As I sit here wrapped in my white fluffy dressing gown, I reminisce this time last week – the beginning of a weekend that I’d been waiting for for a very long time…
Tranquility, relaxation and luxury.
Sometimes in life, time spent doing ‘nothing’ is some of the most precious we have. It is important to recharge and relax to allow yourself to remember what you value in life, spend time with loved ones and to look towards the future in a clearer mindset. We often forget in our day-to-day lives that we require ‘me’ time, or downtime at least, to prevent stress, unhappiness and fatigue. I was able to do just that during my weekend at Ragdale Hall.
In the darkness of Friday evening, I caught the 17:45 train from St. Pancras International with my skinny latté in one hand and my weekend bag in the other. Forgetting that I’d booked a cheap first class ticket, I then enjoyed a glass of white wine on the train to start the weekend in style – why not?! When I arrived at Loughborough station my taxi drove me 20 minutes through the countryside and down small lanes, before turning into Ragdale’s beautiful grounds.
For me, it suddenly felt like autumn with the temperatures dropping and the nights becoming dark – I could not think of a more perfect break than being snuggled up in a spa resort for 48 hours. As soon as I stepped through the big wooden entrance door I was reunited with my gorgeous mummy, who had already taken advantage of the facilities and was feeling right at home.
Ragdale is branded as ‘Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa’ as above all else, they emphasise the benefits of an all round balance within our lives to achieve a healthy lifestyle. I can truly say that this weekend allowed myself to get both my mind and body back on track to promote this exact outcome of a balance, after a hectic week at work.
Shown to our twin room above the treatment facilities, I was welcomed by a white fluffy robe (hence me reminiscing right know!) and free Clarins gifts on my bed. I knew I was in heaven.
My mummy and I enjoyed a 3-course meal and some rosé before getting some well deserved beauty sleep before we indulged in what Ragdale had to offer.
Morning came, but not like any old morning, we were awoken to breakfast in bed – Lemon and hot water, trio of melon, atholl brose, smoked salmon, courgette, sundried tomato and feta frittata, and freshly baked vanilla banana bread and skinny blueberry muffins were among some of the treats we enjoyed whilst wrapped in our duvets. I felt spoiled and I’d only been there a few hours.
Post-breakfast we dressed in our Ragdale uniform (anything other than robes is out of the question) and wandered around the resort, heading towards the Thermal Spa. When there is so much on offer you really don’t know where to start – read a book in one of many of the relaxation areas? Take a seat in the Whirlpool Spa? Cleanse your body in the Volcanic Salt Bath? Or experience tropical rainfall in the Cave Shower?
We started our journey in the Thermal Spa at the Wishing Stream – where we were able to take a pebble and throw it into the stream that cascades through the spa to rid ourselves of negative energy. We then moved to the Waterfall Pool, a warm indoor-outdoor area with water jets and waterfalls surrounded by rock, stone and plants. There are a variety of inlets carved into the structure that allows you to chat in privacy with your friends and no matter what the weather, the heat of the water makes you feel like you are in one huge luxury bath – amazing I know.
If it were not for all the other incredible facilities on offer, I could have stayed in that gorgeous pool all day. However, the Colourflow Cave was calling. Filled with an abundance of humid jasmine and camomille steam, this room has coloured lights surrounding the dark interior to provide a hedonistic detox. This was one of my favourite parts of Ragdale and left my skin and body feeling cleansed and pure.
The Volcanic Salt Bath gives you an intense and humid experience. Surrounded by darkness and mist in this slate paved zone you are exposed to a eucalyptus spritz to help improve breathing.
The Candle Pool is the perfect cavern for relaxation where silence is compulsory. Flickering candles, a star-lit ceiling and lapping water, give you a sense of tranquility where you are able to lie in small bays in the 34°C water. It really is magical.
