Last Thursday, I threw my gorgeous Debenhams blue spotted bandeau swimsuit, towel and my gym kit into a bag, got in my car and headed off to a small area of which can only be described as heaven on earth! Surrounded by beautiful countryside, Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa is located a stones throw from Melton Mowbray in acres of stunning Leicestershire scenery. I’ve been to spas before, but they’ve always been in city centre hotels or health clubs so getting to go to one in the middle on nowhere was a first for me. Getting out the car into the fresh countryside air was the perfect way to start my day, so different to Birmingham City Centre. Sophia from Tattooed Tealady was there to share the experience with me and we were in for a treat of a day.
On arrival we were given a complimentary glass of fruit punch and an energy shot containing wheatgrass and shown into the beautiful garden reception bar. There we were given our itineraries for the day. I went for the Pure Detox Spa day as I’ve had plenty of facials before and wanted to try something different. The Day would involve three treatments, a three course lunch and a complementary ‘oh so soft’ robe. I also booked in for my first Shellac nail treatment which I was quite excited about.
Before my treatments, I decided to hit the gym for a morning run. As you know, I’ve been going to the gym more often and leading a healthier lifestyle of late. 6 months ago I’d have laughed if you’d said I’d end up in the gym on a spa day but there I was ready to go. There’s something about running; I find it soothing now. The view from the gym was phenomenal – field after field. It was a gorgeous, sunny day outside – perfect summer weather. I’d have loved to run outside but I just find I’m more focused on the treadmill.
The first treatment was the one I was most looking forward too – the De-stress & Detox Mud Wrap – a full body exfoliation followed by a slathering of warm black dead sea mud to be wrapped up in. After washing off the mud the therapist moisturised my entire body. It sounds bizarre but I’d never felt so clean and soft to the touch. Obviously I shower and exfoliate at home but my skin just felt so smooth and silky. The warm dead see mud is designed to moisturise the body quickly which is why you only need to be wrapped in it for around fifteen minutes as oppose to hours. I was also given an scalp massage with coconut oil while we waited for the mud which was relaxing on so many levels.
I’m a huge fan of a body massage. I promised myself I’d get them more often as I can safely say it’s one of my more brilliant ideas. The therapist worked on my back and legs with a medium to firm pressure and I definitely fell asleep with my face squished in the hole of the bed. I was a bit tender around the side of my legs but this is probably down to my new gym routine. Does anybody else feel like they walk taller after a massage – I swear I do – probably something to do with the release of any tension making me hunch.
The Fresh Feet treatment was the one I wasn’t really fussed by before we got to the spa. I’m certainly singing a different tune now. Using O.P.I care products, your feet are exfoliated, conditioned and your nails filed to the point where you won’t want to put your shoes back on. Sitting back in the chair and letting somebody else do the hair work is fantastic. My feet have been getting a bit of a hard time lately due to running (how many times have I mentioned that now?) and years of heel abuse. I suffer with hard, flakey skin on the bottom but they’ve been much better since they had a good exfoliation.
Finally my Shellac treatment which was my added extra for the day. All I’m going to say is ‘why haven’t I had this done before?’ It’s been an instant cure for my nail biting and it didn’t take long to administer at all. The therapist was lovely – as were they all – and helped me choose a summery colour for my nails. She gave me lots of tips about nail care and spent some time showing me how to push my cuticles back properly.
Lunch was a three course buffet style which included lots of healthy foods like fresh salad, jacket potatoes and some homemade main courses. My favourite dish was my Chicken Saag, jacket potato and bundles of fresh spinach. Desert was also popular and while I couldn’t resist the chocolate pot I also filled up on a hearty fruit salad. The servers were attentive, never letting a water glass go empty and were polite as they cleaned up quickly between each course.
I also spent some time in some of the quiet rooms between treatments. I read my book on the lounger and spent some time appreciating my surroundings and how fortunate my life is. It was easy to spend some time mediating so that I could ensure my mind was as relaxed as my body.
With a few hours left before home time, Sophia and I headed to the Thermal Spa, one of Ragdale’s selling points. It consists of nine different areas of relaxation meaning that it has something for everyone. I had two favourites; the Candle Pool – a silent roomed, warm pool surrounded by candles – ultimate tranquility to relax and unwind. My other favourite was the Volcanic Salt Bath – a dark, steam room experience of hewn basalt and slate which helps with breathing and the detoxifying of the pores. I was happy to sweat it out in there, ridding my body of the toxins that find there way in through environmental factors. There was also in Indoor/Outdoor Waterfall Pool – a fantastic little area which started indoors but weaved it’s way outside into the beautiful gardens. It was filled with waterfalls that you could stand under for the perfect amount of pressure and massage jets that you could sit and relax against. I think it would be wonderful to sit there on a crisp summer evening, just before twilight. That would be magical.
Other rooms in the spa included the Thought Pool – not a pool, but a room filled with music, lights and pictures to promote positive thinking. The Rose Sauna – exactly what it says on the tin – a hot sauna filled with rose scent. I almost napped in there. The Colourful Cave was filled with a mix of jasmine and camomile and an array of colours to empower the mind. There was also a Cave Shower where you could choose how you wanted the icy cold water to fall on you – waterfall, thunderstorm or tropical mist. I went for thunderstorm which included sound effects and the feeling of pouring rain. I might have pretended I was part of the rooftop scene in ‘High School Musical 3’ – minus Zac Efron!
Overall, it was a wholly relaxing day. I made a comment that I felt like Katnis – minus you know, being in The Hunger Games – after she’d been preened to perfection – that’s how I felt. If you’re looking for a weekend getaway with the girls, family or even a partner then Ragdale Hall is perfect. There is so much to do and you’ll come out feeling utterly pampered. They’re holding a Runner’s retreat in December (4th time?) that I’m looking into because I cannot wait to go back and visit again.
Have you visited a spa before? Where should I add next on my ‘visit’ list?
*The visit, swimming costume & beach towel were provided by Debenhams.