The original and still the best dedicated spa retreat, Ragdale Hall is a large, comfortable country house set in attractive gardens and grounds. Ragdale is the John Lewis of spas: good quality, well priced and delivered by people who really know their stuff. You’ll find unfaltering customer service, an extensive range of top-quality treatments, and a fine array of facilities and classes. You can feel at liberty to be as healthy or as pampered as you like, and with varying prices for rooms, Ragdale can acommodate most budgets.
|Key Brands:||Elemis, Decléor, Spa Find, Clarins, OPI|
|Treatment Menu:||View this spa's treatment menu|
Open all the time
Six room types available, from Economy Rooms to Suites.
Breakfast is served in your room; The Garden Room and Verandah Bar serve hot and cold refreshments and snacks; the main restaurant serves lunch and dinner.
Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa is set in lush green surroundings in Leicestershire.
When you enter the main reception, you hand your car keys over to the valet, so you can instantly forget the outside world. Go through to the Garden Room café, choose a welcome drink, and a receptionist will check you in at your table. Lovely.
What's not on offer? Ragdale is large and comprehensive. They call the Thermal Spa "an indoor playground for adults", and it is hard to disagree. The Candle Pool is heated to 34 degrees, and comes complete with twinkling stars in the ceiling. The Waterfall Pool allows you to swim outside with mist gently rising around you. The Thought Zone's changing colours and music invite inspiration. The humid Colourflow Cave allows you to detox in exotic scents. Take your time exploring the Volcanic Salt Bath, the Scented Room, the Rose Sauna and the Cave Shower (this offers a tropical storm, complete with thunder and lightning).
Ready to swim? Try the main 25-metre pool with waterfall, the adjoining lengths pool, or the separate exercise pool with aqua-gym equipment and a daily programme of water-exercise sessions.
You have an abundance of places to just sit and relax, with plenty of seating in the pool area, or the bright and airy Pavilion Room with turquoise and apple-green velvet furniture. A traditional lounge has an open fire, or you could head to The Retreat for complete silence or maybe a nap.
The gym and two studios both offer a wide range of classes. Outside exercise options include bicycles, tennis courts, croquet, pitch and putt, and an outdoor pool for the warmer months.
We had the Decléor Excellence Anti-Ageing Face and Body treatment which is exclusive to Ragdale (150 minutes, £157) and the Shellac Long Lasting Nail Colour for hands (40 minutes, £36).
Emma, my therapist, collected me from the treatment waiting area -- a bright atrium with an eclectic mix of armchairs in bright pink and green velvets. She explained what the treatment would entail, then asked me to put on those most flattering of undergarments: paper knickers
Emma rubbed Crème Exfoliant over the back of my body and, when I turned over, the front. Emma then turned on the shower so that I could rinse off the exfoliant with a flannel mitt and shower gel. There followed a long body massage, covering absolutely all my exposed skin (speak up if you are of a shy disposition) after which Emma applied a rich moisturiser. She wrapped a plastic sheet around me, placed towels on top, and turned on the massage-bed heating. The bed got really quite hot -- the point being to "cook" the moisturiser into my dermis, the layer of skin below the surface.
Whilst my body simmered in unguents, Emma began my facial. The USP of this treatment is a magic piece of kit called the Qi Booster -- a small plastic roller with (non-sharp) spikes, which your therapist rolls over your face to stimulate collagen production. A strange but not unpleasant sensation. Next came a wonderful mask; the Liss'Age Plumping Mask arrives as a tablet which your therapist dissolves in water half an hour before your treatment. This mask contains freeze-dried corn, saiko and serine extracts to fill wrinkles, hydrate and plump. After removing this mask, Emma gave me a fabulous face, neck and scalp massage.
By this time, my dermis was cooked to perfection. Emma turned off the heat, unwrapped me from the plastic, and sent me into the shower for one final time to rinse off all the wonderful things. One last lie-down for a little moisturiser on my face, and I was done. Every inch of skin on my body glowed.
For my Shellac manicure, I headed to the bright Beauty Express area. This area is the latest addition to the Ragdale menu and offers a salon selection of quick-fix treatments which you don't need to book in advance. My therapist, Jenny, took off my old varnish and gave my nails a good tidy up, trim, shape and buff. Jenny helped me choose my nail colour, advising against colours that looked good on the samples but were not right for my skin tone (too much blue, apparently). When finished, my nails looked glossy and stylish, and still looked salon perfect a week later.
Ragdale's treatment menu is extensive, and with many treatments exclusive to Ragdale. Choose from a variety of facials and massages, wraps, holistic therapies or beauty quick-fixes. The grapevine says that the MOT Massage by therapist Danny (who also taught a great yoga class) is one not to miss. Maybe next time…
Let's start with breakfast in bed... Another offering from a spa that has left no stone unturned in its quest to deliver the ultimate spa stay. Choose from one of two set breakfasts or from a comprehensive selection of fare to mix and match. My berry compote with quinoa, banana muffin (hot and freshly baked) and pot of green tea was delicious.
Dinner is in the main dining room. You can join the social table -- an option for solo spa-goers who fancy meeting some others -- or dine alone. The menu is graded with different symbols to help you avoid or choose dairy/gluten/nuts or opt for lower-calorie meals. As the restaurant caters for spa-goers only, you can choose to dine in your robe (which I did). My starter of smoked salmon with boiled egg and watercress, and main of tandoori chicken with houmous went down a treat. All meals came with a good selection of steamed vegetables, herb-crushed potatoes, and crunchy coleslaw.
We loved everything!
The Thermal Spa experience is a delight and worth a visit alone, as well as the proper 25-metre pool for serious swimming.
Just wandering around in a robe all day with so many lovely spaces to just sit and watch the world go by, or read, is a joy.
Personally, I would have preferred some lighter lunch options and a less wheat-heavy menu.
I would have also liked some moisturiser in the changing rooms so that I didn't have to go back to my room in between swims.
Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa is great for groups of friends; it's a sociable place if you want it to be, but also good if you want to spa alone.
Anyone who appreciates great customer service; with a staff-to-customer ratio of 2:1, you really are looked after at Ragdale.
Ragdale is modern yet old-school; it's a great place to take your mum, and we saw many two- and three-generation family groups.
As Ragdale has such a large pool and thermal area, it's perfect for anyone who loves being in water; you can even do your gym work out in a pool.
Once again, we awarded Ragdale Hall a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles. At Ragdale, there is something for everyone and everything is done well. Ragdale is such a relaxed, welcoming, well-run spa-retreat, there is virtually nothing to fault.
We'd go again like a shot.
Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa in February 2014