Last year I reported on a fabulous spa experience I had at the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa, halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Well, I’ve been back for a second helping of the heavenly spa treatments on offer there – but this time I fulfilled a long-held ambition to try out a facial created by the Carita sisters, Rosy and Maria, who established the celebrated Carita Maison de Beaute on the rue du Faubourg St Honore in Paris back in the 1950s. The sisters started their beauty career as hairdressers, but broadened their remit out so that their “house of beauty” was a complete beauty destination, where skincare, bodycare, make-up and hair needs were catered for. Carita is a now a venerable French institution: the products are famous and the actual beauty house, where the sisters set themselves up as “artisans of beauty”, has seen everyone from Hollywood and European movie stars to royalty pass through its doors.
Over the course of my career, I’ve interviewed beauty gurus who have spoken about the Carita sisters with the sort of reverence that is reserved for the true greats in any business. The siblings not only kept abreast of hair and make-up fashions by working with young avant-garde designers of their age, the future greats of haute couture, but they also established a school where their protégées included the likes of Laura Mercier and Terry de Gunzburg – renowned make-up artists who are now known the world over for their very user-friendly make-up brands.
At the heart of Carita, however, are its Haute Couture Beauty treatments which are the ultimate in luxurious skincare. At the Inchyra last month, I was treated to the Carita Renovateur, an iconic facial which the sisters developed in 1956. It was so relaxing that I, of course, spent the 70 minutes in a state of bliss and could not possibly begin to tell you the many steps of this treatment since I was on another planet throughout… What I can tell you, however, is that the results were amazing: my complexion was completely refreshed and revived, and I felt that the facial – which used a signature blend of sunflower seeds and essential oils – was still producing a radiant effect for days afterwards. (Thankfully, the sunflower seeds stopped turning up behind my ears and in my hair after the first night!) The key aspect of the Renovateur is the way in which its initially wet texture transforms into a powder when it’s slowly massage into the skin, leaving a vitamin-infused veil on the complexion.
I hope to get back to the Inchyra and work my way through some of the other treatments (Carita and Decleor) that are available in its sumptuous spa. For an escape from the city, this is a great location – easily reached by train from both Glasgow and Edinburgh – and the hotel has a top-rated restaurant (five-star steaks) and lovely chilled-out bar. One night merely whets the appetite for further indulgence …
* Rooms at the Macdonald Inchrya Hotel & Spa cost from £225 per night. Currently, there is a summer spa break offer available here.