The Thought Zone is a heated, dry room with seating all the way around. A variety of music, projected images on the ceiling and colours inspires positive thinking and inspirational thoughts which leaves you feeling recharged. Here, you are able to spend time thinking about what you value and such time is crucial every so often to ensure our lives are going in the direction we desire.
A similar experience can be found in the Scented Room, where natural materials, fresh aromatic herbs and changing colours invigorates your sense and gives you the space for time out from your busy life.
There are additional saunas and steam rooms in the facilities, alongside ice buckets, experience showers and the cave shower which is lit by stars and where you can experience cool mist, tropical rain with thunder and lightning.
Once you’ve spent hours in the Thermal Spa, you can head to the Verandah Bar for a morning smoothie. The daily choice for us was mango, goji berry and apple and we sat in the pastel-themed room on sofas taking in the day.
There are also multiple relaxation areas, where you can curl up on a floral armchair to read a book in The Retreat, lay back on loungers amongst modern artwork in the Pavilion, catch up with friends in The Lounge, or grab a coffee in The Greenhouse. You turn a corner and there is something new.
There are three shops in the hotel which are all worth a visit selling everything from jewellery, designer handbags and Christmas gifts, to all the lotions and potions that are used in your treatments. Make sure you know if there are any special events going on during your stay, because there are some great offers with certain brands (and you might even get an extra free treatment)! We were lucky enough to grab a free Decléor foot and leg massage on our last morning and bagged ourselves a great deal with redeemable and free products!
The food was also blog worthy and you were never left feeling hungry. But that is not to say that it was quantity over quality – in fact, quite the opposite. The options for lunch and dinner included a varied balance of nutritional ingredients all set in the beautiful Dining Room. For lunch you can expect more guests in white fluffy gowns, with an extravagant hot and cold buffet serving everything from colourful salads, sushi, feta and courgette muffins, to Sunday Roast, curries and sweet potato lasagna! There is even pudding offered, including sticky toffee pudding, fresh fruit and yoghurt with banana chips and honey. It is the perfect setting to refuel after your ever-so-tiring morning of detoxing.
Dinner is also a feast that is served in a more classic style, with most guests daring to opt for ‘normal’ clothing (?!). Each item on the menu is classed under 1, 2, or 3 windows which indicates whether it is a lighter option, or a more indulgent choice. Similarly there is a lot of choice, from beetroot and plum salads, filo pastry wrapped salmon with asparagus, mushroom risotto and steak at an extra cost. Freshly baked bread served to start, a glass (or bottle) of wine or the “comfort pudding” mean that starvation is not an option, allowing you to unwind and leave you content after a peaceful day.
But, as with all spa weekends, it has not been a proper retreat if you haven’t squeezed in a few indulgent treatments here and there. Well…I can only say that I left on Sunday feeling the most relaxed that I have felt since forever.
During our stay I had a Lavender and Tee Tree Exfoliation Scrub, leaving my skin fresh, soft and hydrated. In addition I had a Pure Radiance Facial using Clarins and Decléor products that was 50 minutes of pure luxury, promoting relaxation and skin benefit. My personalised facial included cleansing, exfoliating, massaging and a mask – I almost fell asleep!
The pinnacle of the weekend was when I got treated to an 85-minute Decléor Aromatherapy Massage. This ultimate relaxing experience relinquished all my stresses and strains with Swedish, Shiatsu and aroma pressure. During this full body massage the masseuse used a professional ‘relaxation’ balm to melt away tension for renewed energy. Using long, slow and medium pressure techniques every part of my body was left feeling stress-free.
Sunday came around too quickly and I begrudgingly waved my goodbyes before heading back to London with oils in my hair, moisturized skin and a glowing complexion – I felt like a new woman! All I can say is that if you feel as though you need some time off from life, go to Ragdale Hall, it creates moments that you will never forget and allows you to unwind like no other place will allow. Whether it is just for the day, or a weekend, you won’t regret it for one second. Visit their website here for more information, or if you just feel as though you need to be tempted some more…
Take me back now, please?