Ragdale Hall is a large, comfortable country house set in the Leicestershire countryside. Follow the long driveway down to the destination spa, catching glimpses of the attractive gardens and red brick house along the way.
As a dedicated spa retreat so you will be pampered from the moment you arrive – simply hand your keys and luggage to the porter and you are ready to spa (the car is parked for you and your case will magically appear in your room).
Shall we spa?
Pick up a map of the spa on arrival so you don’t miss anything. There is plenty of spa on offer here including six (yes, six) pools - one of which is on the roof - 12 heat and water experiences; and a wide array of temping treatments, daily exercise classes, and - most importantly - plenty of inviting loungers on which to unwind.
Relax in the sun streaming into The Pavilion, hide away in The Retreat for a snooze, chill outside in the Walled Garden or pop into the outdoor barrel sauna for a warm-up. The design at Ragdale Hall encourages you to do as little - or as much - as you wish.
We tried a Miracle Facial (50 mins, £78), an exclusive treatment created by The Spa at Ragdale Hall.
Nicci, my therapist, led me to a treatment room and carefully talked me through the next 50 minutes before beginning with a deep cleanse using a Clarisonic Brush – rather like an electric toothbrush for the skin. Nicci then applied a Pro-aging Radiance Cleanser to ensure my skin was squeaky clean.
Next came a gold and plant collagen sheet mask containing Hyaluronic acid; while this worked its magic, Nicci carried out a lovely shoulder and scalp massage. The use-again mask peeled off in one satisfying go and was handed to me to be used at home – a nice touch.
Applying a Pro-radiance Deep Sea Nourishment Cream, Nicci then adopted some clever lifting massage techniques before finishing the treatment with a spritz of 21 Mineral Mist - which acts like a toner - and a few dabs of Eye and Neck Regenerator Cream where needed.
My spa partner enjoyed a 40-minute Serenity Touch Treatment, a gentle head, neck, shoulder, arm and facial massage using creamy, nurturing products.
How did it measure up?
A stressful couple of months had begun to show on my face, with dark circles around my eyes and wrinkles seemingly appearing from nowhere. Whilst not quite a miracle, this facial made an obvious difference with firmer, brighter skin and softer wrinkles. My spa partner – who rarely uses products – left with glowing, smooth skin (proof, if any were needed, of the importance of moisturiser).
Spot of lunch?
Lunch at Ragdale is a help yourself buffet in the Dining Room including a roast which – on our visit - was juicy turkey with cauliflower and broccoli, and tiny roast potatoes. Guests can also help themselves to a selection of hot and cold dishes including king prawn with Asian vegetables, Indian-spiced couscous, smoked trout, seabass, ham hock, curried chicken and plenty of desserts.
Despite being tempted by a delicious selection of puds – including banoffee cream pots and dark chocolate chip sponge – we stuck to a main course.
Three-course evening meals are served at the table, with plenty on the menu to entice. We started with a light dish of seared mackerel with beetroot and horseradish, followed by finely sliced beefsteak with charred greens, celeriac puree and pearl barley. Our spa partner finished his meal with a delectable cheese board, while this Spa Spy chose a rather more healthy combination of fruit and yoghurt.
Got all day?
You’ll need it… Book your treatments in advance so that you can fit everything else around it – including a loop around the Thermal Spa, a class, some time in the new Thought Zone (with its calming music and images), a dip in the warm Candle Lit pool, a swim in the 25-metre pool, some time in the Rooftop Infinity Pool (with its relaxing loungers and incredible views), lunch with a drink, a cocktail in the glamorous Twilight Bar (pictured above) and a three-course dinner. Phew.
Short on time?
Pop into The Beauty Express to book a quick treatment - there’s a wide range of short, effective treatments for eyes, nails, face, and hair on offer that can be booked on the day. If you find it hard to choose, try the Pick ‘N’ Mix: three express treatments at £63 for 45 minutes. The rooftop pool is a must for the view, as is a dip in the main pool and an hour trying out the heat facilities. Don’t forget to build in some to relax, too: curl up with a book in one of the many lounges or find the Snooze Zone (tucked away beyond the Verandah Bar) where you can snuggle under a throw and completely unwind.