Hydration heaven. Time to quench your spa thirst

Hydrating Facial and massage, Cost: May offer, facial with Murad Hydrolyte Moisture, £58

Like most women, I love a visit to a beauty salon or spa but don’t get the chance to go often. Not being a regular, I haven’t experienced major differences between the various approaches of salons, and simply go to enjoy a little bit of self-indulgent time out.

My visit to the Zen Lifestyle salon in Edinburgh’s Hanover Street, however, changed all that. Having just lifted the coveted title of UK Salon of the Year at the Professional Beauty Awards, I was intrigued to discover how Zen has managed to elevate themselves over and above the competition. The reception area of the salon told half of the story, with its stunning white surroundings and furnishings, fresh flowers and long windows bathing the room in natural light.

My therapist, Ellie walked me along a dimly lit hallway to a treatment room with its dark wood floors and white walls. It was a generous –sized, tranquil and inviting space, and I was more than happy to climb in to the warmed bed in the middle to start my treatments.

As I explained to Ellie, to say I suffer from muscle tension would be the understatement of the century. Years of sitting hunched over a computer have left my neck and shoulder muscles as rigid as railings, and I’m forever putting my back out or waking up with a horribly stiff neck.

As a result, Ellie tailored the half-hour massage to focus on my problem areas. I would normally, perhaps unfairly have described salon massages as being relaxing rather than therapeutic, but this treatment struck a really good balance between the two.

The therapist tackled the tense muscle areas, but not to the point of causing discomfort. I was so relaxed I started to drift off.

This treatment was topped off by an equally relaxing hydrating facial, using Murad Hydrolyte products, which are designed to re-hydrate and energise the skin.

The treatment has topped my spa and beauty experiences to date. It never ceases to amaze me salons remain so busy even in times of difficulty but it shows some experiences are worth the money. This is one of them.

• To book, call 0131 225 7009 or visit www.zen-lifestyle.com. Two further Zen salons are based at Teviot Place and Bruntsfield Place in Edinburgh.

CLARE JOHNSTON

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