With some of the world’s best spa accolades under its belt, Wersha Bharadwa head’s to Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire and discovers a super serious health and relaxation retreat you’ll find hard to leave, whether you’re seeking luxury and romance or somewhere for an upmarket hen do…
The glorious countryside setting and listed building grandeur make us swoon as we make our way down Ragdale Hall’s long winding drive to the hotel. We’re greeted by charming and friendly chauffeurs who valet park our car out of sight and after a quick check-in help show us to our suite for the weekend.
It’s unapologetically high-end yet unpretentious at the same time; the minute you walk through the oak-and glass panelled revolving doors at check-in you’ll spot original artwork and brass and gilt fixtures on the walls, and guests donning white fluffy gowns and slippers peacefully making their way to the swanky dining hall for lunch. The white-gown dress code extends to lunch and dinner (and come to think of it, pretty much for the duration of your stay at Ragdale Hall, should you so wish) and pretty much sets the vibe for our weekend of high-pampering and slouchy relaxation.
The Spa at Ragdale Hall
In contrast to the 18th century façade and interiors of the main building, the spa features modern high-tech design and innovation at every turn. The thermal spa’s design evokes a prehistoric cave with numerous waterfalls and is split into different areas all encouraging a range of benefits.
We while away 90 per cent of the weekend here, testing everything from the 25-metre swimming pool, the romantic underground candle pool hidden in a soothing cave and accessed via a spiral staircase to a multitude of massage jets in every nook and cranny. There’s an intense full-sized scented Hammam spa which wafts out fresh aromatic herbs, relaxing music and mood lighting and a dry rose sauna overlooking the pretty outdoor swimming pool grotto and gardens. For afternoon snoozes I can’t think of a better place than a 60 degrees dry heat room called the ‘Thought Zone.’ Here, the changing imagery on the ceiling, soothing music and heated tile seating help you drift away in no time.
Experience showers with warm tropical thunderstorms and ice-cold mists are a lot of fun while also being part of the full hydrotherapy programme. The mind gym is a perfect pit-stop after lunch with board games and computer-generated brain-testing activities. Personal trainers in the gym are heavily in demand and classes including Pilates, yoga, tennis and fencing are on throughout the day. A thermal open-air rooftop infinity pool, heated to 35 degrees and looking out onto the forest is the icing on the very indulgent cake. It comes fitted with hydraulic massage couches so you can fully submerge yourself while soaking up the views.
Treatments to Try
Ragdale certainly means business when it comes to serious spa-ing and the treatment menu is super comprehensive. Stand-out treatments include those from Clarins and Elemis’ Biotec and Pro Collagen signature ranges as well as Balinese massage, cosmetic reiki and an excellent vegan mud wrap.
Dining at Ragdale Hall
The spa’s clientele is a mix of dedicated wellness warriors, couples, hens and mother-and-daughter weekenders so the menu caters for everyone. Smiling staff in the restaurants (there’s a main dining hall, a garden restaurant and orangery) match the attentiveness of the treatments with waiter service. Breakfast is served in bed and lunch is full of nutritious and delicious treats. We opted for the watermelon and feta salad and lamb moussaka for lunch with indulgent fillet steaks and chocolate puddings for dinner.
You could be forgiven for having a snooze anywhere in the hotel but your room as it’s so widely encouraged. But when you are ready for full-on restorative shut eye in the privacy of your suite – there are 93 in total – you’ll find big comfy beds with plump pillows to help lull you. The French windows are naturally romantic, there’s a flatscreen TV and White Company beauty products are stocked abundantly in the bathroom. In the evenings you can curl up on a sofa with herbal tea or wine or attend one of the self-improvement lectures. Cut off from the hustle and bustle of daily life, you’ll have all your stresses melting away in no time. A two-night full-board package at Ragdale Hall starts from £364 per person based on two sharing and includes unlimited use of spa, gym and exercise classes, as well as a 50-minute pampering treatment.