Rudding Park Hotel and Spa is the latest “It” hotel and if you haven’t heard of it then you must have been living under a rock. Situated just outside of Harrogate, Rudding Park really does have it all. I’ve had my eye on Rudding Park Hotel and Spa for sometime now and just before Christmas my husband and I were kindly gifted an overnight stay; which included dinner, use of the rooftop spa and breakfast. With that in mind, we dropped our little one off at school and headed to Rudding Park for a pre-Christmas break and, boy oh boy, were we in for a treat.
Over the past few years, Rudding Park has quietly become one of the best country house hotels in the UK. Most recently, it added a £9.5 million spa; which was awarded best new spa by The Good Spa Guide in 2017. At a time when many hotels struggle to find the right balance between weddings and romantic getaways, it has not only succeeded in doing so but has also added an excellent find dining restaurant to go alongside it’s existing restaurant. The hotel sells everything from golf breaks to spa breaks as well as having lots of corporate business.
Although only 10 minutes from the A1, it sits in pampered seclusion, surrounded by parkland, with not another building in sight. Harrogate, with its pump room and Betty’s tearoom, is 10 minutes away by car. Rudding Park is only a one hour and 30 minute drive from our home so we decided to swing via Dalton Park Outlet Shopping Centre, as we couldn’t check in until after lunchtime. When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by the hotel staff, who took our bags whilst we checked in. The staff we’re friendly and professional and we felt at ease. The first thing you notice when you walk in was the huge open fire, which was very welcoming to say the least on such a cold winters day. Check in was a breeze and the porter took us to our rooms. Arriving at our rooms the porter showed us how to use the light fixtures, AC, etc. The standard of customer service at this hotel was amazing, it wasn’t forced or over the top.
Our hotel room was decent size and furnished to a high standard, with monogrammed pillows, grey carpets patterned with oversized checks, and large, brown leather armchairs. The king-size bed was hugely comfortable and I just loved the pillow menu. Our room opened directly onto the hotel gardens and had its own terrace area, it took my breath away – although to say the rooms are done out to such a high standard; the terrace furniture was much to be desired and the terrace itself could have done with a fresh lick of paint.
As well as air conditioning and a desk with USB and power points, there is a separate charging station for devices and free wifi. The extra large bathrooms, with its separate waterfall shower and roll top bath, are stocked with Molton Brown products. The rooms also come with a well stocked mini bar, kettle, teapot, Yorkshire tea bags and a bottle of fresh milk.
Suitcases unpacked, we changed into our swimwear and robes and headed to the main attraction, the spa! The spa at Rudding Park is super luxe and followed the sleek contemporary feel of the rest of the hotel. A member of staff greeted us at the spa entrance; who showed us around the spas facilities before we used them. The Spa has an indoor pool; which is injected with ozone rather than chlorine and there are numerous areas where you can sit and relax. We left our robes at our sun loungers, headed to the bar for a drink and went straight to the Hydrotherapy Infinity Pool. This was certainly the highlight of our stay for me. The infinity pool looks over the hotels grounds but as we were here during the evening we didn’t see much but it was still a magnificent experience, instead we sipped champagne under the stars whilst having a hydrotherapy massage. The thermal waters and therapeutic water pressure helps to relax muscles, increase blood circulation and relieve muscular pain and tension.
As well as the Hydrotherapy Infinity Pool there is a panoramic sauna, herbal bath steam room, luxury steam room, spa bath and garden sauna cabin, sunlight therapy room, foot spa, loungers, shower experience and sun deck. We didn’t have any spa treatments but that will more than definitely be on our to do list if we do return again. With time getting on and our dinner reservation rapidly approaching, we headed back to our hotel room to get ready.
There are two restaurants at Rudding Park, guests can choose to dine at Horto, a superb contemporary fine dining restaurant which uses ingredients from Rudding Park’s own kitchen garden or the Clocktower restaurant, which serves modern British cuisine amid blissfully relaxed ambience. We decided to dine at Clock Tower as I had seen photos of the interior of the restaurant with it beautiful, light design over looking the garden and indoor tree… instead, we were ushered into a very uninspiring restaurant which rather felt like we we’re dining in a chain hotel with no soul and unfortunately, our dining experience went from bad to worse.
Where to start, we were 5 minutes late for our dinner reservation yet our table wasn’t ready. It took 20 minutes to get our drinks and 45 minutes to receive our starters, which we cold starters I must add. We mentioned this to our server and within minutes they arrived; which kind of rubbed salt in the wounds as they quite obviously forgot about our starters. To be honest, the food we received wasn’t up to much so I didn’t take any photos, the best course was our cheese board but it had got to late that I couldn’t really be bothered to eat it. Our dining experience really did leave a bitter taste in our mouths after such an amazing day, we felt so let down, but we voiced our issues to the manager who was absolutely amazing and very sympathetic to our situation. We headed to the main bar for a night cap, as we asked for our bill and this was, again, obviously forgot about, so paid for our bill at the bar with our drinks then retired for the evening.
After a peaceful and comfortable night’s sleep, we headed to Horto restaurant for breakfast. The restaurant was absolutely beautiful, a complete contrast to the dark restaurant we were in last night. Horto, Latin for kitchen garden is a 3 AA Rosette Horto Restaurant that uses seasonal ingredients from Rudding Park Kitchen Garden. The menu is dictated by nature, the skill of the Gardener and the flair of the Chef. For breakfast, I chose the smashed avocado on toast whilst the husband chose the poached eggs on toast with smoked salmon, you could also help yourself to the modestly sized continental breakfast and fresh juices. Bellies contently full, we checked out and headed back home to see our little boy, who I always miss so much when we go away.
I have done quite a few spa breaks now but this one really does top them all, even with our evening meal mishap. Rudding Park Spa is beautifully finished. The tiling is particularly impeccable and to be admired, running in pleasingly straight lines with all symmetry and balance respected (I have really bad OCD so little touches like this make me do a happy dance). In addition, the carefully collected and positioned artworks add a huge amount to the ambience. Stunning, proportionate and at times quirky, the work adds genuine soul and character without even a hint of cliché or sense, – as is often the case – of the art being an afterthought (or worse, bought in bulk at the end of a project to fill the blank wall/floor space in one fell swoop). The spectacular grounds around the hotel are ideal for long walks and for runs to remember. And if you’re in the mood for golf, there’s an excellent 18-hole course for you to test your skills on. The icing on the cake in the spa and right across the hotel is Rudding Park’s staff. They are friendly, professional, and willing to go that extra mile to ensure that your experience at Rudding is nothing short of flawless and sublime. Yes, dinner was a disaster up but the manager really did go above and beyond to make amends and it’s service like that which makes everything better. We would definitely return, maybe next time dine at Horto restaurant or make sure we got a table at the other side of the Clocktower restaurant and we’d most certainly make sure we’d have time for a spa treatment.
Overall, I’d give this spa break 9.5 / 10! If you are planning on visiting Rudding Park Hotel and Spa, make sure you read my blog post on the best things to see and do in Harrogate!
Please note: This stay was gifted but all views are my own. I was not asked to write a post about our stay but I wanted to share our experience of the hotel and spa as we had such an amazing stay.