How do you like your eggs in a morning?
It turns out I like mine brought to my bedside on a breakfast tray, after an early swim, but before a morning of enjoying steam rooms, saunas and incredible relaxation.
Welcome to Ragdale Hall – the most beautiful, contemporary and luxurious spa in the country.
Set in the rural village of Ragdale, close to Melton Mowbray, it truly feels like a world away from the daily grind.
Stepping through the doors of the stunning, sprawling red brick country house means an immediate end to all those irritants – the constant emails, the chores, the worries.
The dress code of choice is a white towelling robe, and that includes to dinner. Everything is taken care of for you, starting with a valet parking the car, right up to breakfast in bed on your departing morning. This is a place you will never want to leave.
But let’s rewind a little.
Our visit was focused around the spa’s newest attraction, an infinity pool and its sixth pool, built above the entrance, not that you’d know it was there from below.
And what an pool it is. A seamless stretch of cool blue water lies before swimmers as they enter the stainless steel facility through a glass fronted lounge room complete with cocoon hanging chairs.
Once inside the delightfully warm pool, you can choose to chill by the edge with a stunning view of rolling green fields laid out before you, or to lie back on a recliner and let go of everything with an underwater massage jet.
We alternated between both, feeling the contrast between the 35 degree water and cooler air on our bodies, as steam rose around us, for quite some time.
The infinity pool is reason enough to visit Ragdale, but there’s plenty more as well.
Daily exercise classes from yoga to more active sessions, talks and outside activities are laid on – there’s a room dedicated just to silent reflection on a multitude of beds and sofas – plus shops, cafes and endless spaces to read, play games or talk in.
That’s before you even get to its raisin d’etre, the award-winning spa treatments and thermal spa.
After a second dip in the pretty outdoor pool, where cascading waterfalls beat the knots from our shoulders and backs, we chose to while away the hour before our treatment in the very English garden adjacent to it with a glass of fizz and a game of Scrabble.
There’s a large central point to the treatment spa where therapists wait for their eager clients, and we were taken separately to rooms from there. Our inclusive treatments of ‘blissful face and back therapy’ included a slow, rigorous massage, working over the back, shoulders and arms until the tension just melted away.
They finished with a facial using luxury products which left both of us revitalised and positively glowing over the dinner table. The list of spa treatments is impressive, too – from aromatherapy to flotation and foot treatment.
Ragdale started life as a traditional health spa, and at dinner you can be as ‘good’ as you like, as dishes are coded to show which are the most guilt free.
It’s a great concept...
We chose to treat ourselves with a glass of red wine and three courses that fell into the middle rating. All were presented beautifully, from the perfectly pink lamb to the chocolate dessert and miniature cheese board. Coffee is served in the Verandah Bar while the sun sets over the garden.
As you’d expect, sleep is easy after a hard day’s work relaxing that ends in a gigantic bed and tastefully decorated room.
The bikini was back on first thing for that appetite-stimulating swim – followed by a full breakfast tray back in the room. Another example of Ragdale’s efficiency, this works as overnight visitors are handed breakfast forms when they arrive. You choose dishes from several categories, from smoked salmon with rye bread to fresh fruits, and they arrive as if by magic.
Our last few hours away from normality were approaching, and I spent them dipping in and out of the heat treatments in the thermal spa.
Each takes inspiration from treatments around the globe, particularly Japanese traditions. Two of the highlights were the Candle Pool, a silent underwater cavern lit by flickering candles and gentle music. It’s a magical place for some deep thinking.
Next door, the Colour Flow Cave has more of a tropical feel. The scents of chanomile, intoxicating jasmine and sage are steamed into the room, decorated with gorgeous mosaics and a central crystal mountain.
After steaming away any stiffness, you can cool down with crushed ice, before heading into another room to start all over again. ‘Just another minute here’ will quickly become the constant refrain...
Loathe to leave, we dragged out our stay as long as possible with a game of pitch and putt after checking out on the lawns.
There really isn’t anything you cannot do there – with croquet, bikes to ride and bowls also on offer. We hadn’t even had time to visit the exercise studio or all the pools.
And so we wished goodbye to Ragdale, making another wish that one day, we would be back.
- Ragdale Hall, Ragdale Village, Melton Mowbray LE14 3PB 01664 434831. Visit http://www.ragdalehall.co.uk to check out the latest offers.