As much as I love London, sometimes you really do need a break from the hustle and bustle and I found the perfect way to unwind, and the epitome of zen – a weekend luxury spa retreat at Rudding Park, a gorgeous privately owned hotel, in Harrogate, Yorkshire.
It had been a busy month since I left full time employment in September and had become self employed through October, and in between I had also been abroad on a press trip and so was looking forward to some time to just recharge after a hectic few weeks. Rather than a trip abroad I welcomed the idea of a staycation with wellness in mind.
We arrived on a sunny but crisp Saturday afternoon for a one night stay and I immediately felt at ease as we checked in, as the hotel was just so lovely, warm, welcoming as well as serene and secluded, despite being a ten minute taxi drive from Harrogate station. As the town centre is so close it is ideal if you want to go and explore.
I adored the decor throughout the hotel, the vibrant colours, the homely yet modern feel and the utterly luxurious Spa. There was a lovely lounge area adorned with bookshelves which was the perfect place to chill and read a book or to ignite creative vision.
We were staying in one of the spacious and very colourful Spa rooms, and our room had its own private steam room, which was literally such an amazing bonus, and which we made full use of, putting on a face mask and treating ourselves to much deserved pampering time.
It also has a fabulous bath tub and the toiletries were from Molton Brown, which was just fantastic as they are one of my favourite brands. I also love it when hotel toiletries are of a good quality as when you are on holiday you want premium quality brands.
There was a pillow menu should you wish to switch your pillows to an alternative type, which I thought was great as sometimes I do really struggle with pillows in hotels and so it is nice to be given a choice.
I had a Hot Stone Deep Tissue Muscle Melt booked at the Spa soon after our arrival time and so I quickly wore my robe and slippers and dashed in the direction of the gorgeous Spa from the comfort of the sliding door in our room. It was literally a minute’s walk.
The hotel encourages you to wear your robe on the grounds in order to just relax, and I loved that feeling of not having to worry about anything except what your next pampering treat would be.
My Spa treatment was heavenly – it was my first time having a hot stone massage and the warm basalt stones felt amazing. I hd suffered a back injury years ago and so every now and then my muscles are sore and tight, so the deep tissue massage really helped relieve that and I felt totally relaxed.
After the massage I was given a delicious slice of chocolate brownie and a refreshing Kombucha to drink before being led to the relaxation zones.
Now Rudding Spa has four different relaxing zones which is amazing as everyone has their own individual way of relaxing. For those that want to have a snooze there is a Sleep Zone, whereby the room is dimly lit and the ceiling has a starry sky effect.
There is a Visual relax zone where you can watch soothing images on a large screen.
For those that want to listen to music, there is an Audio Relax zone complete with comfortable couches to chill on.
My favourite though, was the Mind and Relax zone, which had colouring books, colouring pencils, books to read and puzzles in a colourful space, which was just perfect to focus on some mindfulness.
After feeling really relaxed, we headed back to the room where we ordered some Tattinger Champagne from the room menu, which swiftly arrived chilled and ready to enjoy.
Champagne in hand, and feeling ultra chilled, I filled the bath tub with Molton Brown Pink Pepperpod bubbles, and it smelt amazing!
Feeling totally tranquil with my glass of champagne, I felt all the stress and worries slip away and totally enjoyed the sense of calmness amongst the aromatic bubbles in the stunning bath tub, which I wish I could take home with me!
We then got ready and enjoyed an incredible and imaginative Tasting menu for dinner at the Horto restaurant, paired with some excellent wines and the restaurant is located in the Spa wing of the hotel, so not far from our bedroom so we could literally roll back after all the amazing food.
We started the tasting menu with celeriac and apple cones, a different take on the reuben sandwich with pastrami, kilon rye on crispy sourdough and some freshly baked heavenly bread.
As a shallot lover, I adored the shallot with pickled leek in a sake based sauce with its fusion of flavours. It had the presentation of a Michelin star restaurant and I was really impressed.
Next up was a slow cooked lamb with celeriac and apple and cooling creme fraiche on the side, which was delicious. The gastronomical journey that Horto was taking us on was a real treat to the senses.
The second mains dish was an organic chicken dish with potato cooked two ways. It was really flavoursome and tasty but I would have selfishly liked the portion size to be a tad bit bigger as I was really enjoying the variety of textures in the dish.
The Yorkshire reared mallard was next served with beetroot and a duck sausage. This was the dish I enjoyed the least as I am not really a duck fan. It was presented beautifully though.
The sweet courses were next with the first dessert being a yuzu tart with bergamot, followed by pear served with ginger snap and maple crumble.
The finale was a chocolate ganache served with blueberries and sheep’s milk ice-cream, followed by my absolute favourite, a selection of cheese. The desserts were all decadent and sublime and really brought smiles to our faces.
I had been eyeing up the cheese board all evening and was so excited to tuck into it and it was literally an amazing selection of cheese and I went to bed really happy and with no nightmares, if you believe that cheese gives you bad dreams!
The next day we woke up super early and were at the pool for 6:30am, when it opened. It was so worth it as we got to experience and enjoy most of the facilities. You can actually even tell just how early it was from the photos as it was still dark outside!
There were even saunas where you could go in after a pool session, of which my favourite was the Juniper Log Sauna.
After the sauna, we headed to Horto restaurant in our robes, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast. I opted for Avocado on toast, poached egg, hazelnut dukkah and chimichurri, which was full of flavour and the perfect way to fuel the rest of the morning.
We then headed to the Rooftop Spa to enjoy the facilities, which were seriously amazing. Outside there is a Spa bath and a Cabin sauna. The Spa bath opens at 8:30am and it is so lovely to relax in.
My personal favourite out of all the various different facilities was the hydrotherapy pool which was just marvellous and perfect for my back.
It was warm and you could switch on the bubbles whenever you wanted for a full body aquatic massage and as it was outside, you could enjoy the peaceful surroundings, the sound of the birds chirping nearby and just total peacefulness.
After the hydrotherapy pool and before we had to (sadly) check out, we pampered our feet in the Foot spas whilst relaxing catching up on our twitter feeds (the hotel also has wifi so you don’t need to have a total social detox if you don’t want to). Our sensible foot spa neighbours were indulging in the Sunday papers and I wish I had brought a book with me.
The entire weekend at Rudding Park was just perfect – the hotel is set in idyllic grounds with golf courses next to it (I know if I bring Amit next time he would be happy with that), perfect for outdoor rambles, there was fantastic food at Horto restaurant, as well as a second restaurant called Clocktower restaurant, which we didn’t get a chance to try, amazing state of the art Spa facilities, contemporary bedrooms and fabulous service.
There was a gym and private cinema at the hotel too, making it ideal for an all round staycation with something for everyone.
It really was the perfect blend for a luxury spa break and if you want somewhere to totally relax, recharge and refresh, this is exactly the best place for it and I would highly recommend it to anyone needing a little escape and to have a weekend filled with zen.
Disclaimer: Our stay at Rudding Park Hotel was complimentary but all views and photos are my own.
For more information about the hotel and to book, visit their website here.