The award-winning Ragdale Hall is back open and have unveiled a sumptuous new cocktail bar and lounge that’s sure to be a hit with visitors to the world-class spa. We returned this week to sample the bar as part of a Twilight Taster experience and to see how the spa experience has adapted to the current conditions.

We’ve always been big fans of Ragdale Hall – few places do the spa experience better and it’s a joy to have it on our doorstep to enjoy. We do, however, have to admit to being a little bit unsure about our first trip back in Covid times but with the team at Ragdale always being so well organised and having such high standards, armed with our trunks and our masks we felt confident enough to see what the new normal was like, Ragdale style.

First things first, as you would expect you do have to wear your mask when walking round. When using the facilities or sat eating or drinking you are, of course, able to remove it- i.e. for the vast majority of your visit. All of the spa’s facilities are open as they were but to ensure social distancing, you are allocated on arrival an hour-long timeslot in which to enjoy the heated rooms within the Thermal Spa- perfectly sensible.  This worked well and ensured that nowhere was overcrowded.

There’s also a simple system of wristbands outside of each room so you can see what room has what spaces – all those using a room takes a wristband inside with them so whatever is left outside indicates the number of available spaces. The system works well as long as people use it. Most did, those that didn’t were told. There are clear signs to show social distancing too so we felt we could make use of all of the facilities – the lavender scented steam room was bliss as was the swimming pool –I’ve really missed my weekly swims!

We had prebooked some treatments to enjoy during our stay- a moisturising Lavender Body treatment that involved a deep exfoliation , relaxing massage and application of a luxurious body lotion that left us feeling wonderfully relaxed- but before this we decided to relax with a cocktail in the new Twilight bar.

Incredibly Instagrammable, the Twilight bar takes inspiration from 1920’s art deco with fringed lampshades; plush pink scalloped velvet chairs, deep green velvet sofas and a decadent looking bar. The cocktail menu is made up of classic and signature mixes- we opted for a Passionfruit Martini and a Rhubarb Negroni which was beautifully served in a cut glass tumbler. Both drinks were delicious – we may have copied down the recipes to recreate at home- and were served with pretzels and well spiced, quality olives. Overlooking the gardens, the bar is a wonderful and already popular addition to Ragdale and feels like it always should have been there.

By now any feelings of uncertainty had passed and we were enjoying our experience as before. A light supper in the Verandah Bar of Sea Bass with Crushed Potatoes, Capers and Fine Beans before we returned to the Hall’s rooftop infinity bar and looked out at the floodlit gardens and night-time skies feeling really very content indeed.

It would be wrong of us to say that we returned to Ragdale without trepidation or that wearing masks and keeping in mind social distancing did take some getting used to. But, as with everything, we approached it with a mindset of if we want to enjoy it, then this is how we need to do it. We came away as relaxed and as appreciative of one of Leicestershire’s greatest assets as we always do. We cannot wait to return.

A Twilight Taster package at Ragdale Hall includes access to the spa and facilities from 4.30pm to 9.30pm as well as a choice of 40 min treatment and a two-course evening meal in the Verandah bar from just £93.
To book visit www.ragdalehall.co.uk
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