Tag Archives: Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa

Paris Comes to Polmont

macdonald_incharya_21667Last 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 Carita sisters 2the 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.

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My Week in Beauty


Who knew that paradise had an outpost in Polmont of all places? Yes, almost halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh there is a spa which is as sumptuous and luxurious as any in either of the cities between which it nestles. The Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa may not be in the most prepossessing of surroundings but it is a haven of tranquility, with a restaurant that achieved a rare 8/10 from the Sunday Herald’s not-easily-impressed food critic, Joanna Blythman, very comfortable rooms, and – most importantly – it has a spa, which I visited for the first time on Monday.

The French beauty company Decleor had invited me

to try a treatment that is exclusive to the Macdonald chain of hotels and
spas – and it was certainly worth the trip. Paradise Escape is the name of this two-hour “spa journey” which harnesses the benefits of a Madagascan fruit called the boabab. This fruit has six times more Vitamin C than orange and is grown on trees that are 80% water and live for 100 years..

The treatment begins with a full-body exfoliation using boabab seeds which smoothe and rejuvenate the skin. Then it’s on to the paradise part of the experience: a back, neck and shoulder massage using warmed balms and Decleor’s unique massage tool, the “Acacia Massager” which provides an intense massage. A gentle facial follows, and during the mask part, the therapist massages the legs and arms.

I must say, I drifted off to sleep several times during the treatment (always a good sign) and positively floated back to my room afterwards. My lovely therapist, Amanda, gave me some great skincare advice and no hard sell products-wise, and couldn’t have done more to ensure that it was as relaxing as possible. Indeed, the whole spa set-up is designed to ensure that guests feel as pampered as possible: I was particularly impressed with the candle-lit relaxation room, where you can chill out before and after your treatment – which was every bit as luxurious as others that I’ve experienced in much swankier/more expensive hotels.

* The Paradise Escape treatment costs £110 from Monday-Thursday and £115 from Friday-Sunday and is available from Macdonald Spa Hotels.  Rooms at the Macdonald Inchyra Hotel & Spa start at 71, and there is currently a special offer on for an overnight luxury spa break

Being a natural-born sun-avoider who is happy to look pale, I am very popular with my tan-loving girlfriends since I often give them self-tanners to try out. My pal Siobhan has been using these products throughout our 22-year friendship so she was the ideal person to try a face tanner I was given a few months ago. Here’s her report on Sisley Self Tanning Hydrating Facial Care (£78):

“It has a nice light texture and has that adorable smell that some of their other skincare products have (I am thinking in particular of the Express Flower Gel which I was lucky enough to get from my sis a couple of years back). Anyway, it’s not like putting on a tanning product at all – a good thing. Having said that, it is so light in texture that I felt the need to apply a second layer of moisturiser over the top. The colour is pretty subtle and only started coming out after the second application – it suggests applying two-three times a week and I’d probably go for three. All in all very pleasing – I hadn’t used a face tan for a while so was quite tentative, but soon realised this was a subtle product in every way – smell, texture and colour-wise. A real treat to use for which many thanks!”


The most glamorous night – oh, okay, the only glamorous night – in the Scottish jazz calendar is the Glasgow Jazz Festival’s fundraising ball. This year’s event took place on Thursday and it was very unusual to be wearing a full-length gown, rather than jeans, while hanging out with jazzers.

It seemed the perfect occasion to debut the latest gorgeous eyeshadow palette I’d been sent.    Dior 5 Couleurs Croisette Edition in Aurora (£41; from May 14) may comprise Riviera-inspired shades but they seemed to suit my distinctly non-Riviera-like colouring; the gold, ochre and brown eyeshadows look terrific with blue eyes and blonde hair, while the slightly scary burnt orange adds warmth and works well with a coral or red lipstick. Thankfully, I had been sent a replacement Sisley Eyelid Shading Brush (£38.50) – I lost mine earlier in the week – or I’d not have done such a professional job on the eye make-up!

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