In recent years, the want to replace artificial products from our day to day life has skyrocketed. People, more now than ever, are more health conscious and want to know what products they are washing into their hair, moisturising their face with and consuming in their food.
It’s becoming more and more common to find your conditioners, face creams and soaps filled with coconuts, almonds and aloe vera from the exotic corners of the world. Healthy snacks and drinks too are filled with colourful ingredients, full of vitamins and nutrients that are good for both internal and external health.
It may be a surprise to some that there is a good alternative right on your doorstep. Though not as glamorous, the use of seaweed in skincare products and in the kitchen is starting to show a certain popularity for the tremendous benefits it offers.
Seaweed in Skincare
Seaweed is also used frequently for many body wraps that are help eliminate toxins and body tension. Though a company based in Scotland, called Ishga, have developed a full range of products using seaweed which is ideal for all skin types.
The seaweed used in Ishga products comes from the Hebridean Islands of Scotland. They contain high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols which help provide protection against environmental damage and leaving your skin looking healthier as a result.
This month, our Spa are offering a special one hour Ishga facial, using seaweed products and light massage to tighten and tone skin as well as stimulate blood and lymph circulation, leaving you feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Seaweed in Food.
Though the very idea of eating seaweed may seem repulsive, you may be surprised to know that it is likely you have already eaten regularly in your lifetime. Carragheen gives a gelatinous substance when boiled, which is used in ice cream as well as vegetarian friendly jellies.
Though when we talk of the use of seaweed in food, we really do mean in its pure form! It is commonly used in Japan with Sushi and in miso soup, but with the western world becoming more adventurous with cuisine. Seaweeds such as Kelp are cropping up more and more, dried and powdered into a garnish that can be sprinkled over pizza, or used as a wrap for fish.
But it is the health benefits of eating seaweed that we really like to emphasise: while there are many different forms of seaweed that vary in mineral and vitamin content, all are high in dietary fibre, provides your daily dose of iodine and is almost as high in protein as other vegetables.
A rather wet morning at Isle of Eriska today! This week's West Coast Weather took us a bit by surprise with some really nice and sunny days - it was actually quite warm at the start, however as you can see above the autumn weather was just around the corner! But as they say, the glass is half full, not half empty - we are enjoying the beautiful autumn colours!
Today: a cloudy start with outbreaks of rain, these heavy and driven along on strong to gale force south-westerly winds. It may become brighter with frequent blustery showers later in the day. Winds will continue going west to north-westerly but staying strong to gale force. Tonight: showers will continue overnight and these most frequent over Argyll and Kintyre.
Monday: looks to become bright with blustery showers these mainly over Argyll where they will be wintry on the mountains. Staying windy with gales in the isles.
Tuesday: is projected to be a bright day with showers and continuing strong winds.
Wednesday: looks promising with more sunshine and just a few showers and much lighter winds.
Thursday: is projected to cloud over again, with patchy rain.
Friday: looks to offer heavy clouds, however it looks as if it may stay dry, which continues over night.
Saturday: is projected to stay cloudy, but with patches of rain and slightly warmer temperatures compared to the other days in the week.
Autumn colours and strong winds, leave the umbrella and pack your best water proofs to enjoy the island and the beautiful colours Eriska has to offer! Have you had a day of hiking there is no better way to relax than to spend it in our sauna or steam room at the Stables Spa. Sauna's and steam rooms are known for their relaxation, and research also tells us that sauna's can help muscle spasms, seasonal affective disorders, and high stress levels. Coming to Eriska soon? If you are going for treatments in the spa, our therapists recommend using the steam room and sauna beforehand to open up the pores and relax the muscles, an easy way of getting even more out of your pampering and relaxation.
As you may have noticed staying on the west coast of Scotland, the weather changes fast and you may have not brought with you the clothes for it. Although we offer our guests wellies and do our weather blog every week, coming prepared to meet the rain isn't always good enough and one feel like doing most things indoor at least sheltered from wind and rain.
As the weather might sometimes set a stopper to the outdoor activities in Scotland we thought we would give you some that could be enjoyed within the hotel and spa and some that could be enjoyed indoors if you have a day planned away from the hotel.
At the hotel;
November Wine Weekend
If you have planned an autumn escape (when the weather is perhaps cold and wet) why not book in for the annual November Wine Weekend? The weekend evolve around tutored tastings in the hotel with amazing wines and beautifully prepared food. You would also get the opportunity to meet other keen diners and experiencing the ultimate way of obtaining new knowledge! The cost of the full weekend to include Dinner, Bed and Breakfast on two evenings, and the matched gastronomic dinner on the Saturday night is £400.00 per person. You can enquire about our Wine Weekend here.
Spa & Relax
A Spa & relax day is recommended for Couples or the Mother & Daughter weekend. Our Treatment Programmes and Day Packages can be booked in advance and would the ultimate way to spend the day. Programmes range from 130 minutes to 200 minutes and includes a focus on total relaxation of the body and therapeutic detoxification. Arrive earlier to take advantage of our ozone indoor heated pool, sauna and steam room to relax your muscles before your treatments. A break is also incorporated where you can enjoy a spa inspired lunch together.
