When the email landed in my inbox inviting me to a retreat at Archerfield with luxury lifestyle brand Bamford, I knew I had to make it happen. I’ve visited Archerfield once for a media stay in their lodges and, having missed out on the spa then, this felt like the perfect opportunity to find out more about one of Scotland’s most prestigious yet down-to-earth golf and spa resorts.
As I approached Archerfield Estate around 9pm on an early summer’s evening in May, I found myself dreaming of a quiet life in the countryside. The drive through the little villages lined with low stone walls, and fields filled with sunny yellow rapeseed, highlighted the appeal of the simple life – especially after a 90-minute drive along the motorway. I parked at the the clubhouse and was driven to Marine Villa where our group was staying for the next two nights. The shuttle car is a service offered to all guests.
My late arrival meant I’d missed the yoga session and dinner but I was welcomed with the offer of leftovers and a large glass of red wine, which I enjoyed while chatting to the group members who were still up. I learned that our group was made up of journalists, editors, and writers from across Scotland and London, and we were being hosted by representatives of Bamford and Archerfield. Later, I was shown to my own room; with its classic, tonal interior it reminded me very much of my friend’s parents house in a leafy part of Southern England, warm and homely but understatedly chic.
Next morning, we all met up for an early walk along the private beach (just five minutes from the villa), where the hardcore wellness aficionados amongst us impressed the rest of us with a wild swim. We had varying degrees of wellness experience, an area I’ve been exploring more in the last year. We got to know each other a bit better in between shrieks from the girls in the cold Scottish water and cheers from the slightly warmer but definitely drier bunch on the beach, which looked out to Fidra, a tiny island in the Firth of Forth and the island which inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story, Treasure Island. He reportedly wrote it from Marine Villa – there’s a picture below shows the room he was in.
After the swimmers had dried off, we dashed back up to the villa – it’s a self catering accommodation, but we were treated to a chef / private dining during our stay. We enjoyed a beautiful breakfast buffet of pastries, yoghurt, fruit, granola, smoothies, smoked salmon and much-needed fresh coffee. Next it was a breathing techniques workshop with Jasmine St Cliere of Finding Balance with Jasmine. The breathing session was around 50 minutes long, and it was surprisingly cathartic, with some of us experiencing flashes of family faces and colours, and others a wash of emotions related to childhood trauma. I think I speak on behalf of all the group when I say it was a welcome experience, one that created a bit of a bond amongst us despite having known each other for little more than 12 hours.
To decompress, we were taken for a sublime afternoon tea in the Clubhouse – absolutely superb and many ingredients are sourced locally – before heading to Archerfield’s hidden treasure, Fletcher’s Cottage Spa. Designed by Sian Parry-Jones who was with us on the trip, the spa is intended to welcome guests in a grounded and down-to-earth manner, where you feel safe and relaxed. The interiors are a delightful combination of ski-chalet chic (the open fire was roaring even in May), a rustic farmhouse (potato crates make up an entire length of one wall), and the odd little number inspired by Sian’s travels (brightly covered armchairs). The end result is one of curiosity and wonder, if you can be bothered to get up from the softest sofas after your treatment.
Talking of treatments, we were there to experience the Bamford Ultimate Massage. Before my appointment, I had a dip in an outdoor, private bathhouse with bath oils of our choice. Did you know that when you smell oils for a treatment, the one that stands out to you most is actually what your body is craving? Afterwards, I bundled myself up in my robe and made my way to the treatment room where a lovely therapist greeted me. It felt like I was on the bed for hours and yet it was all over far too quickly – it was truly one of (if not the) best massage treatment of my life, and these old muscles have tried many! Perhaps it was combination of the earlier breathing class, over indulging in the afternoon tea followed by the steaming hot bath, but whatever it was, the Bamford treatment gave me a bit of an out-of-body experience that left me feeling entirely at peace.
That evening we experienced Archerfield’s private dining at the villa, which was impeccable. Preceded by champagne in the lounge, it was a hilarious, heartwarming, and inspiring group of women to spend time with, and we went to bed with full tummies feeling oh-so-slightly giddy.
I had the most self-indulgent couple of days with what was a wonderful group of women who I learned from and laughed with. It felt like we’d made long-term connections and I very much hope to keep in touch with everyone I met on this trip. Archerfield is well worth a stay, and there are various accommodation options to choose from which I’ve linked below. As for Fletcher’s Cottage spa, I can’t recommend it highly enough and I fully encourage you to book a treatment and enjoy the serene surroundings. As part of the visit, we were asked for feedback and mine was simple to make the spa more accessible to day-trippers, or to provide an affordable overnight spa break so that as many people as possible are able to enjoy the estate and spa. I really hope that you’re able to book a stay – let me know what you think.
This trip was a press invitation extended by Bamford and Archerfield Estate. I wasn’t obligated to write this blog post but I wanted to share the experience with you. As always, thank you so much for your support.
Huge thanks must go to Louise at Bamford for the treatment and the fabulous goodies, and to Sian and Jessica at Archerfield for the incredibly generous experiences.