The Spa at Ramside
Durham, County Durham, DH1 1TD
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
14 treatment rooms
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.
1 person says this spa is family friendly. 1 person says this spa is a social spa.
Ramside Hall is an elegant manor house with a large, modern spa extension that has been sympathetically designed to harmonise with the main building. Don't be put off by the focus on golf as you drive in, the spa is pretty spectacular.
Just about anything you would want at a spa. Ramside has five pools, five heat experience rooms, a mud rasul, 14 treatment rooms including two double suites, a sleep sanctuary with sound wave therapy beds, a well-equipped gym and fitness studio, and a hair salon.
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 products. A large well-lit area with four 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 has a sauna.
The 25-metre swimming pool is perfect for serious swimmers. It is light and bright with windows down the long side of the pool, a small bubble pool at one end and plenty of seating. Nearby is the amphitheatre sauna which is a few steps down from the main pool. It's hot at 90-100 degrees Celsius, and two sides are floor-to-ceiling glass so you can look out over the pool. There is also a small steam room.
Through double glass doors is the large hydro-pool with massage jets. You'll need a spa wrist band to get through the doors as this area is not open to health-club members. The hydro-pool has some lovely flourishes; the gentle sound of the waterfall is very relaxing. Help yourself to flavoured waters and kick back on the padded recliners around the edge of the pool. Tucked away in one corner are more heat experiences. The caldarium has blue and black tiled benches; the salt inhalation sauna is warm and invigorating; the herbal infusion sauna has a glass wall overlooking the garden, and the steam room is aromatic. After all that heat, cool off in the drench showers filled with iced water.
Just outside, the spa garden is built around an outdoor vitality pool. There are plenty of recliners, an outdoor sofa area, and a wicker "cabin" with two beds, so you can snooze in the shade.
Post-treatment, try the Sleep Sanctuary which has sleep pods and sound wave – gently vibrating –beds. The lighting is low and each bed is part-screened so feels very quiet and private.
The Beauty Snug is designed so groups can hire it exclusively. The Snug has a rooftop hot tub and soft seating, large changing room, and a space that can be set up as a make-up bar for group bookings.
There's also a gym on the first floor which a large window overlooking the spa garden. Do your exercises while planning your dip in the pool.
We had a Balinese Island Massage (60 minutes, £80) and a Tri Active Advanced Facial (60 minutes, £80).
Ashleigh, my therapist, mentioned that these were her favourite treatments to deliver and I could soon see why. Ashleigh asked me about my skin (dry tending to dehydrated) and about how I wanted to feel at the end of the treatment (relaxed and invigorated). She invited me to smell several oils so I could choose the oil my body most needed. I chose the Restorative Oil which contains sweet orange essence, and is very uplifting.
I settled on the warm treatment bed and Ashleigh started with the Balinese massage. She used plenty of long massage strokes along my back, arms and legs. The massage is designed to be deeply relaxing and indeed it was. I was almost asleep by the time Ashleigh invited me to turn over. She cleansed, toned and applied a face mask before massaging the front of my arms, stomach and legs. She removed the mask, cleansed again and applied a serum and moisturiser. To finish the treatment, she massaged my scalp using ESPA's Pink Hair and Scalp Mud -- one of my favourite products.
I left the treatment feeling very relaxed and invigorated, and my skin looked brighter and plumper -- exactly what I had requested.
Ramside Spa offers a good selection of ESPA massages, body treatments and facials, plus their own signature treatments. We like the sound of Thai and Mighty, a Thai-inspired massage designed to improve joint mobility and flexibility, or Sleep Solution which includes a clove- and lavender-infused exfoliation, a hot poultice massage, and a scalp massage. You can also try manicures and pedicures, and treatments for men and mums-to-be.
Fusion spa café offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, supper, and a full drinks list. The theme is Asian-inspired classics. Stacking bento boxes make a perfect spa lunch; we had bang-bang chicken salad, duck spring roll, tempura prawns, jasmine rice, and edamame beans. We could also have tried Pad Thai, Thai curries, and more traditional sandwiches and wraps. Portions are large and the food is rich but delicious.
The main hotel offers more formal food options. Try The Rib Room for classic steaks, The Club House for gastro-pub-style food, or Pemberton's Carvery, which serves roast lunches every day.
The sheer range of pools: The 25-metre pool is great for a few laps, the hydro-pool perfect for working on aching muscles using the massage jets, and the outdoor vitality pool is great fun. Sadly, the upstairs infinity pool was not working on our visit.
The peace of the Sleep Sanctuary: Well away from the pools, the relaxation room is very tranquil and inviting. We could have curled up there all afternoon.
The spa bedrooms: They're modern, light rooms decorated in soft greys and greens with huge, well equipped bathrooms. Just a short shuffle from the spa, you can drift along in your robe and flip-flops.
We didn't love
The lack of a relaxation space on the ground floor: The pool area does feel noisy after a while and although you can escape to the restaurant area for a quiet drink, it would be nice to have a few sofas to sit and read.
Small groups of friends: Ramside is a relaxed, gently social spa, so ideal for friends to catch up. We saw several couples, some groups of friends, and some mums and daughters. If you're part of a larger group, try the beauty snug upstairs which has a private room, nail bar, and infinity pool on the balcony.
Treatment junkies will enjoy the wide choice of treatments on offer.
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.
We awarded The Spa at Ramside a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 bubbles for its light and airy design, lovely pools, carefully designed treatment rooms, and restful sleep sanctuary. The Spa at Ramside is a sociable spa that offers excellent treatments and good-value spa days and stays.
Sybaritic Spy visited in September 2016 and awarded it 5 Bubbles
Durham, County Durham, DH1 1TD
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.
There are no offers for this spa.