First reviewed: February 2018
Updated: March 2019
Forget the glitzy hotels of London, Paris or Rome. You need the gorgeous golf and spa resort in Yorkshire, Rudding Park; Names the Best Spa Hotel in the UK by Sunday Times.
This month I returned to indulge in the newly built £9 million spa at Rudding Park. After being invited to a pre-opening and interviewed by Stray FM about my experience so far, I needed some more time to discover all its wonders.
About Rudding Park Hotel
The polished city centre five star hotels might have full occupancy, but they can’t compete with the stunning setting and outstanding service Rudding Park offers its guests and visitors. The golf and spa resort on the edge of the Victorian Spa Town, Harrogate, has been voted the fourth best hotel in the world and won countless other awards including the Top Three Best Hotels in the UK at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016.
The Mackaness family acquired Rudding Park and its 2,000 acres in 1972 but it didn’t become a hotel until 1997. The philosophy of the owners has always been to continually invest in Rudding Park. Previously, the hotel offered a small treatment spa which opened as part of their last development in 2010. However, a destination spa has always been part of the vision for Rudding Park and the Spa you see today has been in the planning for the last four years.
A warm Yorkshire welcome
As it was Niki’s birthday earlier this month I thought I’d bring him along as my guest (also I’m hoping he’ll remember it as a present idea in years to come, hint hint!)
Our spa day experience started with a welcome drink and breakfast snack in Horto. The Spa staff were so welcoming and I even recognised some of the team from my review of Horto in it’s previous location. Now settled into the new spa complex, the restaurant couldn’t look any more stunning. Designed by Yorkshire interior designers, Horsley & Feather, Horto and the rest of the spa is inviting, modern and uber cool; just how I’d like my house to look.
For drinks, Niki and I both ordered a coffee but I’d recommend the delicious looking smoothie. We were also treated to a choose of breakfast snacks; granola for Niki and a carrot, courgette and ginger cake for myself, it was the perfect beginning to what was to be the perfect day.
Our experience in the UK’s best spa
After been shown around the Spa it was time to opening our lockers to ditch our cloths for a sumptuously soft gown and flip flops. Rudding Park had left me a very gorgeous gift bag of ila goodies which I’ve created my own little Rudding Park Spa at home! Thank you so much, I love the incense sticks.
It was our turn to explore the three floors, I can’t tell you how big this spa was but to put it into perspective; I reckon there was around 100 people enjoy the spa on Saturday 8th July. Not once did we feel like it was busy, there were plenty of places to sit, lie, or dip and a part from breakfast, I didn’t see my friend one throughout the whole day. There’s just loads to do including soaking up the sun at the Roof Top Spa and Garden, enjoy the indoor pool, juniper log sauna, bucket shower, mud rasul, book in to the make up bar or hair studio, and indulge in retail therapy. Trust me this spa will not leave you bored.
We went straight to the Roof Top Spa to experience the Hydrotherapy Infinity Pool, which overlooks the beautifully landscaped gardens of Rudding Park. Spa Director and family member, Matthew Mackaness recommended it as his favourite spa area. Matthew said, “The indoor-outdoor infinity edge pool offers views of the gardens as you experience the hydrotherapy massage journey, including a foot volcano, leg and back massage, and swan neck massage. The thermal waters and therapeutic water pressure help relax muscles, increase blood circulation, and relieve muscular pain and tension.
Best to relax on submerged air loungers and take in the fresh air. The underwater lighting enhances night time bathing under the stars is also a must see!”
Rudding Park’s Roof Top Spa
Continuing the wellness journey, the Roof Top Spa also offers a Herbal Bath Steam Room emitting wonderful aromas of lavender and euka- menthol, a Luxury Steam Room with a soaring mosaic dome, an ice fountain to boost circulation and the immune system, as well as a relaxing Foot Spa, warming Evo lounge beds and an Experience Shower for warming tropical rain and a refreshing cool mist.
A recent visit (2019) to the spa with my sister, I’ve seen they have opened two new spa experiences.
A very cool and ultra modern Oxygen room; aimed to increase circulation and oxygen by 27%. And a Sunlight room giving you a health dose of Vitamin D. I’ve seen both in other UK Spas however, they are usually at an additional cost so this is a welcome addition to Rudding and really upholds it as a value for money spa.
