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REVIEW | Rudding Park Hotel & Spa – Harrogate

By Lyndsey Thomas | 13th May 2018

Rudding Park – In A League of its Own

Take my virtual tour of Rudding Park’s Award-Winning Spa

January – after a lingering month-long winter bug I had officially burnt out.

I needed some proper R&R.  My aching body was crying out for a long luxurious massage. My mental health was in a state of despair after weeks of struggling to power on through the trials and tribulations everyday life as a wife, mum and business owner with a varying strain of the God-awful Ozzie Flu gripping to my weary bones.

I needed proper comfort food, a long-overdue lie in, breakfast in bed and a few 20-something gentlemen on hand to tender to my whims and one of my besties by my side.

Our overnight sojourn to Rudding Park Hotel and Spa just 10 minutes outside of the spa town of Harrogate In Yorkshire could not have come at a more perfect time. We pulled up outside the large 90-room hotel surrounded by golf courses and parkland on a biting cold morning in mid-February.

Stepping Inside Rudding Park

Beyond the very traditional, very well kept country estate-style facade is a high-spec modern interior.

This is not a stuffy country house resting on its laurels of dusty antiques, flock wallpaper covering a multitude of sins, chipped dado rails, and battered  leather Chesterfield sofas. Rudding Park has been stripped of the conventional and replaced with white walls, pops of colour, modern sculptures, contemporary lighting and an eclectic collection or art to include some very Yorkshire influenced pieces.

White fabric clouds hang from the ceilings of the corridors that link the spa with other public areas to include two very good restaurants, a spacious and rather funky bar, indoor swimming pool and even a cinema!

I’m sure there are several wonderful events spaces and banqueting rooms that play host to plenty of Yorkshire society weddings also. There’s a chapel in the grounds for those who might require one…

The Rooms at Rudding Park

It took all of 10 minutes to check into our lovely ground floor room, strip off our clothes and slide into our swimwear. Then we slipped into our slippers and wrapped ourselves in our fluffy dressing gowns supplied by the hotel for their guests.

Our room was understated – decorated in cream and chocolate tones. The beautiful big sash window provided lots of light and added a luxurious, period feel to it. Features included a large wall-mounted flat screen TV with plenty of channels, large dressing table, hair dryer, a good sized wardrobe, iron and board, tea and coffee tray, sitting area with armchairs and a pillow menu. Obvs.

The bathroom, although small, was sparkly and spotless and had a cracking power shower. Molton Brown minis added to the luxury of it all. The two of us were out of that hotel room door like a rat up a drainpipe – we made a beeline straight for the spa.

Clutching our reading matter and wrapped in our robes, with sauntered down the white corridor that lead to the library, stopping to only to swing from a modern Perspex bucket seat suspended by a chain from the ceiling.

The library, in complete contrast to the modern white corridors and staircases, features fitted Downpipe Grey, floor to ceiling bookcases filled with bright, hard-backed books. They might have well provided the colour inspiration for the vivid orange arm chairs and lime green sofas, purple floral arrangements and a colourful patchwork upholstered Chesterfield. All of which are perfectly positioned on a gigantic black and white rug that covers a lot of the warm wooden floor.

The Spa at Rudding Park

Honestly? I’m not a huge spa aficionado. I’m not good at chilling out, relaxing, and sitting still. It takes a lot for a spa to impress me, and it takes a lot more for me to feel relaxed and, well… laissez-faire. However, this spa succeeded on every level. The newly renovated Spa at Rudding Park costing an eye-watering £9.5million is nothing short of an oasis. I’d go as far as to say it’s heaven.

You would never know that the spa is housed in a separate, very contemporary building – a seamless stroll down a connecting corridor takes guests from the traditional walls of the grand house into the a large bright reception area, which also boasts an incredible gift shop.

Made up of rooftop gardens, a sun deck featuring outdoor hot tub and sauna and a hydrotherapy infinity pool, the outdoor space is well thought out whatever the weather. Jo and I were visiting in possibly the coldest February on record, and by God was it parky. We sprinted across the luxury astro-turf between the outdoor facilities, plunging into hot tubs and diving through the wooden doors of the sauna.

The cutting cold of a bitter Saturday in February made jumping into that hot tub and immersing ourselves under the bubbling water of the hydrotherapy infinity pool even more satisfying.

The powerful water jets massaged our shoulders and the rising steam in the frosty air drew similarities with the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.  Well, as close to Iceland as one can get in Yorkshire.

Without a doubt, laid out on that rooftop sundeck of Rudding Park’s Spa on a scorching summers day would be nothing short of dreamy. But there is something very cathartic, invigorating and rather privileged about relaxing in hot, bubbling water, outside on a sub-zero Saturday afternoon, with the option of a glass of chilled champagne in one’s hand – especially in the Yorkshire countryside.

