Luxury spa is the king of UK 'staycation' destinations
It was a blissful Sunday morning on holiday.
Breakfast was served to us in bed, before we headed separate ways, I for an exercise class overlooking the green scenery outside, and he pursued some outdoor sports.
Reunited in the outdoor pool, jets and tumbling falls pummelled away any niggles, while the sun shone through the trees and on to the glistening water.
It reads like a scene from an idyllic holiday somewhere hot and exotic, a plane ride away.
But it turns out the answer to a perfect UK staycation lies much closer to home.
Ragdale Hall is a stunning luxury spa located just 90 minutes from Sheffield, in a picturesque village near Melton Mowbray.
It’s mostly known as an award-winning destination for pampering, loved by regulars from all over the country and beyond, as well as some celebrity fans, due to its top range treatments and full immersion in relaxation.
Guests can leave their clothes, and their worries, at their room door as it’s possible to spend the entirety of your break in one of the spa's white robes if you wish.
What many people may not know is the stunning range of other activities available; all of which mean a weekend at Ragdale will just fly by.
Starting as we meant to go on, we arrived in time for the health hydro's famous lunch.
There were already blissed out faces around the tables of the dining room, as we settled down for a three course introduction to the historic building.
Unlike some hotels, particularly on holiday, Ragdale caters for those who want to stay healthy while they are away. The days of calorie controlled spa dining are gone, but each dish has a handy guide to how healthful it is.
It meant one person in the party could enjoy a vibrant and colourful salad selection, with fruit for dessert, while the other could go the whole hog with a roast dinner and pudding for afters. No prizes for guessing who had what...
Burning off some of the all inclusive meals is, thankfully, simple too.
Notch up some miles in the exercise pool, just one of six they have on site, before heading upstairs and diving in to the brand new and impressive rooftop pool which looks out to on the pristine gardens and rolling countryside surrounding the spa.
Our favourites were the outdoor pool and the candle pool, an underground hidden gem where flickering candles, classical music and warm temperatures soothe the senses gently.
That’s before you get to the thermal spa of course. It’s rooted in traditions loved around the world for centuries, but designed to be ultra contemporary.
There are a dazzling array of 11 different experiences to try in total.
Let your mind roam free in the thought zone, a dry heated room with ever changing scenery projected on to the ceiling, restful in the extreme. Or head into the volcanic salt bath for an intense experience that aids muscle relaxation and deeper breathing; something we could all benefit from.
Don’t be surprised if you run out of time before your scheduled inclusive treatment, as we did.
His 50-minute blissful face and back therapy was obviously a success, while my facialist expertly cleansed, exfoliated and moisturised until my skin felt brand spanking new.
Name a top skincare brand, and Ragdale likely has it in its arsenal.
And it's the same for the treatments; our only regret was not booking more, whether it be a nails overhaul or a deep massage. For the real beauty fanatics there are even skincare demonstrations, free expert workshops and an extensive shop packed with products to enjoy.
Dinner is more than an afterthought at Ragdale, which hired new head chef Martin Carter late last year.
The menu offers something for everyone and is fantastic at catering for dietary requirements. Our lamb main was simply incredible, with medium rare, juicy meat in a rich jus. A selection of cheeses enjoyed over a game of Scrabble in one of the relaxation rooms finished off the heavenly day.
Such a restful Saturday led way to an active Sunday. My pilates class - one of 18 fitness or activity classes held a day – toned long forgotten body parts and targeted good posture to boot. It was easy to catch up with a normal workout too in the gym next door, before heading back to the pool.
Outdoor pursuit enthusiasts have plenty to get their teeth into here, with surrounding walks, tennis courts and free mountain bike hire all available.
The team are rethinking the golf course, so we took the chance to learn the charms of croquet on the lawns.
There was much left undiscovered from our trip as the time to leave came all too soon.
With no airport queues or currency conversion to worry about, yet all the benefits of a holiday abroad, Ragdale really is the king of the UK staycation destinations.
Ragdale is offering a special two night Summer Getaway Break, for August and September with prices starting from £330 per person and there is also a special upgrade option available.
For more details visit https://www.ragdalehall.co.uk/special-offers/new-summer-getaway-break/