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October 3, 2016
Wedding dress. Tick.
Venue booked. Tick.
Invites sent out. Tick.
So, you’ve spent the last few months piecing together the crucial elements that will make your wedding day the best ever. How are you feeling? A little exhausted no doubt.
That’s exactly how I felt and, as I’m not one for pink tiarras, L-plates and inflatable body parts, I decided to take some time out and treat myself to a more refined and luxurious hen-do.
So with my sister and Mum in tow, this exhausted bride-to-be headed for a weekend of pampering at Ragdale Hall. Set in the glorious Leicestershire countryside, Ragdale is one of the most celebrated spas in the UK, and it’s easy to see why.
Set in stunning, peaceful surrounds, this former Georgian manor house combines the ultimate in relaxation with first-class facilities.
With our overnight bags quickly whisked away from under our noses at check-in, it wasn’t long before I could feel the tension across my shoulders begin to melt away.
Within minutes we’d found ourselves ditching the jeans and trainers in place of fluffy white robes and slippers to make way for some full-on pampering.
Checking our pre-booked treatment schedules, we worked out our plan of action for the next 30 hours during our Overnight Reviver break. We could see already that the biggest problem we’d face was trying to cram it all in!
While Kath and Mum went to find a lounger by the expansive indoor pool, for me it was time to tame those nails in preparation for the big day, so I headed off to the treatment area to await my manicure and pedicure.
Preened to perfection I escorted my nails back to the room where it was time to get ready for our evening meal.
The food at Ragdale is exceptional with no restrictive calorie counting. You can be as good or as naughty as you like using the ‘Ragdale windows’ system by each item, as a guide as to which dishes are best for your waistline.
Evening meal is a-la-carte and served in the grand hall. You’ll even find the likes of steaks and steamed ginger sponge pudding making an appearance to tantalise the taste-buds – along with a sneaky glass of Sauvignon should you so wish. Well, one won’t hurt will it? It is my hen-do after all.
Feeling exhausted from our ‘hectic’ day, after dinner we decided to make the most of those comfy beds and get an early night’s kip.
A knock on the door awoke us from a sound night’s sleep as breakfast, chosen at check-in, was delivered to our room on trays. After packing in the protein with a delicious banana and vanilla loaf, platter of egg, ham and tomato, a fruity compote and hearty porridge, it was time to hit the gym to work it off again.
Equipped with an array of ultra-modern machines, weights, mats and TV screens to keep you entertained, the next half hour was spent bashing out a high intensity interval training (HIIT) session before joining Mum and other willing residents for our ‘legs, bums and tums’ workout with Danny our instructor.
Having sampled classes at other retreats before and found them a little feeble (hence the pre-workout-workout in the gym) we were ready for Danny to do his best, only to find ourselves dripping in sweat within minutes.
Encouraging us every step of the way, Danny is typical of all the staff we encountered at Ragdale – exemplary. Each and every one was genuinely interested in ensuring our visit was one to remember.
A wide range of exercise classes ensure everyone is catered for from ‘Relax and Unwind’ and ‘Hula Hooping’, to ‘Studio Cycling’ and ‘Barre Conditioning’, as well as a range of outdoor activities such as lawn croquet, tennis and country walks.
But enough of all this exercise, it was time to eat again. Lunch offers a delicious buffet of salads, cold meats and hot healthy dishes, along with a cheeky dessert or two!
The afternoon was lost in a whirl of creams, aromatherapy oils and sleep-inducing massages as we continued to indulge in the extensive menu of traditional and holistic therapies.
One of the highlights of our visit was Ragdale’s superb and award-winning Health Hydro and Thermal Spa area. Here you can delight in 12 unique water spa experiences from floating on a pillow in the candle room, to a soothing volcanic salt bath, sweat inducing rose sauna and the invigorating freezing cold cave shower for those brave enough to try.
As if that wasn’t enough, stepping into the waterfall pool and past the foot spa, we swam out into the open air to try out the head and body massage jets waiting for us around each and every corner.
The enormous indoor pool is fantastic for cracking out a few lengths to help work up an appetite for the evening meal ahead before taking time-out on the surrounding sun loungers where I defy anyone not to drop off under their book!
So if you, like me, are a hen in need of a ‘do’ with less of the dazzle, Ragdale Hall could be the one for you. If you’re booking for next year, you could even sign up to one of their Fitness Breaks which include Pilates, Dancercise, Real Life Yoga, Zumba, Walking Fitness, Running Clinic and Fitness Kickstart.
It could be just the thing you need to help down tools, detox and squeeze into that gorgeous wedding gown.
A two night midweek break is from £325 per person including all meals, inclusive treatments and use of facilities. Two night weekend breaks from £384. Day packages from £59 – £205. Reservations 01664 433000. www.ragdalehall.co.uk
Picture: The grand exterior of Ragdale Hall health spa