beyond slips away for a night of indulgence at the award-winning Rudding Park Hotel and Spa and discovers an oasis of decadence.
I f I had a pound for every time someone has told me about the delights of the rooftop infinity pool at Rudding Park, I’d be rich enough to live there. Almost.
So, when the time came to sample the experience for ourselves on a cold winter’s night, we wasted little time hot-footing it up the impressive, sweeping drive for a spa treatment and a sleepover in the beautiful privately owned luxury hotel.
Located just three miles south of Harrogate and set in 300 acres of peaceful, landscaped gardens and woodland, this is a place that has a lofty reputation for ticking all the right boxes.
I had forgotten how much I love Rudding Park. The last time we stayed here, we sampled the private cinema, enjoyed a fabulous massage, ate like kings in the Clock Tower restaurant and heard much about the plans for a new state-of-the-art spa.
So, three years on, we were keen to see how their ambitious plans had come to fruition.
Our spa room, on the ground floor with a glorious terrace overlooking the garden, was spacious and luxuriously furnished with a super king-size bed and an enormous bathroom complete with spa bath, underfloor heating, flat screen TV and Molton Brown toiletries.
Next on to the spa. It turns out there are spas and then there’s the Rudding Park Spa. It’s certainly sizeable. A fabulous, contemporary, glass fronted affair, all high ceilings and wide corridors with a spacious reception area, boutique, spa café and three floors of joyful well-being goodness.
My wonderful massage was delivered with care, knowledge and expertise using Elemis products and magic hands. Balinese stones are used to really get into muscles and alleviate tension whilst Frangipani Monoi Body Oil intensely moisturises the skin.
It was 50 minutes very well spent and as I considered whether buying a vat of frangipani oil in the shop would maintain my zen-like state, my therapist showed me round the Escape Zone. These are split into four separate areas to enjoy post-treatment and provide different sensory experiences including breathtaking video footage, soothing meditation tracks, reading and colouring therapy or, my favourite, the Deep Relax Zone which basically involves lying on a lounger bed with twinkling fairy lights overhead.
Ordinarily I would have stayed put till the lights went out, but the outdoor infinity pool was calling and so to the top floor to take a dip and suss out the thermal facilities.
Starting off with a foot spa, a glass of mulled wine and a discussion about the correct order to steam and sauna, we opted for a sit down in the Oxygen Pod and a Vitamin D hit of Sunlight Therapy before a saunter over to the rooftop pool.
Pools on roofs are definitely fancy. Taking in a view as you submerge yourself in the warm water beneath a night’s sky feels decadent, totally calming and every bit as wonderful as I’d heard. I would definitely recommend it.
Suitably dried off and chilled out, we headed over to the 3AA Rosette restaurant, Horto for our evening meal. A spa café during the day and restaurant in the evening with an a la carte and a tasting menu on offer, this is a dining experience which is getting noticed for all the right reasons.
Showcasing seasonal ingredients from the Rudding Park kitchen garden, Horto is modern and stylish with floor-to-ceiling windows – a fine reflection of the food that was to come.
We went for the six course tasting menu with wine pairing and knew we were onto a winner as soon as the home-made breads and butters arrived with a special shout out to the pesto croissant and roast chicken butter.
But then at Horto every dish deserves its own spotlight. The buttermilk poached oyster with dill sauce and the glistening scallops with curried cauliflower and truffle must be acknowledged for their fresh, flavourful deliciousness, along with the tortellini of trompettes and gran montovano, which was much more refined than your standard mushroom pasta fare while not forgetting the lamb allium with mayan gold potato bursting with all-round richness and beauty.
The Crossover was an unexpected dish served as a transitional course between savoury and sweet – tiny pastry cones of mushroom ice cream. I know what that sounds like but really, well worth a try. A dessert of apple-based treats with caramel and brandy rounded off our perfect meal, worthy of all the superlatives I can throw at it.
Great communication between the front of house team and the kitchen is clear at Horto as each dish was confidently presented and meticulously explained. Every morsel is inventive, artful, delicious and skilfully toes the line between traditional flavour combinations and total originality thanks to the imagination of gifted head chef Callum Bowmer and his young team of impressive culinary talent.
After a great night’s sleep in the giant bed and a delicious breakfast in the Clocktower restaurant, we reluctantly had to leave.
For me, the mark of a great hotel is when it looks posh but there are no airs and graces. Everything about Rudding Park looks elegant and luxurious but you are greeted with an easy warmth, enthusiasm and assurance that makes it stand out.
I’d definitely like to stay longer next time to experience more of what Rudding Park has to offer. I’ve heard you can enjoy a treatment al fresco in the Woodland Glade and the bubble chair in the library has definitely got my name on it.
Go on spoil yourself, you won’t be disappointed by the style, grace and hospitality served up at this beautiful hotel and spa.