Ramside Hall is set within 350 acres of private grounds near Durham. Formerly the home of the Pemberton family, Ramside Hall was transformed into a hotel in 1963. The bright and modern spa has a thermal suite with two saunas, two steam rooms and a caldarium. Embrace you inner mermaid and dip in and out of the five different pools. Treatments are by ESPA, try the Sleep Solution or Thai and Mighty.
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- 25m swimming pool
- Balcony infinity pool
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Outdoor vitality pool
- Thermal suite
- Herbal infusion steam
- Himalayan salt steam
- Sunken amphitheatre sauna
- Aroma steam
- Mud rasul
- Sleep sanctuary with soundwave therapy beds and sleep pods
- Beauty snug with pedicure booths and nail bar
- Make-up and hair parlour
- 14 treatment rooms
- 2 double treatment suites
- Fitness studios
Our Spa Spy review
The spa at Ramside Hall is in a large, modern extension to the original manor house hotel. It shares the pool, gym and Fusion restaurant with health-club members and hotel guests, with separate thermal areas for spa-goers only. The spa has a light, bright reception area, with welcoming staff behind a desk who will soon orientate you. They issue you with a wristband that gives you access to the changing rooms and thermal areas.
What's on offer?
Just about anything you would want at a spa. If you're unsure of where to go or what to do next, one of the friendly spa butlers will be on hand to help.
Ramside has three changing rooms: male, female and family/accessible. Each has plenty of lockers, and the female side has two private changing cubicles, three bathrooms and five showers which are well stocked with ESPA body wash, shampoo and conditioner. A well-lit area with mirrors and hairdryers is where you can sit and preen post-spa, and there's plenty of stylish white seating around the lockers. The male changing area also has a sauna. On the way to the pool, choose a pair of flip--flops from a collection in some baskets.
The 25-metre swimming pool is perfect for serious swimmers. It is light and bright with windows overlooking the garden and plenty of loungers around the edges. To one side is a bubbly hot tub. There is a water dispenser poolside and plenty of magazines for lounging with.
The large, wooden "sunken" sauna is hot (90-100 degrees Celsius) with a very dry heat, so take a towel in to sit on. Two sides are floor-to-ceiling glass so you can look out over the pool. Next to the sauna is a twinkly aromatic steam room with mosaic tiles and lights in the ceiling; also nicely warming.
You need your wristband to go through double glass doors into the large hydro-pool; this area is not open to health-club members. The space is peaceful and relaxing, with the gentle sound of a water creating a soothing ambience. A good place to start is the caldarium which has warmed blue and black tiled benches; sit on the heated seats and catch up with friends or spend some time alone and enjoy some ‘me’ time.
The hydro-pool has various massage jets, including some effective back and shoulder soothers. The Himalayan salt steam room is warm and invigorating. The herbal infusion sauna has a glass wall overlooking the spa herb garden; not as hot as its sister by the swimming pool, its gentle heat matches the gentle view. You can cool off in the drench showers filled with iced water.
To one side of the hydro-pool is a small juice bar where you can help yourself to flavoured waters or order drinks and smoothies.
Outside is a spa garden built around an outdoor vitality pool. Relax after bubbling on the recliners, in the outdoor sofa area, or the wicker "cabin" with two beds, so you can snooze in the shade.
Upstairs are the quiet treatment rooms, the Beauty Snug where you can sip a glass of Taittinger while your hands and feet are attended to, and the low-lit Sleep Sanctuary which has massage beds for your post-treatment return to the world. There's also a small, private bookable space with relaxation beds and an infinity-edge pool, where you can sit and watch the trees grow; ideal for small groups.
The gym on the first floor has a large window overlooking the pool, and a good range of cardio and resistance machines, and weights.
Tell us about the treatments
I tried the ESPA "My Hero" Back, Face and Scalp treatment (90 minutes, £110) which does exactly what it promises by concentrating on these three key areas.
My therapist, Ashleigh, took me through to a calming treatment room decorated in light tones of brown and gold. While I sat in a golden chair, Ashleigh asked me how I wanted to feel after the treatment, and gave me different oils to inhale to see which I was naturally drawn to. I chose the Fitness oil with its notes of Indian Bay, Clove Buds and lavender, and the herbal Spafresh toner with scents of peppermint and elderflower.
