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Crerar Hotels’ boss confirms strong demand for post-lockdown pampering

spa breaks
Thainstone House Hotel general manager Scott McDonald.

Interest in spa breaks at Scotland’s hotels is bouncing back strongly after being hit by the impact of Covid-19.

Crerar Hotels says demand for its own is now as positive as it was pre-pandemic. Spas are a “key segment” of the Scottish company’s business, and its spa breaks have continued to grow in popularity in recent years.

The firm is spending around £1.5 million this year on its spas, which it says offer a haven from busy everyday life.

Rachael Birchenough spa and leisure manager at Thainstone House Hotel.

Chief executive Chris Wayne-Wills told The Press and Journal: “Our spa breaks started again when hotels reopened, and restrictions lifted in April.

“Treatments available were dependent on restrictions at the time, but we’re delighted to now be able to offer all our treatments to guests.

“But we still have precautions in place as guest safety is our top priority. Guests are asked to complete track and trace on arrival, masks are worn, and enhanced hygiene and cleaning in line with our Crerar Cleanliness Commitment is in place.”

Spa therapist Hattie Black in a treatment room at Thainstone House Hotel.

Mr Wayne-Wills said customer reaction to spa breaks being on offer again was positive, particularly at Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa due to the launch of Driftwood Spa creating a complete island retreat.

He added: “Our other spas are closer to major cities, with Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa just 1.5 hours from Glasgow, Thainstone House close to Aberdeen and Golf View Hotel & Spa near Inverness, as well as Oban Bay Hotel. They all provide opportunities for people to escape the city for relaxing breaks.”

People are looking for a chance to unwind after what has been a stressful year for many, and want to catch up, relax and connect with friends.”

Demand for spa breaks is on the rise, Crerar’s CEO said, adding: “We’ve seen high search volumes, with a monthly average of 95,000 searches on Google for spa breaks.

“We have been following this demand and watching it increase month-on-month, and predict increased interest and pick-up across our properties, particularly with our new spa offerings across the portfolio.

“People are looking for a chance to unwind after what has been a stressful year for many, and want to catch up, relax and connect with friends.”

Golf View Hotel, Nairn.

Crerar was founded by Paddy Crerar in 2005 and has seven four-star and five-star properties across Scotland. In addition to the hotels already mentioned in this article, the portfolio also includes the Deeside and Glencoe inns.

Mr Wayne-Wills said the company had always offered spa breaks in some form, but had developed its offering over the years in response to growing popularity as well as new developments, trends and the introduction of new treatments.

‘Havens from busy everyday life’

He added: “Spa is a key segment of the business. People visit our hotels for various reasons – from exploring parts of the country and hillwalking to events and simply looking to get away from it all.

“Our spas offer havens from busy everyday life – for example, the chance to unwind after a long week of work – and they represent more than simply massages and facials. Our spas actively promote wellbeing, from mental relaxation to physical activities.

“Our teams will help people out by providing locations for walks in fresh country air, or to go wild swimming and much more. Combined with the wellbeing element of the spa, we have fresh, local and seasonal cuisine on offer to ensure guests are properly refuelling.

Ongoing investment

“Understanding that spa travel is a key trend, with the likes of VisitScotland actively promoting wellness breaks in Scotland, we have introduced the Hidden Garden Spa at the Glencoe Inn, including a hot tub and sauna overlooking Loch Leven, as well as a private hot tub in our self-catering house at Glencoe – Island View.”

Crerar is continually working to enhance its spa offerings. Its CEO highlighted recent investment into Driftwood Spa on Mull, with more projects in the pipeline – like upcoming work at Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa and Golf View Hotel & Spa.

He added: “The spa journey will be seamless and one where the guest arrives into an atmosphere of complete relaxation, from special touches in the rooms to wellness tips and leisure activities. Our total investment on spas in 2021 will be approximately £1.5m.”

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