Just the tonic: World's first gin spa opens in Glasgow

After washing countless dishes, carrying heavy gifts and teetering around holiday parties in high heels, it may be time for some pampering.

If you are not ready to dive into Dry January then The Gin Spa could be just the tonic to help you feel relaxed after the festive season, cocktail in hand.

The world’s first gin-themed day spa has opened in Glasgow, offering holistic treatments using products full of botanicals found in gin.

According to HMRC figures, there are now more than 270 distilleries in the UK, with 45 opening in 2016.

With 131 distilleries based in Scotland, the increase has been linked with the rise in popularity of craft gin, with spirits from across the country hitting the market.

When The Distillery, a gin-themed bar and lodgings opened in London in 2016, it inspired Paul Reynolds, who owns Glasgow bar Gin 71, to open the world’s first spirited spa.

“Gin is very much on trend just now and there is definitely an interest in what else is happening with gin rather than just drinking it,” explains the 47-year-old.

After linking the botanicals used in spa products with those found in different gins, Paul decided to open the Gin Spa in Merchant City, Glasgow, in early December.

Working with JustBe Botanicals, the Edinburgh-based brand run by aromatherapist Gail Bryden provide the majority of products used in the spa.

Paul adds: “She makes all of our products using Scottish botanicals and natural creams and ointments to mix with. It was the perfect fit.”

Clients are introduced to the spa by therapists who use aromatherapy oils to gauge which scent best matches their needs – from invigorating scents to more relaxing blends.

Paul says: “It’s not a case where you would book a Swedish massage or a specific facial. The therapist will talk you through a six journey scents.

“So we try to figure out from scenting what journey you want to go on and what you want to get out of your experience.

“So they will use some scents, some aromatherapy oils on your pulse points to work out what works for you and once we’ve got that, we give you three inspiration cards for you to think about during your treatment.”

Of course, gin features heavily in the relaxation process, with the majority of treatments offering a complimentary cocktail or gin and tonic using the spa’s chosen spirit of the month, as well as aromatherapy chocolate matched to botanicals used in the spa.

A waiting list of gin houses and distilleries is already in the works and Paul explains Eden Mill gin distilled in Guardbridge, Fife, is next to feature in the spa.

While most spas offer water as a refreshment after a treatment, Paul recognises that some clients may not want to sip of on a gin and tonic straight after a massage.

“What we do say to people that holistic therapies and drinking alcohol don’t necessarily go hand in hand so if people don’t want to have their gin and tonic at the end, we give them a little Eden Mill cocktail box to takeaway home with them,” he explains.

“We also work with another company called Teetotal Gin and Tonic, it tastes like a gin and tonic in a bottle but there is actually no alcohol in it.”

The Gin Spa has proven to be a hit with clients already, with the spa taking hundreds of bookings within days of launching.

Yet Paul is keen to stress the gin-spiration behind the spa does not detract from the overall experience, adding the Gin Spa is not a gimmick.

“What we want to happen is we don’t want to be not to be taken seriously for our holistic approach, we don’t want it to be seen as a gimmick and we want people to know that we really do know what we’re doing,” he says.

“If you want something that is different and special that is a five-star experience without a five-star price point, and you love gin, it’s a great way to spend some time.

“It’s a real escape from the city.”

Source: Glasgow & West

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