Ragdale Hall health hydro and thermal Spa
Feeling stressed and exhausted I'd slogged up the M1 so when I arrived at Ragdale Hall and Spa a shadow of my former self, I was relieved to find the staff at this family run business are incredibly freindly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble from parking my car after unloading to carrying my bags to the room, most of the staff have a midlands accent which is music to the ears of a Nottinghamshire gal !. My girlfreind Dawn was equally shattered and trust me it was gonna take one fantastic place to revitalise us !
Fortunately Ragdale Hall and Spa offers the most innovative and up to date menu of treatments and classes anywhere and even though this was a one night Reviver Break only, we managed to squeeze in a fair bit in a 24 hour period.
The decor is beautiful and they're in the process of refurbishing all the bedrooms, ours was already done and its a lovely mix of chintzy comfortable bedroom and lounge and high tech pristine white bathroom with two washbasins. I had a 50 minute body massage which was wonderful, my therapist Carla really seemed to tune into my stressed out body and know exactly how much pressure to apply, it was totally relaxing in a treatment room decorated like a morrocan bodoir, I was covered with thick dark blankets and the low light was softened by the orange glow of a himalayan salt lamp. Dawn had the rare treat of a 'Lomi Lomi' massage and was impressed with the holistic energy work of the practitioner.
The classes were great, I managed an introduction to Hula hooping (where for the first time the technique was fully explained) and a Jazzercise class where I was transported back to the 1980's dancing a routine to Fame !
The real deal at Ragdale Hall is the Spa, if the word spa makes you think of a jacuzzi and a noisy echo-ing swimming pool, think again, this is a little oasis in the midlands, centreparks it is not ! There is a functional swimming pool for aqua aerobics and water based activities but walk through the glass doors to the side you leave your shoes behind, grab a fluffy towel and enter what feels like another world, the pool is huge with a massive rock waterfall and just the perfect temperature but when you're done swimming, head into the Thermal Spa for a real treat, you can swim outside into a heated (yes imagine the bills !) mineral pool, just press a button discreetly hidden in the rock and water cascades over you. Back inside theres a series of mini spas saunas and steam rooms - but no ordinary ones, these are a whole collection of sensory experiences, the sauna is Rose infused and another is a Scented room, one steam room offers a Vocanic Rock salt treatment and when you're feeling totally refreshed theres a Thought room, gently heated where you can simply rest and reflect on the water feature in the centre
My favourite though, by far was the Candlelit Pool, this is a beautiful tunnel like pool where the carved alcoves in the rock hold candles and coloured lights, soft music is piped and there are individual 'seats' where you can lie back and relax. Pure unadulterated luxury.
Talking relaxation when you're all dried off and just fancy some silence to read or think, theres a beautiful sunny room called The Retreat, the decor is Laura Ashley meets New England beach house and there are hammocks, chez lounge and even a wooden bed to relax on.
With approx 170 guests at any one time you'd expect the food to be simple fayre but not so, the menus are quite fancy with my evening dinner choice being leek mushroom and tomato Quinoa bake and Dawn's being slow cooked english lamb with fruit nut and citrus couscous, my only criticism is the portion sizes, Dawn's portion was enough to feed a family of four, while the breakfast which is room service only, the portions were tiny, I must confess when I ordered Atholl Broth - toasted oats yoghurt, raspberries and honey I was expecting slightly more than a small ramekin dish.
There are packages and breaks to suit everyone here and I highly recommend it, treat yourself - you won't be dissapointed and your stressed tired body will reward you with more energy