You don’t need to travel abroad to find those glitzy outdoor spas – look no further than Harrogate in Yorkshire at the beautiful Rudding Park Spa and Hotel.
One of my favourite pastimes is scouting for mini breaks or holidays; I love having something to look forward to. When scouring the internet for a luxury spa break in England, I have to say I find it to be slim pickings.
Many lack the facilities I look for in a spa, some contain treatment rooms but often there isn’t a pool or sauna. If there is one, the decor is outdated and traditional. Think of your local swimming baths, you get the picture.
I had the pleasure of staying at Rudding Park Hotel back in 2016 before a friend’s wedding. Back then it was a beautiful large manor hotel situated in its 200+ acres of landscaped gardens and woodland alongside a quaint little church. The spa consisted of just a few treatment rooms and a relaxation room.
Fast forward to 2018 and they’ve spent £9 million in the last two years building an entirely new building dedicated to just the spa, consisting of a whopping 3 floors.
I had mentioned that it would be a great idea to surprise our parents with a trip just before Christmas and have some of their best friends join as a surprise, and since it is not a great distance from our family home in Yorkshire it was the ideal place.
Needless to say it’s a little cold this time of year so we were happy to be greeted by a roaring wooden log fire right in the entrance hall. After having a tour around the hotel we sat in the atrium for a cup of tea whilst our friends arrived.
Once the rest of our party had arrived and our rooms were ready, we were eager to spend the day in the spa and that’s exactly what we did. We changed into swimwear, followed by throwing on our robes and headed down the corridor to the spa (I love a hotel where you can walk around in your robe as if it’s the norm!)
To Infinity and Beyond
Everything was brand spanking new and incredibly luxurious. First we headed for the top floor to the outdoor hydrotherapy infinity pool. I’m such a wimp when it comes to cold water! And when they said it was heated, I didn’t think that there would be any chance of me getting in, expecting something that’s more luke-warm in temperature. But my mum was already in (and she’s a wimp like me), so if it was hot enough for her it was hot enough for me! It turns out it was set at a constant temperature of around 40 degrees – perfect!
I always find people actually use hydrotherapy pools for what they are there for, using the jets for massages etc. or they simply see a button on the edge of the pool and just have to press it!
Personally, I generally prefer them off; I like the peace and serenity of the still water, and with this pool situated outside it allows you to take in the sound of the breeze and birds and really tune into your senses, surroundings and what you’re experiencing.
Whilst my usual spa experience involves total peace and relaxation, our first part of the morning in the hydrotherapy pool we were all a little bit hyper. Needless to say we were excited with the surprise of our family and friends joining, and with it being a celebration during the festive season we did crack out the champagne and had a good old laugh and catch up in the pool. Even the other guests asked if it was our Christmas party and where do they apply!
After settling down, Lauren and I were particularly happy to relax after a busy period launching ARDERE.
Something for the Senses
They don’t just have one steam room, but two! And one of these appealed directly to our love of scent therapy! It’s as though it was created just for us! Their herbal bath steam room is full of fresh herbs grown from their very own kitchen garden in the grounds. During our visit, they used rosemary leaves creating the most wonderful rejuvenating aromatic steam infusion. The cleansing properties of the vapour and radiant heat worked to improve our breathing and alleviate congestion.
That wasn’t the only thing to stimulate your senses. Whilst I talked earlier about avoiding the need to push a button, however when it comes to their experience showers its unavoidable! I love them! Warm tropical rain, atmospheric lighting followed by a fresh cool mist to complete the journey.
The Great Outdoors
Again, it seems that one sauna just isn’t enough!
Out on the spa rooftop, we tip-toed down the path past the outdoor perfectly lit jacuzzi (which looked beautiful for the evening starlight experience) to the garden sauna cabin. I loved the change in temperature from the fresh cold air to the juxtaposing heat of the sauna. However, my favourite was the panoramic sauna where we could take in the green gardens and the dry heat helping to rid our bodies of toxins, relax our muscles and improve our circulation.
This is Where it Gets Interesting…
Sunlight therapy and oxygen pods, their latest addition to the spa. The sunlight therapy room was ideal for this time of year where we are lacking the rays of the sun and often experience a dip in our levels of vitamin D. This room incorporates 100% safe ‘sunlight stimulators’ that replicate natural sunlight and its benefits including increasing energy, vitamin D, aid with better sleep and help to eliminate seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The oxygen pods was set in a rather cool room, whilst its difficult to discern what this room is actually doing for your health when sat in it due to it not being anything like what most spas contain such as a sauna or steam room, it is something very different. But this room in fact has increased oxygen concentration levels of up to 27% helping to strengthen your immune system and fight the signs of ageing.
The dry salt inhalation in the pods also help promote better breathing, healthier skin and sleep quality. Last but not least, my favourite benefit of these pods! The room contains increased levels of negative ions (if you don’t know what they are, this is something I’m going to be talking about in an upcoming article), but one of their benefits is that they help reduce pollutants in the air and help with body regeneration.
The Mind & Sense Zones
After our treatments we had the pleasure of using the mind and sense zones that enhance wellness of mind, body and soul consisting of 4 rooms. The Visual, Relax, Audio and Mind rooms.
The Visual room was our favourite and what we spent most of our time in. Whilst technology doesn’t often go hand in hand with wellness, this room had done it right. A large screen full of videos of picturesque landscapes from Iceland to New Zealand and the subtle sounds of nature. After my massage and this serene environment, it’s no wonder I fell asleep in the hanging basket chair…
The other rooms consisted of an area to sleep beneath tiny spotlight stars and a space to exercise the mind with puzzles and mindfulness colouring therapy.
The remainder of our stay involved our dinner at the hotel’s Clocktower restaurant followed by breakfast at Horto, the Spa’s restaurant. And of course one last dip in the pool before we headed off home.
I would definitely recommend this place for some me-time or for a special mini break away with friends. It is somewhere I would travel to from anywhere in England (even if I wasn’t from Yorkshire) as the cute neighbouring town of Harrogate is certainly worth a visit anyway!
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