Every year my mum and her pals visit Ragdale Hall for their Bring A Friend Free weekend (essentially bogof) – and this year, I was lucky enough to be ‘the friend’ of choice – a gift for my 30th birthday. Something I was SO excited about, especially after the gluttony of Christmas, the horror of that first week back at work and the trauma of turning 30.
Driving up through the country lanes of Melton Mowbray and into the gorgeous Downton Abbey-esque grounds of Ragdale Hall I felt instantly relaxed. A charming gentleman (Mr Carson?) greeted our group of 8 at the front door and ushered us out of the howling winds and into the cosy belly of Ragdale, whilst a valet parked our car. It’s the little details that make the difference.
‘First things first’ said mum, ‘clothes off and robes on, immediately.’ Apparently the charm of Ragdale over any other spa is that you can wear your robe for the ENTIRE weekend – from breakfast through to dinner – and no one bats an eyelid. Because who wouldn’t want to live in a robe?
After a glass of champagne I was given a grand tour of the spa – a rabbit warren of delight after delight. I couldn’t help but notice that women outnumbered men 20 – 1. I even heard one man whisper fearfully to his wife ‘this is the future, women will take over the world and do it in robes.’
There’s so much to do at Ragdale that one weekend is not enough. I started my evening with a Candlelight Stretch class (basically Pilates) to wind down and chill out. Then I had a quick bath, popped on my robe and went to one of our group’s bedroom for some (quite a lot actually) pre-dinner bubbles. At 8pm we went to the dining room, which reminded me a lot of that scene from The Witches – hundreds of women cackling, gossiping and plotting. Dinner was a highlight. We were served a delicious three-course menu. I opted for a tomato and mozzarella salad, hearty beef stew and strawberr(ies) & cream, which was actually just a strawberry and cream, but we’ll let that one slide. I then drifted into a lovely bubble-aided sleep.
Saturday morning at 8am, mum and I were delivered breakfast in bed with a paper. Absolute luxury. The Bircher Muesli and baked eggs soufflé were delicious. We then went for our pedicure (£37) – which was very nice but could have included a longer foot massage with it. My favourite part. After letting our toes dry, we hit up a Bollywood dance class – hilarious considering my mum is the most uncoordinated person ever to have lived. Feeling rather energetic, I then dragged her into the gym for a high impact workout from my Nike Fitness app (we needed to work off all that lovely food), which we swiftly followed with more lovely food at the lunch buffet.
Bikini time. There’s 12 luxurious and unique experiences in the thermal spa including a candle pool in a cavern, waterfalls, colourflow cave and rose sauna. There’s also two pools, a heated outdoor hidden lagoon, a Jacuzzi and loads of chill-out rooms. I made use of all of them. After my extremely hard day, I relaxed with a 90 minute Decleor Age Defying ‘Qi Booster’ Facial (£84), which combines the power of natural aromatherapy skincare with the latest anti-ageing massage techniques. It. Was. Amazing. I was so relaxed. Lucky all I had to do for dinner was chuck on my robe, ignore my makeup bag and do that delicious dinner/bubbles fandango all over again.
Come Sunday, I was completely adjusted to my life of luxurious living and dreading going back to reality. Off I went to soothe my woes with a HD Brow treatment (£36) – where the lovely lady also repainted my toes, which I’d smudged Bollywood dancing. Oops. This was immediately followed with a full body massage, included in the price of the weekend. Could it get any better?
Someone save me from a life of labour. I can’t live like this anymore.
Health Hydro and Thermal Spa
Reservations 01664 433000
Treatments 01664 433043
Bring a Friend weekend – Superior Room – £270 per night based on 2 people sharing, includes all food and one treatment. Minimum 2 night stay.