Review: Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa

I had to make Ragdale Hall the first spa review I posted, because it’s where my love of all things spa began.  I had been to spas before, but the Ragdale experience was something different, and I was hooked from the first moment I stepped through the door.  I’ve been back several times and never been disappointed.

Ragdale Hall is a residential spa set in beautiful grounds and nestled in the Leicestershire countryside.  I found their focus to be on luxury treatments and total relaxation.  The customer service is absolutely terrific.  Every staff member cannot do enough to help you, and there are a lot of little touches (such as valet parking, and breakfast in bed) that make a big difference and help you to completely unwind from everyday stresses.  Ragdale Hall offers both spa breaks and spa days.  Personally I’ve only been on the spa breaks because sadly Ragdale is a two hour drive away from me – if I lived closer I would be a regular day guest!  Having said that, the residential experience allows you to completely escape the outside world and totally relax, so for me it is well worth doing.  I’ve stayed for one, two and three night breaks, and the three night break was definitely the best – if your budget allows!

The rooms at Ragdale are well sized and nicely decorated.  I’ve stayed in both superior and superior plus rooms and they were both lovely and luxurious.  If you are on a budget then book in advance because the cheaper rooms get booked up first (but I usually fail to do this!)  A Ragdale spa break includes dinner, breakfast and lunch for each night of your stay.  The food is generally good, although it tends to be safe British classics and therefore not mindblowing, and there is plenty of choice including between healthy and more indulgent options.  Free coffee and tea after meals in one of the bar areas is a nice touch.  Breakfast is served in your room around 8am each day which is a pleasant luxury, although you can request an earlier or later breakfast if you wish.  Portion sizes are good and you won’t go hungry (if you do the Verandah bar serves amazing cakes!)

Ragdale seem to be upgrading all the time – last year they added a beautiful extension to the Verandah bar, and this year they are building a new rooftop pool.  I can’t wait to go back and review it again once the upgrade is finished!

Who should go: I think anyone would enjoy this spa, but the clientele is mainly women in small groups or pairs, along with some couples.  When I visited with my husband there were enough men there to ensure that he didn’t feel self-conscious.  The age range is fairly broad but tends towards slightly older spa-goers (as a 30-something I felt fairly young), and Ragdale is probably too sedate for young party animals!  Ragdale is also not ideal for solo spa-goers, just because single rooms are very limited availability, so if you want to go solo you need to book well in advance, and usually pay a single person premium.

What I loved: Oh, such a long list!  The hydro facilities are great, with a large thermal spa, a separate 25m swimming pool with hydrotherapy jets, and an exercise pool.  I absolutely loved the thermal spa, in particular the subterranean candle pool, and the indoor/outdoor pool, although the latter gets very crowded.  My absolute favourite part of every Ragdale day was heading to the thermal spa after dinner, when it is much quieter, and you can sometimes get the pools and rooms completely to yourself.

There is an extensive treatments list including Clarins, Elemis and Decleor treatments and the therapists are friendly and skilled.  My favourite treatment was the La Stone hot stone massage, which was absolute bliss.  I also had an Elemis Lime and Ginger body scrub treatment which was amazing.  They update the treatments menu regularly so there is always something new to try, and there is a tempting beauty shop which stocks all the products and can offer further advice.

One thing I loved about Ragdale (and part of the reason I keep going back) is its laid back and inclusive atmosphere.  There are lots of comfortable hideaways where you can just curl up and relax, everyone is friendly and welcoming.  As a larger lady I felt totally comfortable and not at all body conscious – I liked that they have larger robes available on request.

What I didn’t love: I can’t find much fault with Ragdale, the whole experience is tried and tested and is delivered with seamless service and efficiency.  The only factor which may be offputting for some is the slightly regimented nature of your stay.  Guests are given a timetable and expected to stick to it, with set times for meals as well as treatments and exercise classes.  The spa break packages are quite standardized.  I don’t mind that at all (in fact it is nice to just be able to relax and follow a plan someone else has drawn up for you!), but some people may find it restrictive.  The bottom line is that Ragdale Hall is not a hotel with all the flexibility you might expect from one, it is a dedicated spa – and it runs like clockwork.

Hints and tips: Most packages come with set treatments but you can upgrade or customize them – its worth doing this to make the most of your treatment time, as the 50 minute treatments are so much more satisfying.  If you have a preference of products for your facial, let them know in advance as they are allocated beforehand.  And finally – request an early slot for dinner and spend your evening time in the thermal spa when it is so much quieter!

Book at: http://www.ragdalehall.co.uk/ or call the reservations line on 01664 433000.

Hope you enjoyed my first review, let me know what you think as feedback is always welcome.  There’s lots more reviews to come soon!

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