Take me with you…
Set in acres of formal gardens, and surrounded by the Derbyshire countryside, Ringwood Hall occupies a rather peaceful location. As the name suggests, The Garden Secret Spa is a hidden gem tucked behind the main hotel, surrounded by flowerbeds and trees.
Shall we spa?
We were warmly welcomed at the spa’s reception and shown through to the Glasshouse Brasserie where staff offered us a refreshing watermelon and beetroot smoothie shot which we sipped whilst completing consultation forms.
Eager to begin, we headed straight for the changing rooms which are large, light and spacious, with banks of lockers lining one wall and a comfortable leather bench in front by which to change. We found a fluffy beige robe, towel and branded flip-flops inside our locker. Two grey-tiled showers are stocked with Natural Spa Factory fig & vanilla shampoo, conditioner, and body wash; you’ll also find two toilets, and a dressing table complete with hairdryers and straighteners.
Prepare to be wowed by the striking design of the spa’s thermal area: in the centre you’ll find a large, kidney-shaped hydropool with shimmering tiles and rattan loungers with plump grey cushions placed in front of a faux living wall. A black mirror above reflects the movement of the water. The pool has two massage chairs at one end, benches along one side, and Jacuzzi-style seating at the other.
We started our thermal journey at the two self-filling footbaths. Next, we moved on to the blossom steam room - with its blue tiles, seasonal orange scent and seating for four. You’ll find the Himalayan salt sauna - set to a gentle 45 degrees and also seating four – next door; windows allow it to overlook a pretty terrace and green trees.
Our favourite thermal experience was the large herbal sauna which has charming views of the gardens. Cool off in between heat experiences under the experience showers or by grabbing handfuls of ice from the ice fountain.
There are plenty of places to relax at The Garden Secret Spa with two relaxation rooms: one light and one dark, both located on the upper floor. The former also has a foliage wall at one end, a cherry blossom tree at the other (we have yet to establish if this is real) and six loungers with blankets and colourful armchairs between. There's an outdoor relaxation area, too; sit back and listen to bird song.
The Garden Secret Spa also has a mani/pedi suite, a Rasul and a VIP couples' suite with its own Jacuzzi and sauna.
We tried a Ringwood Ultimate Odyssey (120 minutes, £210).
Our therapists, Toni and Lorna, met us in the light pre-treatment relaxation room and led us to the ‘love knot’, the spa’s couples treatment room with a Bijou sauna and two Jacuzzi baths. We discussed the treatment and shared any areas of concern; our therapists then left the room so we could disrobe and get comfortable on the treatment bed lying face down.
After turning the taps on to draw a bath, Toni began my treatment by drizzling warm oil on the back of my legs and arms in one fluid motion before adding a scrub (Lola’s Apothecary Delicate Romance polish) which she worked vigorously into each limb. She then asked me to turn over so that she could repeat the process on my front.
Taps turned off, Toni showed me to one of the dark mosaic-tiled Jacuzzi baths, handed me a wooden dish of Delicate Romance bath salts to tip in, a glass of iced water to sip and then pressed the button for bubbles before leaving the room so that my partner and I could sink into the warm water. The water jets pummelled our bodies whilst removing the scrub.
Once the bubbles stopped, we dried off, put our swimwear in the sauna to dry off and hopped back on the treatment bed, lying face down.
The Euphoric Balance body massage which came next did not disappoint, Toni working into the muscles around my neck, shoulders and back before focussing on the tightness in my suffering calves (the result of a New Year’s resolution to re-start netball).
The treatment ended with a fruit platter, melted chocolate for dipping, glasses of Prosecco and a goodie bag containing Lola’s Apothecary miniatures to take home.
The Garden Secret Spa offers a range of body treatments by Lola's Apothecary, facials by Pevonia, Jennifer Young treatments for those living with or beyond cancer and a range of manicures and pedicures.
How did it measure up?
The combination of water running, deep exfoliation, windpipes and bird song, coupled with the scent of rose and geranium, transported me to a tropical garden.
Spot of lunch?
You can eat lunch in your robe in the hotel’s recently renovated Coach House restaurant with its very own spa dining area - a long rustic wooden table seating eight. The two-course lunch menu includes a range of fish, meat and veggie dishes, as well as classic sandwiches and ample options for spa goers with allergies.
We liked our goats cheese tartlet with heritage tomatoes and salad to start but our braised beef cheek, herb mash potato, pancetta crisp and red wine jus for mains was a show-stopper.
Afternoon tea is served in the spa’s Glasshouse Brasserie.
Got all day?
Make time to explore the manicured gardens overlooking the Derbyshire fields – we could have spent hours walking around and admiring the roses.
Short on time?
Spend a good amount of it relaxing in the thermal facilities remembering to look out at the views.
2nd February 2024
Soft fluffy robes, imaginative vegetarian food, products that combine luxury with strong eco credentials and spas which look after their therapists’ wellbeing too.
Showers that aren't spotless, snootiness and having to get dressed for lunch.
Behind the scenes