As well as blogging here (hello!) I also co-edit family travel blog Space In Your Case. One of the things I feel strongly about, with Space In Your Case, is that as well as focusing on brilliant places you can go with the kids, for fantastic family experiences, we also look at child-free breaks and date nights. Which might seem odd, considering we’re a family travel site but I truly believe that for many of us, we’re better parents to our kids if we have the odd night or weekend off. Of course, not all of us are lucky enough to have childcare available nearby, but if you do, I fully recommend doing it. You’ll come back revived, refreshed and with a desire to spend quality time with your children.
The Clarins Mum And Me Time spa day at Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire is designed for (yep, you guessed it) you and your mum. So it’s perfect for either leaving your partner at home to hold the fort for a day, or if he likes pampering too, Ragdale Hall are more than happy for couples to book the package.
I decided to take my good blogging friend Katie to Ragdale Hall – she had been twice before and loved it, whereas I was a Ragdale virgin. Of course, now I can totally see why she was keen to go back for a third time!
We arrived at 10am and the staff who greeted us were so friendly (in fact, everyone we met there was lovely) and they explained how the day would work. We were given locker keys and filled in a health questionnaire over a cup of tea. Then we headed to the locker room where we found a fluffy white bathrobe in our lockers, along with our schedule for the day. The attention to detail here seemed spot on – granted it’s easy enough for them to print off your schedule and pop it in a locker for you, but it just gives that welcoming air of ‘We’ve been expecting you’.
Our Clarins Serenity Facials were booked for 4pm which meant we had lots of time to relax beforehand. We headed into the spa area which has a sports pool, a large swimming pool, an outdoor pool (complete with waterfalls – lush) and then lots of different rooms, from a Thought Zone (a dry heat and warm, ergonomic seating coupled with music, images and colours which is designed to inspire positive thinking and inspirational thoughts), a Rose Sauna and a Scented Room (natural materials, fresh aromatic herbs and a gentle hue of colours help to invigorate senses). My favourite room was the Candlelit Pool – where you walked down some steps into a warm pool in a mosaic cavern with lapping water lit by the flicker of candles and a star-lit ceiling. It was magical. Some rooms, including this one, are silent rooms… and we managed to stay quiet while other guests were in the Candlelit Pool but I admit we started having a gossip when we realised we were in there alone!
We decided it was time for tea and cake, so we headed to the Verandah Bar and sank into one of the big sofas. After sitting there for a while, reading magazines, we realised it was soon time for lunch, which is included in the Clarins Mum And Me package. The dining room is huge and feels formal in quite an old school way (waiters and waitresses put one arm behind their back when pouring things) but still relaxed and friendly.
Lunch is served buffet-style but any concerns about rabbit food or tired looking food are quickly dispelled when you see the buffet – as well as amazing looking salads, rice, pasta, humous and soups, there was roast gammon, jacket potatoes and a Mexican special. We were actually a bit too stuffed after we’d eaten, but rather than doing anything strenuous to work it off (Ragdale has a gym, loads of exercise classes you can join, tennis courts and more) we headed back to the spa for a little more relaxation.
Before we knew it, it was 4pm and time for our Clarins facial. My therapist was so lovely and having worked there for 12 years, I knew I was in safe hands. I’m not just saying this (I promise) but the facial was one of the most relaxing I’ve ever had. She left me for five minutes at one point and when she came back, I was properly asleep. As we left the treatment area, we picked up our free Clarins gift which everyone on this package gets (An Eau Dynamisante Body Lotion (100ml) and Exfoliating Body Scrub (100ml) and a Clarins Beauty Bag worth £25) and headed to The Pavilion, one of the chill out areas.
In fact, one of my favourite things about Ragdale Hall is the number of relaxation areas they have – there are so many little areas to sit in, with a drink and your book, and switch off. Some, like The Retreat with its Cath Kidston style florals, are silent areas and others allow a bit of talking. There are also a few garden areas, with loungers and seats, which you can use on a mild or warm day. There are beautiful flowers and plants everywhere and out the front of Ragdale Hall, there are deckchairs and hanging hammock chairs. Everything is designed to aid total relaxation.
Because Ragdale Hall is a three hour drive from me, we decided to add on an overnight stay, which you can do with any day spa package they offer. We went to our room at around 6pm, finding our bags had already been delivered there (love that attention to detail). We had just enough time for showers and a bit of a chill before dinner at 7.45pm.
Done in a table-service style rather than buffet, I went for beef bourguignon followed by strawberries, meringue and cream… and it was delicious. Afterwards, we could have gone to one of the many talks that Ragdale host in the evening, but instead went to The Lounge with a cuppa and sank into another big sofa. You’d have thought, by then, we’d have run out of things to discuss but we were there until 10.30pm setting the world to rights.
Breakfast at Ragdale Hall is served in your room, which at first I thought was a little odd. I’m a huge fan of hotel breakfasts and rightly or wrongly think you can judge the quality of a hotel purely on the quality of their brekkie. However, it was so so nice to wake up and after a little while, hear a knock at the door when our breakfast was there on two trays, ready to be brought into us. You choose from a menu the day before and if I’m being fussy, I’d say the portion sizes are small, but that probably says more about me and the amount I usually like to eat for breakfast when I’m staying in a hotel.
We could have stayed longer on our second day, but we had to get back home to mum/work duties, so we said a sad goodbye to Ragdale Hall and jumped in the car.
The main thing that have stayed with me since I got home is how friendly and welcoming Ragdale Hall is. There was a warmth to the place that only added to how relaxed I felt when I was there. The staff’s attention to detail and professionalism really shines through. I totally recommend you go!
In case you’re interested, the Clarins Mum & Me Time package is £229 for two (Mon-Thurs) or £279 for two (Fri-Sun) and includes:
– Clarins Serenity Facial (40 minutes)
– Three course buffet lunch
– Gift of an Eau Dynamisante Body Lotion (100ml) and Exfoliating Body Scrub (100ml) and a Clarins Beauty Bag worth £25*
– Clarins skincare consultation
– Plus full use of the Thermal Spa, relaxation areas, swimming pools, gymnasium and choice of exercise and relaxation classes
For £92 per person, sharing a twin room, you can upgrade your day spa package to an overnight stay.
You can book over at ragdalehall.co.uk
Big thank you to Clarins for inviting us to try out their Clarins Mum & Me Time spa day at Ragdale Hall. For details on how I work with brands see my Work With Me page.