Spa gadgets galore
The Spa offers the latest in gadgets from wristbands which unlock your locker and give you entry to the different areas. The spa also offers iPods to use in the Mind and Senses Zone; allowing you to centre mind and body whist listening to meditation and sound healing
There’s was one item that had Niki and me baffled, in the sauna we came across this item:
A donut-shaped piece of wood had four independently movable wooden disks. At first I thought it could be a massage implement but after trying to massage Niki’s back with little success I put the object back down. It wasn’t until Niki rested his head in it that we found out it’s purpose. The most amazing and comfortable headrest – who’d have thought it! However I did feel a bit like a geisha girl.
Magical spa waters
Do you ever feel your skin tighten and your eyes start to feel sore after being in the pool for a period of time? Well, Rudding Park Spa has recaptured Harrogate’s spa heritage using natural waters from the grounds at Rudding Park; meaning it’s really gentle on the skin and eyes – yay for us!
Be prepared to be pampered
The full day spa experience includes a 50 minute treatment which use the Elemental Herbology product range, or Jennifer Young for those living with and beyond cancer. Now on our second spa day together, Niki has grown a fondness for facials, so chose to have a Radiance Facial and I chose the Vitality Body Ritual as I wanted something I’ve never experienced before.
My therapist, Kelli, welcomed me in to the luxury treatment room to talk me through the treatment and ask my preferences on how deep I’d like the massage. The revitalising treatment began with a full body exfoliation using a tropical smelling sugar, salt and papaya scrub which left my skin silky soft and glowing. After showering off the scrub, Kelli used hot stones to massage my back, neck and shoulders relieving me of tension from the week gone by and restore calm after a manic Friday. It was the day after my first Harrogate Tribe event! Having never experienced hot stones, I felt the stone deepen the massage experience and relax the muscles quickly, allowing Kelli to work her magic and weave out the many knots.
In addition to Elemental Herbology, ila, Carita, Mii and Jessica, Rudding Park Spa work with Jennifer Young who brings the world of beauty to those affected with Cancer. The spa have also partnered with the Sir Robert Macmillan Cancer Centre in Harrogate to help increase awareness to cancer sufferers of this new offering.
Two course lunch at Horto
Horto, set up by Murray Wilson in 2016 has gone from strength to strength. You can read more about the restaurant and it’s ethos in my last post. For lunch you could choose two courses and a drink from the set menu. Now listen up, these two courses can be anything from two starters, two desserts, two mains, a main and a starter or a starter and dessert. Anything goes! So Niki and I chose to share, as we always do, a smoked salmon, potato rosti, pea with dill & mint ricotta, a harrissa roasted carrot, feta, spelt, avocado puree, toasted seeds and hummus salad and a chicken, garden pesto & spinach sandwich made with homemade focaccia. For dessert we chose the dark chocolate tart, candied kumquats, creme fraiche and orange sorbet. Deliciously refreshing food but indulgent at the same time.
Spa Afternoon Tea
On my latest visit (2019), my sister and I had afternoon tea. It was a lovely way to end our afternoon of pampering.
My Rudding Park Spa Review
What you see is what you get. A complete indigent experience which will leave you feeling like you’ve just had a weeks holiday in a 5* resort. Rudding Park Spa is pricey but once you’ve been you understand that nothing has been forgotten or spared.
Rudding Park Spa Prices List
Spa Day with Afternoon Tea
FROM £121pp UNTIL 31 MARCH 2019
FROM £133pp FROM 1 APRIL 2019
12PM – 5PM
50 minute bespoke treatment
Afternoon Tea at Horto Cafe
Roof Top Spa and Garden
Afternoon Tea at Horto served at either 3pm or 3.45pm (subject to availability). Choose to stay in your robe or change.
What’s next for Rudding Park
The Spa created an additional 50 job opportunities for ‘talented individuals with personality’ for a range of roles including spa therapists, spa hosts and reception staff to chefs, restaurant service, housekeeping and gardeners. Rudding Park now employs approximately 250 members of staff. It’s a great addition to Harrogate and the local economy.
I asked Matthew what he felt was next for Rudding Park. “There’s one goal in mind” says Matthew, “to position Rudding Park Hotel and Spa as the best in the country.”
I look forward to seeing Rudding Park grow and achieve this ambition.