NATURAL RETREATS HIGH ON CHRISTMAS WISH LIST

image003WITH Christmas just a few weeks away and experience days topping female lists for Santa, VisitScotland has the perfect way to pamper the women you love this Christmas.

With almost a third of all spending being done online[2], VisitScotland has selected a range of nature inspired retreats to help Northern Ireland gift buyers chose a present in Scotland for those they love this Christmas.

Whether you are buying for your sister, mother aunt, friend, girlfriend or wife, Scotland has a range of relaxing and revitalising experiences on offer from yoga and unique craft making in breathtakingly beautiful surroundings, to luxurious spas and world renowned resorts in tranquil countryside.

As we head into Homecoming Scotland 2014, a year when Scotland will welcome the world to celebrate outstanding active and natural resources, the very best of Scottish food and drink, creativity, culture and, why not visit and embrace all that 2014 has to offer?

Highlights of Scotland’s festive treats include:

The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa, Old Station Road, St Andrews

Steeped in history this Home of Golf hotel is reaping the rewards of a massive revamp. The world-famous Old Course Hotel and Spa has the first KOHLER spa experience outside the USA, offering a truly world-class spa experience with the highest levels of personalised care and luxurious treatments. Treatments include the ‘Highland Fling’ couples massage and the Neat Feet pedicure, to the new Hammam Ritual and ‘Soul to Sole’ Body Treatment. The hotel’s spa also has a 20-metre swimming pool with cascading waterfall, rooftop hot tub, thermal suite with hydrotherapy pool, poolside relaxation area and fitness suite.

Treatments start from £92 http://www.oldcoursehotel.co.uk/spa

Wild Rose Escapes: Higher Crochail, Cannich, Beauly, Inverness-shire

Wild Rose Escapes is based in Strathglass, with views towards Glen Affric. With Loch Ness just down the road, it is the perfect place to escape to. Rosie and Alex run week long yoga, walking and craft retreats. They also run shorter weekend retreats and courses, hen parties and prehistoric cookery weekends. A Wild Rose Escapes retreat combines beautiful local accommodation, delicious healthy home cooked meals, creativity, stunning landscapes and a relaxing atmosphere.

Weekend courses start from £120 up to £895 for week long retreats. www.wildrose-escapes.co.uk

Macdonald Marine Hotel and Spa, North Berwick, East Lothian

Renowned for its beautiful coastal setting and situated along the John Muir Way, the new national pathway opening in 2014 from Dunbar to Helensburgh, the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa boasts stunning 19th century Victorian architecture and a luxurious spa complex. From advanced anti-ageing facials to aroma envelopments, relaxing full body massages to hot stone treatments, there’s something for everyone. The award winning John Paul Restaurant is the perfect finish to a pampering day, serving the finest local Scottish produce, within a an elegant, richly decorated dining room.

Spa packages start from £45 per person. www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/marine.

These perfect gift experiences are only a short flight away. Northern Ireland air routes cover various cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Prestwick, Inverness and Aberdeen from local airports, George Best Belfast City Airport, Belfast International Airport and City of Derry Airport. Additional easy access routes from Northern Ireland to Scotland include short ferry trips from Belfast to Cairnryan and Larne to Troon and Cairnryan. For more festive Scottish gift ideas, go to www.visitscotland.com.

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