We spent a blissful 24 hours at Leicestershire’s infamous retreat just before the second lockdown kicked in and couldn’t think of anywhere better to spend our last few days of relative normality.
Ragdale Hall Spa Review – Arriving just in time for a quick dip in the rooftop infinity pool before dinner, it didn’t take long to figure out why this place has snatched countless awards over its 40-plus years in business.
Installed back in 2017, the infinity pool became an instant showstopper with its unrivalled views of the expansively lush green grounds. It was the perfect tonic after our journey and a nice taster of things to come.
The hotel itself manages to mix old and new seamlessly; no mean feat when you consider the sheer size of Ragdale and a history dating back to 1785. Our room offered up an impressive vista of the gardens and comes equipped with everything you need after a hard day of chill time. Think ultra-comfy beds, premium coffee, fluffy robes and generously sized White Company toiletries and you’re there.
The Overnight Reviver Break we enjoyed includes dinner, bed, breakfast and lunch, as well as a 50-minute treatment and full spa access. With check-in time from 2pm and check-out at 6pm the following day, it allows for 28 hours of uninterrupted indulgence.
The dining room is pure old school, but don’t let that put you off mooching down in your comfiest gear. Whilst many guests choose to dress up for the evening meal, casual wear is encouraged for those that want to avoid making an effort.
The menu included in the price offers up treats such as Smoked Trout for starters and Braised Oxtail for mains, but we opted to upgrade to the chargrilled 21-day aged beef fillet. Having previously experienced mixed results ordering steak during spa breaks, the prime cut of melt in the mouth steak that arrived was well worth paying a premium.
Served with roast onion, grilled tomato, field mushrooms, crunchy greens, and a delicious peppercorn sauce, it was up there with the best British steakhouses. The rich and juicy Andeluna 1300 Malbec from Argentina’s celebrated Mendoza region only elevated the meat further and was far from the priciest wine on the list.
Too full for dessert, we accepted the offer to have a cheeseboard delivered to our room for later. Another nice touch that wasn’t too much for the impeccable service which didn’t falter throughout our stay.
After the best night’s sleep, I’d had in a long time, a knock on the door signalled the start of a top-notch breakfast in bed. Fresh melon, croissants, eggs, and coffee made up the impressive continental offering, which could have been served a little later if you were to grumble (8:30am is the latest time for morning room service).
The early awakening did come with its benefits, however, as it meant more time to explore the seemingly endless spa facilities. As well as a large gym and two oversized indoor pools, the Thermal Spa is a space you’ll struggle to tire of.
The stunning indoor/outdoor waterfall pool is incredible and a magnet for those looking to capture some Insta-worthy shots to make your loved ones jealous. After sunset, the combination of high-powered back massagers and ever-changing light show will make it hard for you to leave.
The Elemis Blissful Face and Back Therapy treatment served up a breezy 50 minutes of much-needed pampering, particularly to my knotted upper back. My masseuse was not only brilliant at her job but an excellent conversationalist if you happen to have a motormouth like myself.
Our post-treatment lunch adorned in our robes was once again, exceptional, with seared grilled chicken and halloumi served on a bed of thick udon noodles, sauteed pak choi, red chilli and miso broth.
Your stay isn’t complete without a detour to the recently renovated Twilight Bar, which boasts a seriously good looking interiors and a cocktail menu to match. The Old Fashioned and Bloody Mary’s we ordered were both off menu, but not a problem for the seasoned pros behind the bar.
Back inside the Thermal Spa, a wealth of rooms offers something for the fussiest of visitors. One highlight was the Rose Sauna, which features calming video projections on the ceiling as you unwind the scent of fresh roses.
The Volcanic Salt Bath isn’t for the faint of heart with its powerful blast of heat but stick with it and you’re rewarded with a eucalyptus spritz designed to improve your breathing. My personal favourite was the unexpectedly sublime candle pool, which is a dark and moody mosaic cavern peppered with flickering candles and a ceiling speckled with twinkling starlight.
After one last dip in the moonlit infinity pool, it was time to check-out and head back to reality, already armed with plans to return in 2021 with friends. A place rarely exceeds expectations to such a degree, but Ragdale Hall is a rare gem that you need to add to your bucket list.