Ashleigh began the treatment with a back exfoliation using apricot seed kernels; it was brisk and refreshing, followed by a massage which was deeply soothing and relaxing. Hot stones helped ease the tension in my neck and lower back, while Ashleigh did her best to unravel my permanently- knotted shoulders.
For the personalised facial, Ashleigh looked at my skin under a bright light and showed me areas where it was dry,and others where there was sun damage. She chose products for the facial accordingly; indeed, they felt very nurturing and hydrating on my skin. She gently massaged my face, using pressure points and working on my tense areas, paying particular attention to my eyes.
The scalp massage was heavenly. The magic pink hair mud is optional but worth it, leaving your hair in lustrous condition.
To end, Ashleigh applied a finishing serum and moisturiser. I left the treatment refreshed, renewed and recharged, which is the most you can ever want from a spa treatment. An ideal choice if you're feeling stressed.
My spa partner tried the Advanced Skin Radiance facial (90 minutes, £110) and came into the darkness of the sleep sanctuary practically glowing, she was radiant.
Ramside Spa offers a wide rangeof ESPA massages, body treatments and facials, plus a couple of signature treatments unique to Ramside. You can also try manicures and pedicures, scrubs, and rasul mud therapy. The menu also includes make-up by Mii, and treatments for men and mums-to-be.
In 2016, the spa at Ramside Hall Hotel became part of Wellness for Cancer. Staff are trained in massage, manicures and pedicures which have been created to ensure anyone whose life is touched by the illness can feel relaxed and comfortable.
The Fusion spa café is open all day, and brunch, lunch, or afternoon tea is included in many day-spa packages. Brunch offers choices such as smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, and waffles with mixed berries. Our granola and Greek yoghurt was delicious.
After brunch, Fusion lives up to its name, offering Asian-inspired dishes for lunch and dinner; even the afternoon tea includes dim sum and spring rolls. My lunch of teriyaki salmon was spicy and freshly cooked to order. My spa partner's vegetarian Bento box contained tasty avocado sushi, jasmine rice and edamame beans. You can also order dishes such as Pad Thai, Shanghai noodles, Thai curries, and more traditional sandwiches, wraps and fries. Portions are large and the food is rich but delicious. You can feel quite comfortable eating in your robe during the day, but you will need to dress for dinner.
Don't miss the tea menu: we loved the jasmine bai, and the white rose and raspberry. The team can advise on suitable dishes if you have food allergies or intolerances.
We loved / we didn't love
The range of experiences on offer: Whether you want a brisk swim, a gym work-out, a soothing steam or a chilled relax, Ramside has something to suit.
The enthusiasm of the spa butlers: All the staff are friendly and helpful, but I've never had my towel tidied with such aplomb.
The spa bedrooms: They're modern, light rooms decorated in soft greys and greens not far from the spa. If you're staying overnight, you can drift around in your robe and flip-flops.
We didn't love
The lack of a relaxation space on the ground floor: The pool area can feel busy after a while; although you can escape to the restaurant for a quiet drink. It would be nice to have a few sofas dotted around to sit and read.
Who do you think would like it?
Small groups of friends: Ramside is a relaxed, social spa, with many different spaces, so ideal for friends to catch up.
Couples can enjoy treatments together, or you may also like to book the infinity pool area for maximum peace and privacy.
Golf widows or widowers: If your partner is a keen golfer and you are not, send him or her off to the two championship golf courses while you chill out in the spa.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Spa at Ramside a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles for its light and airy design, range of experiences, enthusiastic staff, excellent treatments, delicious food, and restful sleep sanctuary. The Spa at Ramside offers good-value spa days and stays with something to tempt almost everyone.
The Fusion restaurant serves pan-Asian food including light bites, afternoon and tapas.
Ramside Hall has 127 rooms, 47 of which are newly built alongside the spa.
The spa facilities are open Monday to Friday: 6.00am-10.00pm; Saturday and Sunday: 7.30am-9.30pm.