particular concern…….. I said my neck and shoulders were a problem area …amongst others. I had explained that my skin is sensitive to some products and she discussed what would work well. We chose my massage oil from Spiezia Organics as I loved the smell of the body firming one. I then experienced one of the quickest 75 minutes ever. I say that but I had no conception of time… at all. Amazing.
Perfect massage, soothing background music, great pressure easing out the knots in my shoulders, beautiful aroma and the bed was soooooo comfy. It is the little things that make the Fletcher’s Cottage experience all the more enjoyable. I had explained that I had sore sinuses that day and I was presented with Eucalyptus on a tissue as I turned over. My therapist then performed some acupressure on my face to help with the sinuses. I am not one to fall asleep during treatments, I am more of a chatter… who would have thought… but I found myself drifting off a few times…bliss. As my massage bed was raised after the treatment and I faced towards the sunlight coming in through the window blinds, I felt utterly serene.
I slowly emerged from the room and walked towards the relaxation area which housed comfy sofas, chairs, open fires (for colder days) and a set of doors that opened out to the garden. I chose my spot and was greeted by a refreshing berry smoothie and fresh fruit. I gazed out the doors and thought this is a great way to come to. If I had had the where with all I could have read a newspaper or magazine and sipped sherry or champagne. I was happy with my smoothie. There is also a private relaxation room which has two chair beds with duvets, if you are looking for a further chillout.
I didn’t rest too long as I was too excited to get to the Marine Steam Room and Aroma Sauna. In this area of the spa you can choose a brightly coloured cloth to wrap around you and you can leave your towelling robe outside. I went for the Marine Steam Room first with its respiratory benefits, as I felt this would be perfect for my sinuses let alone the general well being of my body. This was a perfect hot temperature and the steam did not include any annoying drips form the ceiling!!
When I came out, I kept my hydration levels up with a cool bottle of water from the fridge. There was also an ice sink which you could use ice to rub on your face and body… I decided to avoid this, purely because I was enjoying the heat too much. I moved on to the Aroma Sauna. I loved this space. Not only did it look out onto the garden it also uses herbs from the garden. There is something about a sauna with natural daylight that makes the experience a hundred times better. The only downside was that I wanted to stay in it longer, no bad thing with the health benefits it brings.
Suitably massaged, stretched, detoxified and steamed, I headed back to my changing room…. although this time I chose a different one…just because I could. As I left Fletcher’s Cottage back out into the outside world, would it be too cliched if I said it felt like a better place? Perhaps, but I felt amazing. I felt like I was fresh back from a trip to unwind on an Antiguan beach and was ready to face anything. I know that I will be back again… 100% with friends and hopefully to stay in one of the stunning lodges or accomodation on the Archerfield Estate. I do believe the perfect stay would involve you staying on the estate after the spa and perhaps going back again for more the next day!!!
This place is stunning. The exposed wood, open fires, comfy seats, beautiful grounds to walk around, ambiance is amazing and everything about it oozes tranquillity. If you could bottle relaxation, Archerfield has all the ingredients. If you love spas, Fletcher’s Cottage will be your mothership. If you have never been to a spa before, come here and any other spa you try after will be a disappointment. Fletcher’s Cottage at Archerfield House is the first Spa to receive a Fifi Friendly 5*.
All photos except the Sauna picture were taken by Fifi Friendly. They really do not do the place enough justice. Get yourself yourself there to see/feel/love it yourself.