Ragdale Hall, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

Ragdale HallWhen did you last eat dinner in a fluffy dressing gown in a dining room full of similarly attired diners?  Well, it was a first for us!  Debbie and I were happily ensconced in the elegant restaurant at Ragdale Hall feeling very indulged and more than a tad pampered.  In fact so relaxed were we, that an extra pudding, as well as cheese and wine, was ordered and enjoyed after our very good dinner!   Food at Ragdale is not rationed nor is it anything less than you would expect in a quality country house hotel.

For those who work hard and seem to be permanently on the run, a Ragdale Reviver has got to be the answer, 26 hours of “me time”.  Arriving mid afternoon to the grand but not intimidating reception area, there was a hint of fluffiness and a definite air of relaxation.  Our treatments, full body massages, a facial and a mani/pedi had been booked in advance and we were handed our timetables as we enjoyed a complimentary cup of tea whilst having the Ragdale set up explained to us.  This is a great idea as you could wander about totally unsure of what to do and where to go.  It is a large place, with seemingly endless facilities, of these more later, and there is the potential to lose oneself, both literally and metaphorically. 

Jennie and Debbie at Ragdale HallThe bedrooms, should you be staying, are delightful, very comfortably furnished with quality linens too, and ours had far reaching views over the tennis courts, to uninterrupted countryside with vast skies, a scene devoid of almost anything manmade.  It was certainly different to my usual Friday afternoon outlook over grey buildings in Euston and the BT Tower light show.   I loved the fact that guests are politely requested to use mobile phones only in their rooms.  Two things that instantly made me relax a notch or three – no calls from anyone and no news for a day or two unless I decided to read the paper!  The Wifi works just fine if you are technology dependent and running a website, as we are!

So upstairs and into the fluffy robes, ready for the first of our treatments.  It all felt rather naughty and indulgent at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, but hey, I soon got into the swing of it.  Ragdale has a central atrium where you wait to be called by the therapist assigned to you.  It was all very gentle, not too regimented and worked very well.  There are 50 treatment rooms, all busily in use from 9am to 7pm, by a small army of charmingly uniformed women and even a few men.  Each one I met was serene and extremely efficient, several had worked at Ragdale for years.  My massage was divine, the facial left me mentally and physically floating.  It was certainly hard to recognise the harried and hurried woman who had shown up but 4 hours earlier.  I was transformed into the pampered person I deserve to be!        

Spa - back massageThe unexpected delight of the day came after dinner.  Comfortably replete, we headed to the Thermal Spa where we had the place practically to ourselves.  I was astonished, there was hardly another soul in sight!  So as a top tip, stroll along here in the evening and enjoy the place in peace.  The Candle Pool was tranquil, a sunken deep bath of water lit by flickering candles and all so warm, followed by the Colour Flow Cave and the Scented Room.  It’s like a very kindly assault on the senses, which creates a sense of well being and easy languor.  This can be tempered by the Ice Fountain (does what it says on the tin) but we gave it a miss.  Cold water is just not my thing!  My favourite was the Waterfall Pool, a meandering stream that takes you outside to find a quiet nook with massage jets and rising steam.  I just bobbed about staring at the stars, thinking that maybe I should have discovered the spa experience some twenty years ago!  There is a fairly serious indoor pool too for those who enjoy swimming lengths and a separate exercise pool for aqua classes.  Water, water everywhere – what heaven.

Ragdale PavillionSo there was nothing for it but a relatively early night after all the relaxing and I slept like a baby.  There is the option to breakfast in your room, it’s taken by most guests, however we enjoyed a brisk-ish early morning walk and ate in the garden room.  Coffee, tea, healthy drinks and most excellent cake is on offer all day long. 

Next on the agenda was to undertake a couple of classes, Bollywood, then Pilates.  The studios are modern, with sprung floors and next to a very well equipped, very well used gym.  The charming Frankie took us through our Bollywood paces and given the mixed ability of the group, managed us charmingly and taught us well.  The same was true of the Pilates.  There’s a lightness of touch at Ragdale that allows you to participate as much or as little as you choose.

The Beauty ExpressSo glowing gently, as we felt we deserved to, we enjoyed some retail therapy in the well stocked beauty shop and availed ourselves of one or two unmissable, very good offers.  There’s great range of products at good prices here.  And then to lunch, a nutritious wide ranging buffet, which restored our energy levels.   I was reluctant to leave, I really was, however home and my laptop were missing me (even if the feeling was not mutual), so vowing to return, I headed off.

Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Spa has a superb selection of short and longer breaks; you can visit for a day, several days or even a week.  The therapists told me that many guests are regulars who come two or three times a year to give themselves a treat.  There are groups, couples and single guests, all enjoying the peace, the treatments and of course, the pampering.  Returners are offered a discount along with the offers for Mother & Daughter days, Easter breaks, Romantic weekends and more.  In fact I defy you not to find a perfect Ragdale moment.  I know we most certainly did!     

Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa
Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
Tel: 01664 433010
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•  The wonderful range of offers can be found here

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