The Library Bar
"It is amazing how relaxed one becomes when one enters the library bar with a newspaper and order a cup of coffee". Whether you want to catch up on the news, relax with your favourite book, or even pick up an unexplored book from our own library.. Our library has a lot of treasures for the eager reader. Spending the day inside with a book is something we all do too rarely and can be a very easy form of relaxation. Is the weather really challenging, take your book with you and enjoy the log fire in the main hall. We would personally recommend Treasure Island, Kidnapped, or Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stephenson.
Away for the day;
Although hidden from the rest of the world, Isle of Eriska is not too far away from local and regional attractions. We would recommend the following to make a day out of it, with no wellies or rain coats required;
In and around Oban
1st Stop: Oban’s War & Peace Museum
Contains a fascinating collection of artefacts and photographs depicting the rich cultural history of the busy port town and its people.
Sits on the water's edge in the very heart of Oban. Views over Oban Bay to Kerrera and the Mull and Morvern Hills are magnificent. Ee-Usk is regarded as one of the best seafood restaurants in the country
2nd Stop: Oban Distillery
Right in the heart of Oban, nestling beneath the steep cliff that overlooks the town, one of Scotland's oldest sources of single malt scotch whisky is but a stone's throw from the sea.
Glencoe Visitor Centre & Ice Factor
Glencoe is a magical place where true Highland Hospitality combines with world famous scenery, poignant history and some of the best things to see and do Scotland has to offer. And perhaps more recently has become known to some through the release of Skyfall. This daytrip may require a little packed snack.
Glencoe Visitor Centre is a multi-award winning Visitor Centre and Building, encompassing a shop - with lots of interesting local products, a café - with fabulous home baking, an information point - including weather forecasts for climbers & walkers and advice on routes, a viewing platform, and an education room which often features additional exhibitions.
For the adventurous, Ice Factor offer rock and bouldering walls were designed following extensive consultation with the Mountaineering Council, a number of guides, instructors and mountain rescue teams. This ensures that whether you are a complete beginner looking to take your first steps on the rock, or a gnarly hard-core climber looking to push your grade, Ice Factor has a range of routes, grades and challenges to suit - and it is all inside!!
Late Lunch: The Creagan Inn
On the way back why not stop for a later lunch at the Creagan Inn? Built in 1740 (1745 was the year of the Jacobite rebellion) this lochside village inn is almost as old as the Kings Inn in Glencoe; the famous glen used in the James Bond film Skyfall. Enjoy bar meals, local seafood, real cask ales, malt whiskies and even cocktails; including of course the famous James Bond ‘Vesper’ Martini Cocktail.
After a long day out, you can return to the hotel, have a relaxing dip in the Jacuzzi and a swim and get ready for a sumptuous dinner in our 3AA Rosette Restaurant.
The restaurant is also open to non residents and you can enquire about availability in advance here or by calling us on Tel: +44 (0)1631 720 371.
The Egyptians was perhaps the first to discover the potential of water and essential oils for therapeutic purposes. Remedial treatments and bath spas have been around for thousands of years, with well-being philosophies dating back as far 7000BC!
As you may have read in our previous post; where otters thrive, the water resources are healthy for human and can be seen as critical indicators of our human condition. So what better place to have a spa? The otters come to Eriska to enjoy the healthy water, and we thought we would give you a good reason to invest in your health and wellness when you come to enjoy what Eriska offers so well.
Spa season is here and Eriska tranquillity mixed with some fun activities really makes your body feel the love.
I had a talk with our spa therapists this week. At Eriska our therapists focus upon providing you with what the body needs for the upcoming season when the sun poses its wear and tear on skin, hair and nails - the right treatment for the right season. They recommended the following to nourish and protect the skin:
Salt and Oil Scrub
This is exceptional skin softening body exfoliation combines sea salts, nourishing and essential oils to leave your skin moisturised, smooth and soft. A compact treatment with a dramatic result.
Detoxifying Algae Wrap
Is a therapeutic, balancing and detoxifying treatment which involves skin brushing, gentle exfoliation and algae in rich minerals and enzymes. Designed to ease away tension, helps boost the metabolism and speed up the elimination of toxins. Includes a full scalp treatment for total relaxation.
Aromatherapy Body Massage
Experience the benefits of massage and individually chosen essential oils in one of the
finest anti-stress treatments available. This complete scalp and body massage focuses on acupressure points, helping to strengthen the nervous system, thus restoring lost energy.
A Tennis Match & Leg Reviver Massage
Or for the more sporty ones, why not take your girls or daughters to our indoor tennis court. There is nothing like a good match of tennis, to then go for a leg reviver massage, which is a truly traditional massage with regulated pressure, excellent for releasing tension in the legs. Stimulating effleurage and long, strong movements for effectively easing tired limbs.
As much as you need relaxation and pampering it is good to give yourself that little justification to then really joy relaxation before it is back to the one continuous contract: life.
There are a range of spa & spa stay packages available, so why not have a look, maybe someone you know needs a bit of pampering? We all might as well pick up where the Egyptian's started. The well-being philosophy is here to stay.
