HOTEL of the week; RAGDALE HALL SPA MELTON MOWBRAY, LEICS.
Byline: VICKI GRIMSHAW
WHERE AND WHY In the heart of the rolling Leicestershire countryside sits Ragdale Hall, a former Elizabethan hunting lodge. It has been a health farm since the 1970s and is now considered one of the premier award-winning health resorts in the country. It offers luxurious accommodation combined with innovative health and beauty facilities. Guests come here for one reason only - R&R in a white fluffy robe and flip flops. I headed straight for the famous thermal spa. Here you can work your way through its various chambers, getting hot and steamy in the Colour Flow Cave, salty in the Volcanic Salt Bath, breathing in the aromatic herbs in The Scented Room before floating in magical heaven in the underground Candle Pool. Guests can also enjoy Ragdale's new addition to its pool collection - a rooftop infinity pool with views across the gardens. There are 93 en suite rooms from standard and economy to superior plus, three suites, a four-bed lodge and an adapted room for guests with disabilities.
WHILE YOU'RE THERE Fitness fans can work up a sweat in the gym. The two studios offer everything from spinning to Chinese fan dancing. Then pamper yourself with a treatment or a makeover in the beauty or manicure rooms. My one-night break included a divine 50-minute Blissful Face and Back Therapy.
ON THE MENU In its previous incarnation Ragdale was a 'fat farm' which weighed guests and then fed them the 'Ragdale cardboard brick' breakfast biscuit. These days, you can be as naughty or as a healthy as you like, choosing from the tempting daily menus cooked by top chefs and served in the grand dining room under twinkling chandeliers. Every guest gets treated to breakfast in bed, lunch is a copious buffet with a wide range of hot and cold mains, salads and puds, and then you feast on a three-course a la carte dinner with wine - you can even have steak and chips!
WAKE UP CALL Prices start from PS83 for a spa day and PS141 per person per night for a spa break. ragdalehall.co.uk, 01664 434831