Inside, the spa boasts ‘experience’ showers, foot spas, two steam rooms, a large indoor swimming pool, chill out areas with electronic, reclining beds and plenty of highbrow magazines for guests to read.

Beyond the norm of wellness and relaxation is an area dedicated to stimulation of the mind and soul – Visual, Relax, Audio and Mind. The Visual area boasts comfy seats facing a huge screen streaming incredible footage of nature and the elements.

Relax and enjoy the peace and quiet in a dark room featuring comfy beds. Stick a headset on in the Audio then curl up in one of the comfy booths and listen to some meditation tracks. And, over in Mind, one can complete a puzzle, read a book or play a board game.

If that’s not enough, and believe me a day in this spa is NOT enough (coming from someone who whizzes round most spas in a quarter of the time of most), you must make some time for a treatment. We had pre-booked a 50 minute Signature Antioxidant Booster Ritual each.

In the treatment room, laid face-down on a bed, Julia exfoliated me from my neck to my toes with a turmeric-infused Salt Of The Earth Body Scrub, which, according to Julia, has antioxidant-inducing benefits.  It was followed by a deep cleansing all over body mask and lymphatic drainage massage, which was absolutely heavenly. Usually I’m itching to jump up and run off after 30 minutes in any treatment room but not this time, I could have happily let Julia beat the knots out of my back with her elbows for a lot longer. Still – all good things must come to an end.

The icing on the cake in the spa and right across the hotel is Rudding Park’s staff. Friendly, professional, and willing to go that extra mile to ensure that your experience at Rudding is nothing short of flawless and sublime – even on the weekend before Valentine’s day, with plenty of loved-up couples and a very large hen party occupying the spa, we were still made to feel very special by all.

The layout and design ensures that it never feels overly busy. Every inch of the place was absolutely spotless too. Whilst you’re walking round with your head in the clouds, look out for the splendid display of fantastic retro swimming caps outside the large, luxury indoor swimming pool.

Oh, and the toadstools under the staircase too.

Wining & Dining at Rudding Park
All that lying around in saunas and flouncing about in hydro-pools, lifting champagne glasses and turning the pages of one’s book is hungry work.

There are two very well-renowned restaurants at Rudding Park. The Two AA Rosette award-winning Clock Tower Restaurant and the slightly more experiential Horto, where the dining experience focuses around a tasting menu.

On this occasion, Jo and I were booked in to dine at 8pm in the Clock Tower, and whilst we had the opportunity to jump ship and head to Horto, we decided to stick to the original plan – we were not disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, Horto is up there in the top five Yorkshire restaurants that I can’t wait to try, but after such an indulgent day of ‘me time’, on a cold February eve, we didn’t want the fussiness of Horto, nor did we want to fanny about with seven courses. We wanted comfort food, a cocktail and bed.

The restaurant’s decor and vibe compliments the menu – simple but stylish, warm dark tones, just the right amount of posh with undertones of comfort. A huge, exquisite Murano glass chandelier taking centre stage.

I ordered the whipped goats cheese starter and Tandoori Lamb Chops for my main. Jo kicked off with prawn tempura followed by the mushroom risotto with Yorkshire blue cheese for hers. Both courses were simple but fresh, delicious, well-cooked and filling.

The lamb chops, served with chips, were grilled to pink perfection with just the right amount of Tandoori flavour running through them. You know when you just want some really decent grub? Well that’s exactly what we got. As expected, the wine list was extensive and well-priced (we shared a bottle of Tempranillo) and the service was perfectly efficient.

We went for Yorkshire forced rhubarb and apple cheesecake and peanut butter parfait for dessert. After a heavy but lip-smackingly satisfying main course, the lightness of that rather unusually presented cheesecake was sublime. The parfait, although considerably richer, was a salty, sticky, sweet plate of heaven.

One for the road…

It would have been rude not to have had one for the road in the bar. Rory, the bar manager, impressed us with him best Tom Cruise impression and served us up a couple of incredible Martinis. My Espresso Martini was pretty special, but Jo scored the winner with Rory’s own invention – a white chocolate orange Martini.

Off to bed we skipped. Cocktails were followed by uninterrupted dreams. We pushed our beds together, cuddled up, and slept like babies for a whole 12 hours. Just bliss.

Breakfast at Rudding Park

At Rudding the staff encourage you to go down to breakfast, served in Horto, in your dressing gown.

However tempting that sounded, we decided on one last indulgence before we set off home – breakfast in bed. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Rudding Park’s Spa Sleep and Dine Experience starts from £199 per person

To find our more and to book CLICK HERE

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