When you live somewhere it is often easy to forget how lucky we are with an endless plyground of activities and facilities to use.
But when a guest asks us for suggestions of how to amuse themseves we are never short of ideas.
Eriska caters for a wide range of activities offering complete relaxation to the most fast paced sporting activity to lure a wide-ranging audience. Here’s a quick guide to some of our top attractions:
Our 9-hole golf course is a top sporting island attraction regularly drawing in enthusiasts from all over the UK but with stunning views and challenging holes a few lost balls and wayward shots will not ruin your day!
Invigorate, energise, or relax at our ESPA spa facility that provides a full range of top-to-toe beauty therapies, ideal for those wishing to escape the realities of real life for a few days and be pampered by our trained professionals.
Our 17 metre indoor swimming pool is perfect for those seeking some holiday fun. Wither you’re a more serious swimmer, or just want to splash around with the family our pool is large enough to accommodate all
4. Sport Hall
Our sports hall houses a range of equipment to cater for a variety of indoor activities. With badminton, tennis, indoor bowls, table tennis, a putting green and five aside football, guests have the opportunity to fine tune their skill with some friendly competition.
5. Clay Pigeon Shooting
For those looking for something a little bit different, we offer the thrilling heart-pounding experience of clay pigeon shooting for those visitors with a keen eye and quick reactions from our expert tutor.
Unlike the cities and towns of Scotland, Eriska is a perfect location to enjoy the local night skies. There’s minimal light pollution and good sightlines to enjoy a clear view of the stars, planets and the occasional satellite casually passing by. On a really clear night you really do see it all
7. Nature trails
Eriska offers walkers and the photographers among us the perfect setting to explore and enjoy the local scenery and wildlife. Alternatively, for those wanting to burn off some energy through our island woodlands or venture further afield we have bicycles ready to hire
With over 100 different species of birds on the island, the early birds among our guests will be kept occupied looking out for some of our favourites at their most active and vocal.
9. Boat Trips
Absorb a spectacular seaview tour of our West Coast island and local marine wildlife and all departing from our own pier!
Eriska and the surrounding Argyll coastline is the perfect location for some of the best secluded shore and sea fishing opportunities in Scotland.
It seems only yesterday that we first opened our indoor leisure facility in the converted stables building.
In reality the concept of an indoor pool and its associated facilities had been in the planning for many years and the belief that we required to extend our season in order to engage more long term employees and evolve the business and the need for more non weather non light dependent activities was a reality we could ignore no longer. In truth whilst many were willing to sit in front of log fires and drink whisky on cold wet days this number were falling and more had to be done to attract others to Eriska.
No sooner had we opened the stables, a huge investiment to any business of our size but one we believed was necessary, than we were approached to offer massage and whats more aromatherapy massage. At the time we were engulfed with operating the pool and all our funds had been swallowed by the usual overspend and unforseen expenses so when the opportunity of a self employed facility with no investment confronted us we clasped it with both hands- while also in reality saw it as a service we could offer but without real belief or understanding in its potential.
After a couple of years of a part time offering we were then given the oportunity to offer the service on a full time basis and opted to grow our facility and moved the treatment area from an external windowless space to a new beautifully painted room with its own facilities, the down side to this was that it was up an external staircase but it offered peace and quiet and was luxury compared to what had gone before. The service grew and when the provider decided it was time to move on we were faced with a decison- whether to scale back or ramp up.
Fate made the decision easy as we were then apporached by a lady who had moved to the area with her husband -due to his work- and she was fully trained in all the services we provided and so started our history with Espa. Espa was a growing hotel brand of treatments and products whcih had been evolved and developed for hotels exclusively and they were keen to expand their reach. Eriska was a unique opportunity and with no similar facility on the west coast of Scotland it was a match made. We created a link to the main pool building and the service grew first with our one employee and then with one and half offering a full coverage of services.
The offer of therapies was now tried and tested so when we made our next advance in the leisure area creating a restaurant and bar we also included a wing which was to become the centre piece of our spa. We realized it was never going to be a rival to the multi award winning competitors but we also knew we could offer treatments which rivalled them in terms of service and delivery and relaxation and preparation areas which emphasized the beauty of the location and peace and tranquility of the surroundings. Now with three treatment rooms we could both grow the team and the offering and a simple body massage menu expanded into body treatments and beauty therapies.
So the spa at Eriska has grown and we have been lucky over the years to have some wonderful staff both working and in and running the facility. It has allowed us to offer our guests even more opportunities and combined with the right team will continue to evolve. A couple of years ago we added a relaxation area and reception area to help complete the spa experience and then created a space for hairdressing, knowing we were never going to offer it full time but at least we had the space arranged to bring in a hairdresser if required.
Eriska continues to evolve and grow and luckily the team on site are ever keen and eager to accept the challenges. One lesson taught to me by a regular guest when he came in one afternoon was that whilst he would never use the pool and health facilities we had given him a new opportunity and choice- he could choose to use the facilities or he could choose not to but we had given him choice -
Eriska remains all about choice!