September 27th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
We almost feel like someone has hit the fast-forward button on 2018 as our feet have barely touched the ground these past nine months, and now in the midst of our autumn Luxury Wedding Show season, things are showing no signs of slowing down!
And not that we’re complaining. So far it’s been a year of hard work but fabulous rewards in producing another two stunning issues of UNVEILED magazine and giving this gorgeous brand a slick new website too. We’ve also added some amazing new venues to our portfolio of shows and have more exciting announcements to come in 2019. We had an epic run of events in the spring and are loving being back out on the road for the current collection of events and all the time we’ve kept the pretty pages of Brides Up North filled with inspiration, up to the minute news and trends as well as priceless expert info and tips.
So, you could say we’ve got a lot going on! This might explain why we snapped up an invite from the wonderful team at Ragdale Hall for an overnight spa break quicker than Megan could make her way through the guys on Love Island this summer.
Having visited this beautiful venue of tranquillity before, we knew we were in for 24 hours of pure relaxation and excited by the glorious sounding additions and enhancements at Ragdale Hall that had taken place since our previous stay – most notably the Rooftop Infinity Pool.
The welcome to Ragdale sets the tone for your time at the spa as you arrive at its idyllic Leicestershire countryside location to be greeted by friendly staff who take care of your luggage and even park your car for you – fingers firmly un-lifted from the off.
Once checked in we enjoyed a hot drink while we were run through our schedule and given a map of the site – that’s right a map! Larger than your average spa, Ragdale boasts an impressive list of facilities beyond the usual pool, sauna and steam room, with impressive outdoor areas, relaxation rooms, exercise pool, gymnasium, fitness studios, hair and beauty studio, treatment rooms and three shops, plus its famous Thermal Spa. With all this on one site it comes as no surprise that some guests at Ragdale check in for an entire week, I mean, can-you-imagine?
But alas, we needed to soak up the heavenly goodness in the in the short but sweet time we had and so after a light Caesar salad (and prosecco!) lunch it was straight into the robes and out into the new Rooftop Infinity Pool, which forms part of a recent multi-millionaire-pound development at Ragdale – and worth every penny, if not for the view alone! The open-air, stainless steel pool is heated to a cosy 35 degrees and features reclining underwater massage jets – by day we liked to idle at the infinity edge breathing in the open countryside beyond, while by nightfall it was another level of peace to lay back on the bubbling beds and gaze at the stars.
In the same area there is also a modern elevated lounge area with floor-to-ceiling glass enjoying the same delightful views and therapeutic atmosphere, plus on the ground floor a shiny new exercise pool, complete with aqua gym and cool LED light show.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Thermal Spa – a playground of relaxation consisting of a range of experience rooms, some of which have been exclusively designed for Ragdale and so can’t be found elsewhere.
Enhancing for the mind, body and soul the rooms vary in temperature, lighting and aromas to deliver different benefits. We particularly loved the Thought Zone, designed to inspire positive thinking, and the Colourflow Cave, which combines a heady mix of jasmine, lavender and camomile for a hedonistic detox. The crème de la crème for us though has to be the Candle Pool – an underground candle-lit cavern with star-lit ceiling and inviting 34-degree waters. Pure heaven, and if it wasn’t for our pruning fingers, you might still find us in there now!
After a bob in the outdoor Waterfall Pool we headed to our room to shower and dress for the evening meal. Served in the wood panelled dining room, Ragdale’s expert chefs always offer a beautiful choice of healthy yet thoroughly appetising dishes, with a tempting choice of starters, main and desserts.
Both Julia and I chose the tomato and mozzarella salad to start, followed by a vegetarian pasta main and I then opted for the indulgent ‘comfort pudding’ of a roulade while Julia selected the cheese board to finish, all washed down with a delightful Sauvignon.
Feeling highly satisfied we retied to our rooms for a blissful night’s sleep before another bout of relaxation, and treatments – always the highlight of any spa trip.
We began our day with breakfast in the bright and airy Verandah Bar, which offered a feast of cereals, toast, pastries and fruit, which we devoured – me alongside a helping of smoked salmon and avocado and Julia along with a small stack of fluffy pancakes.
Our treatments were scheduled next and so we took a seat in the glass-ceilinged waiting area, just outside The Beauty Express where guests can enjoy glamourous treatments such as facials, tinting, manicures and pedicures.
My friendly therapist showed me through to one of the comforting treatment rooms, with soft lighting, relaxing music and soft throws and towels upon the massage bed. After explaining my treatment – a 50-minute Blissful Face and Back Therapy – and enquiring on any areas of tension and skin concerns, I was left to get comfortable.
For me a perfect combination, the treatment included a firm yet relaxing neck, back and shoulder massage with all the aching niggles teased from my muscles, and a revitalising facial that left my skin with a post-holiday-like glow. Definitely a great treatment option for any stressed-out brides-to-be that will leave you feeling better on the outside and within.
With the office to-do list calling we managed another quick dip in the pools before enjoying a buffet style lunch of delicious meats, fish and salads in the main Dining Room ahead of our reluctant departure.
Certainly one of the biggest spas to our knowledge, there is no fear of not being able to idle away the hours at Ragdale and its vast array of facilities, treatments and accommodation makes it an ideal escape pre- or post-wedding with your girls, your guy or even alone for some serious ‘me time’ – even if just for that dreamy rooftop pool alone!
Ultimate Day – A spa day planned out for sublime luxury and ultimate pampering with a trio of treatments and a three-course lunch, plus champagne and canapes.
Clarins Men’s Muscle Ease Body Massage – Designed to ease tense shoulders, back knots and aches this intensely therapeutic treatment uses aromatic essential oils to supercharge stress-relieving benefits restoring a mindful sense of wellbeing.
Luxury Refresh & Revive – Enjoy a full day at Ragdale with your leading ladies with a fabulous choice of treatments, buffet lunch, plus afternoon tea with a glass of sparkling rose.
Decleor Ultimate Aromatherapy Getaway – A seriously indulgent three-night stay designed for total relaxation and pampering with real results, including £192 worth of the top of the range Declor aromatherapy treatments, that will leave newlyweds well and truly blissed out!
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Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...
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