I can’t stand the word ‘staycation’, but I have to admit, whoever made it up was on to something. Why do we feel the need to travel half way across the world in order to relax? I’m not discounting the healing powers of Balinese beaches, but opportunities for escapism can be found much closer to home too. I recently went to test the theory at Rudding Park in my nearby town of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Rudding Park is a privately owned luxury hotel with 90 bedrooms, two restaurants, a kitchen garden, private cinema, two golf courses and now a beautiful destination spa. As a proud Yorkshire girl and luxury lover, I was excited to hear about the opening of Rudding Park’s new spa. It has been 12 years in the making and has had a mind-blowing investment of £9.5 million. I couldn’t quite comprehend what kind of spa that much money could create, so I had to go and find out for myself.
I was lucky enough to share the experience of a pre-Birthday spa break with my boyfriend Scott. We hopped in the car and drove from York to Rudding Park within about 40 minutes. I am so used to lengthy airport rituals when I travel, so getting to our destination so quickly was a massive novelty for me (a big tick for the staycation concept). For those without cars, Rudding Park is a 10-minute taxi ride away from Harrogate train station.
As we turned off the main road and into the manicured grounds of Rudding Park, I realised just how big the estate is (300 acres to be precise). It’s so close to Harrogate city centre yet felt like the perfect rural escape. As we walked towards the reception I noticed a quaint old church in the grounds and a wedding ceremony taking place on a beautiful lawn
A Spa Room Surprise
After a speedy check-in, we were escorted to our room by one of the front-of-house staff. Much to our delight, we had been upgraded to one of Rudding Park’s Spa Rooms, which are located directly opposite the newly designed spa. The spa room was incredibly spacious with beautiful design features that oozed contemporary luxury.
Inside the equally spacious bathroom was a standalone bathtub, which came with an aromatic bath salt menu. On the other side of the bathroom was our very own hammam steam room, lined with intricate tiling and big enough for two. The hammam definitely made the room feel extra special and the Molton Brown toiletries were the icing on the cake (easily my favourite brand for hotel amenities).
Our £9.5 Million Spa Experience
That afternoon we changed into robes and swimsuits and headed over to discover the Rudding Park spa. From the exterior, it’s immediately obvious that the spa is a much newer building compared to the rest of the hotel. It’s floor to ceiling glass windows and striking lines make it look like a creation from Grand Designs. A focus on design and modernity runs throughout the whole experience.
We were given silicone bands from the reception, which granted us access to an assigned locker and all areas of the spa. Our exploration started at the chic indoor pool on the ground floor of the spa. Although it was a Saturday and a Bank Holiday, the pool area didn’t feel overcrowded.
Next it was up to the first floor of the spa, where we found all of the experience rooms and the stunning hydrotherapy infinity pool. After another dip in the hydrotherapy pool, we dipped in and out of the panoramic sauna, the luxury steam room, foot spas, experience showers and more. With stylish slate and intricate mosaic tiling, it was clear to see how much investment had gone into creating this special spa.
As well as checking out all of the spa facilities, I also got to experience a Vitality Spa Ritual, which is one of the treatments available in Rudding Park’s spa day packages. The 50-minute ritual included a full body scrub and a hot stone massage. My therapist was incredibly professional and made me feel very at ease. I found myself drifting off into a hypnotic state before chilling out in one of the four relaxation areas.
The Rooftop Spa and Garden
The most unique part of Rudding Park’s spa is definitely the Rooftop Garden. Designed by horticulturalist Matthew Wilson, it feels very Zen with Japanese influences. Scattered with sun loungers and chic white sofas, the garden is a gorgeous place to relax, especially when the sun is shining. Out here you can order snacks, cocktails and herbal tea. With all of the facilities, you could easily spend a whole day in the spa.
The Tasting Menu at Horto
After a gorgeous afternoon unwinding in the spa, we still had a dining experience at Horto to look forward to. Located within the new Spa building, Horto is Rudding Park’s fine dining restaurant. Previously housed within the hotel’s golf club, Horto moved into the new Spa building during the spa launch.
The interior is contemporary in style and perfectly matches the creative cuisine it serves. With only 40 covers, Horto is a small restaurant that definitely focuses on quality not quantity. The small and select menu offers guests a la carte by day and a creative tasting menu by night.
We opted to go for Horto’s 7 course tasting menu with matching wine paring for every course. The tasting menu featured locally sourced Yorkshire produce including Whitby crab, Wetherby hogget (lamb). Scott and I both agreed that every dish got progressively better than the last.
The dish which surprised me the most was the scallop which came on a potato rosti, covered in a hollandaise-like sauce and topped with caviar. I have never liked caviar whenever I have tasted it in the past but the combination of flavours with the scallop was to-die-for.
The waiting staff were incredibly knowledgeable about the wines and dishes and told stories behind the produce as they presented the dishes at the table. They seemed very passionate about the wine selections and the menu creations, and they really helped to bring the whole dining experience to life. For Yorkshire locals that aren’t guests at the hotel, I would still highly recommend Horto for a fantastic foodie experience. Special thanks to Head Chef Murray Wilson for inviting us into the kitchen to see his team at work.
Rudding Park has always been known as a leading luxury hotel in North Yorkshire, but its spectacular new spa now gives it the edge over its competitors. The opening of a destination spa in the heart of North Yorkshire is incredibly exciting I hope it entices people from all around the UK (and the world) to discover this glorious part of England. Although I am lucky enough to have Rudding Park on my doorstep, I can confirm that it’s definitely worth travelling for.
Perfect for; romantic breaks, special occasions, girly spa breaks and stylish hen weekends.
What do you think of Rudding Park’s new spa? Is it the kind of place you’d love to spend a weekend? If you enjoyed this post or have any questions about my experience, please leave me a comment in the box below. Jess x
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A one-night stay at Rudding Park starts from £172 per room per night or a one-night spa break starts from £177 per person including half board, a 50-minute treatment and access to the spa. Access to the Roof Top Spa and Garden is £35 for two hours.
Rudding Park Hotel
My stay at Rudding Park was complimentary in exchange for this review. However, all views and opinions are my own.