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 accommodate most budgets.
Lots of beautiful spaces to relax in including The Retreat and The Pavilion
Indoor/outdoor waterfall pool
Volcanic salt bath
25m swimming pool with raised whirlpool spa, water cascade and massage jets
Exercise pool with water exercise sessions, underwater gym equipment and whirlpool spa
Outdoor swimming pool
Beauty shop, boutique and gift shop
The Beauty Express (a salon-type space offering quick-fix glamour treatments)
Our Spa Spy review
Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa is a destination spa in the Leicestershire countryside. Set in beautiful grounds, the country house sits proudly at the end of a long driveway.
Drive up to the house and one of the Ragdale team will park your car for you while someone else takes your bags to your room, and you enjoy a welcome drink in the Garden Room. After you fill in the necessary paperwork and receive an itinerary with your treatment times, you can explore everything that Ragdale has to offer. You receive a detailed map at check-in which shows the many relaxation zones, food and drink areas, and spa facilities.
What's on offer?
Ragdale is a large spa with much to experience; there is even a mind gym full of games to keep your brain active.
The main pool is 25 metres long and the perfect temperature for swimming some leisurely lengths. At the end of the pool is a steam room and saunarium with birdsong playing. Day-guest changing rooms are here, too. The raised Whirlpool to one side has a waterfall flowing down into the main pool, which[A1] also has a seating area with massaging leg jets.
Entering the thermal area just past the pool, we picked up a stone and threw it into the Wishing Stream. This leads to a long, meandering heated 'river' that flows outside with different body jets along the way and leads to the Waterfall Pool.
The thermal spa has a wide range of experiences and temperatures. There is a classic wooden sauna with a window, an experience shower with thunder and lightning effects, a volcanic salt room where you can breathe in the health benefits of the salt, and a colour flow cave with steamy exotic scents. Our favourite was the candle pool: you step down into a cave-like lagoon lit with candle-effect lighting. It is blissful and the water is wonderfully warm.
Classes run throughout the day in the two studios by the gym. Choose from Tai Chi, Yoga and Pilates as well as high-impact classes and resistance workouts, or try a water-based class in the exercise pool. If you prefer a more leisurely exercise, you can collect a local map from reception and head out for a walk or just have a stroll around the gardens.
Ragdale has many spaces to relax: you can find loungers outside, in the fresh and airy Pavilion room on a comfortable chair looking out at the lily ponds, or in the traditional lounge -- a great spot in winter by the open fire.
Tell us about the treatments
You don't need to announce yourself to the treatment reception, simply take a seat in the conservatory five minutes before your treatment time. My therapist, Amy, met me there and escorted me to the treatment room.
My first treatment was a Radiance Facial using Clarins products (50 minutes) which was included in my package: an individually booked Clarins facial costs from £57.
I took a seat on the treatment bed where Amy asked me about my skin and any concerns. I am lucky to have normal skin that just needs some hydration and a pick-me-up.
Amy began with a creamy cleanser which she removed with wet cotton pads. She followed with a gommage exfoliator, which she pressed into my skin until it dried, then rubbed it off; a strange feeling but this is less abrasive than a beaded exfoliator. Amy applied Blue Orchid face oil, which was sweet smelling and felt rich on my skin. She massaged my face, neck and shoulders with light flowing movements. Next came a light, creamy mask; Amy massaged my hands and arms while it was on. Amy applied a hot towel to remove the mask and moisturised to finish.
Afterwards, my skin felt soft, supple and had a healthy glow. It was the pick-me-up facial that I needed.
We also tried the Balinese massage (90 minutes, £90).
Mary came to meet me and walked me through to a fairly large treatment room with low lighting and a calm ambience. She explained that the Balinese massage was deep and used authentic spiced coconut oil.
I got comfortable on the bed lying face down. Mary began by applying pressure to the middle of my back with her palm as I took some deep breaths. She did some stretching with her hands and forearms before applying an oil to my back. She got on the bed to enforce her pressure and focused on my lower back and shoulders, using pressure points and her forearms. Mary continued with the backs of my legs and, after I turned over, the fronts of my legs and arms. She finished with a head massage full of pressure points and hair stroking. This treatment is specialised and ideal for people who love deep massage and have lots of tension. I floated out feeling much looser.
Ragdale has an extensive treatment menu which is over twenty pages long. The spa offers face and body therapies using Elemis, Decléor , Clarins and Ragdale's own-brand products. There are treatments for men, mums-to-be and Jennifer Young treatments for those who are in treatment for or recovering from cancer.
There is a manicure and pedicure studio as well as The Beauty Express, where you can get mini treatments and your brows done, and a hair studio for a blow-dry before you go home.
The restaurant is in the older part of the Hall. If you are staying overnight, a three course lunch is included, as it is with most day packages. Robes are welcome; most people wear them at lunchtime, then get dressed for dinner.
You are given a time for your lunch and dinner. The restaurant is always busy, but the flow was managed well. A host takes you to your table and brings your choice of still or sparkling water.
Lunch starters are either the soup of the day or a cold meat/fish option. We chose the warming sweet potato and herb soup which was delicious. To follow, you can help yourself from the vast buffet and enjoy the salad bar and hot food options. The whole menu changes daily: when we visited, the buffet had a hot Mexican theme of burritos, fajitas or vegetable stir fry. We enjoyed a mix of quinoa, Moroccan spiced chicken, bean sprouts and home-made cottage cheese. There are so many options that all tastes and tolerances can be satisfied.
Make sure you leave some room for dessert; you can choose from the dessert of the day on the menu or select from the buffet. The peach and grapefruit salad with natural yogurt and honey was an enjoyable healthy option, but we couldn't resist the home-made chocolate fudge.
Hot drinks aren't served in the restaurant. You can retire to the Verandah Bar for a change of scenery and enjoy a tea or coffee; this is also included in your day or stay package.
Dinner is slightly more formal with a quieter atmosphere. You order food from the menu which is served to your table. The wine and fizz is extra but reasonably priced.
We loved / we didn't love
The beautiful grounds are vast, well manicured, and have lovely views. You have space to breathe, walk around and admire the well tended gardens. We could have stayed in the hanging tree cocoon chair for hours.
The thermal journey is impressive and you can easily lose an hour in it. As a lover of water, the outside lazy river and serene candle pool were our favourites.
There is so much space to relax at Ragdale that you will always be able to find a quiet space to have a snooze or read a book.
We didn’t love
There isn't much not to love about Ragdale but, if we were being picky, the restaurant is rather hectic at lunchtime.
Who do you think would like it?
The attentive service and personalised programmes will put solo spa goers at ease. There are six silent zones within Ragdale so you can easily find peace. We saw groups of three or four women and one group of twelve enjoying the spa. Although most guests were female, we saw several men spending time in the spa and relaxing in the thermal journey.
Ragdale is a spa for all ages. From mums and daughters to groups of the older generation, the spa was filled with an array of ages. One group made us smile: three generations having a spa day together. Ragdale welcomes you from 16 years upwards, making for a perfect introduction to spa-ing.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
Once again, we awarded Ragdale Hall a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles. This destination spa is set in beautiful gardens, has three pools, an extensive thermal journey, and multiple areas to relax. There were plenty of staff around everywhere and everyone we encountered was warm and helpful.