Hayley Matthews: Spa-ring match for pals turns out to be a Thriller

Music legend Michael Jackson. Picture: Getty
Music legend Michael Jackson. Picture: Getty
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Susan (my best friend since the age of 12) and I have been through lots together and our friendship is very strong, mainly due to our love of things in common. The list tops the usual girly things, massages, pedicures, manicures, good books, tea, cake, candles, essential oils and generally anything to do with relaxing. I suppose that’s what makes friends gravitate to each other, common interests and all that jazz.

However, like any friendship, you have to make the effort and we’re both very busy ladies. She runs Lily West Florist in the Grassmarket and I run a household with a young family and juggle several jobs. We’re both pretty stressed and have a lot on our plates but despite our love of relaxing, we’ve never, in all the years we’ve known each other, done a spa day! I’m surprised she’s not traded me in at this rate.

So when I saw that the Melrose spa in the Radisson Blue had a couple’s (for friends, not just lovers) room and did a retro-themed high tea, I thought it would be perfect for a relaxation treat. After all, they do say that friends who spa together, stay together.

You might not immediately think that the Royal Mile in August would be the most relaxing place to be. However, I assure you that once you walk down those steps in to the Sleeping Beauty Melrose Spa, you are completely oblivious to all the street performers, singers, festival-goers and tourists walking the cobbles above your head.

Sheer bliss ensued. We had the couple’s room for a double massage which I thought would be great to have a chat and catch-up. However, after Sarah and Sam melted away the stress with their magic hands and relaxing oils, we both fell asleep and the chat was full of big Zs.

After losing several hours in the spa (there is time, and spa time, and no one knows where spa time goes!) we slinked upstairs to a new retro-themed high tea room where a record player was playing some Michael Jackson. It was very cool and made for a really nice high tea experience. Even the placemats were vinyl! For retro lovers the high tea is a definite must. Dita Von Teese, Marylin Manson’s ex-girlfriend and the Goddess of Burlesque (think 50s hair and glam), would definitely approve. She’s another of our common interests and is an inspiration!

Jamie, our waiter, was incredibly friendly and very attentive (I think he took a shine to Susan) making us a lovely coffee to spruce us up before delivering an array of sandwiches, scones, herbal tea and more cakes than you could shake a stick at, and after all we’d sweated off some calories in the spa, I think.

We emerged like two new women, ready to tackle the Festival and all its challenges, too chilled out to stress about anything. Although come tea time, we did nearly fall out, not being able to agree on where to go for dinner and having different ideas. I’m kidding. After some chat we managed to squeeze in a large G&T and some sushi to round off the day.

So, fellow besties, I urge you to give yourselves some precious time together and treat yourselves to a spa and high tea combo package in the centre of town, indulging yourselves in the bliss below the Royal Mile Madness because, friends who spa together, stay together and friendship is invaluable.

Hayley Matthews – @hotlipshayley – is a TV and radio presenter