Rudding Park Spa for Wellness

Rudding Park Spa Embraces Nature for Wellness

Rudding Park specializes in escapes. The sprawling estate welcomes those

Rudding Park luxury hotel, Spa and golf
Rudding Park, Harrogate, UK regency manor house, courtesy Rudding Park.

who come to soak in the restorative waters while they enjoy nature’s healing balm. You’ll find it on the outskirts of the historic spa town of Harrogate. Since Victorian days, the area has drawn visitors with its mineral springs and many beautiful parks. Here they walked, visited, soaked and drank the waters.

The elegant Regency style sandstone manor has long been a popular destination for golf, weddings and holidays. This spring it unveiled its newest expansion, The Spa. It has quickly become the place to escape for guests and locals.

Few spas can claim fully booked days in less than two months. Spa memberships have already been capped and have a wait list. The Spa accomplished both of these and there is good reason for its swift popularity.

Rudding spa embraces nature…

Instead of tucking away, Rudding Park Spa reaches out and embraces

Rooftop Spa gardens embraces nature at Rudding Park
Rudding Park rooftop spa overlooks gardens and manor. Image courtesy Rudding Park.

nature. Window walls, patios, pools, and gardens surround you. Lounge areas direct your gaze outward calming and inviting. As you work out, swim, or soak, the views beyond relax and soothe your mind as well as your body.

Rudding Park Spa uses its surroundings and natural spring waters to create an ambiance of complete wellness.

Hotel guests can access the exquisite indoor pool, sauna and bucket shower. Those who want to enjoy all that the spa has to offer schedule for treatments or packages.  Limiting the number of the packages offered for a full day, morning afternoon or evening means an enhanced experience for guests and a well-being work environment for staff.

The Spa’s mission: “Wellness of mind, body, and soul.”

Every aspect is state of the art… in a peaceful and serene environment. It seamlessly blends amazing cutting-edge experiences into the relaxing historic setting.

Handpicked staff offer the highest quality of service. You’ll drift off into

Couples experience suite Rudding Park Spa
Couples room with copper bath, courtesy Rudding Park.

bliss as skilled therapists work their magic in your bespoke (custom) treatment. But facials, body treatments, massage and more are only part of the experience.

Infinity Pool Rudding Park spa
Rudding Park infinity pool courtesy Rudding Park

Enjoy pools for swimming, pools for hydrotherapy, indoors or outdoors, it’s your choice to take advantage of any or all. Lounge in a steam room or you can relax in the panoramic sauna or herbal steam bath. And, don’t miss the ice shower or tropical rainforest thermal experiences. Each works to restore and soothe your senses.

Step outside the spa to the rooftop garden complete with its own pools, sauna, shower and sun deck. Skies, gardens and ancient trees surround you. Quiet, peaceful. It’s the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon.

But Rudding Park Spa has even more to offer…

Take time to discover the unique mind and sense zones. Each room offers its own sensory experience so you can savor one or explore your way through all of them.

  • The video wall treats your gaze to picturesque landscapes. Lounge in the
    Visual sense experience at Rudding Park Spa
    Visual room at Rudding Park Spa transports you to tranquil vistas.

    oversize rattan swing and soak up scenes of waves lapping on beaches, wildflower meadows, and expansive mountain vistas. Enjoy it alone or relax with friends.

  • In the relax room you’ll find silence and serene lighting. Unwind as you recline on a sleek comfortable lounge – it’s the perfect place to find peace.
  • In the audio room, snuggle into a quiet niche. Listen to meditation or
    Audio relaxation experience Rudding Park Spa
    Enjoy meditation or relaxing music while you snuggle into a private niche at Rudding Park Spa

    soothing sound tracks on your own personal headphones.

  • The mind room offers a unique setting to stimulate your awareness. Coloring books, puzzles, and books from their spa library allow you to settle and center alone or chill with friends.
Don’t forget your sense of taste…

Many of the spa packages include a welcome beverage and a snack. But should you fancy something a bit more substantial, tasty delights await you at Horto Restaurant. Horto’s name, referring to horticulture, gives you hints as to its kitchen garden inspiration.

Situated right next to the spa reception area, Horto, with its own wall of

Horto pudding Rudding Park Spa
Horto amazing fruit salad pudding. Photo, Judith Culp Pearson

windows, is casual and inviting. During the day, you are welcome in your robe, no need to change. Simply wander over and enjoy the fresh garden, farm to table choices that will please your pallet. This is not the time to skip the Puddings either… they’re amazing!

Plan your escape…

The entire property encourages you to disconnect from your hectic routine from the moment you enter. Go leisurely. Enjoy, savor, de-stress, relax, and enhance your entire well-being. That’s what Rudding Park and The Spa are all about. Because spa packages do sell out, book early to get your preferred dates and the experiences that have you daydreaming. Weekends can be particularly busy.

For the latest in their specials and offerings visit www.ruddingpark.co.uk/offers/. Choose from the Sleeping Beauty Spa Break, Spa and Horto, Escape with Me or Time for 2 and more. So many choices.  Plan now for your own unique, personal escape.

 

Magical mysteries of Standing Stones

Mysteries of Standing Stones

Some of my best adventures happened when we got off the main road in search of a local treasure… like standing stones. Standing stones are a record of man’s history and they seem to hold some sort of mysterious magic. I’ve heard it called energy.

Standing Stones

Standing stones are single or groups of stones which are typically upright in position.  But, they are often combined with stones laying horizontally across the top of them.  Think Stonehenge.

Aerial view of Stonehenge standing stones
Stonehenge aerial view

 

Their fascination lies in their age. To someone who has grown up in the Western US, a man-created structure over 100 years of age is extremely rare.  On the east coast, they can trace structures back to the 17th century.

In Europe and the UK, our ancestors have left physical markers that are far older.  Those markers draw visitors by the thousands every year.  To protect popular destinations from damage and vandalism, protectors fence them or limit access.

 Stonehenge

Stonehenge exemplifies a stone circle that is easily accessed and full of history. It’s probably the best known standing stone circle in the world. Started in about 3100BC, history and mystery shroud it.

Stonehenge paths are accessible to all
Paths at Stonehenge are easily accessible to all

Accessed via the A36 and A303 it is about 40 miles east of Bath on your way to London.  Stonehenge receives tens of thousands of visitors. A paved path minimizes human impact on the site.

Two things struck me.  One – it was raining sideways and there is little shelter on the Salisbury Plains.  Be prepared for what mother nature sends you direction.

The second was the extremes.  These magnificent ancient stones erected and placed in a precise manner.  The difficulty of the work had to be incredible.  Then shift your gaze and the A303 freeway is in the background.

The site is handicap accessible and there are visitor facilities available.

I respect the need to preserve, but the restrictions of access felt sad.

The stones are magnificent and impressive, but their majesty feels restricted and distant.

Avebury

Avebury is an even older ring of stones and the largest in the world. It also

offers you a more authentic peaceful experience of the majesty of standing stones.

While you can’t reach Avebury via tour bus… that’s ok.  It means the area gets far fewer visitors and less impact.  Narrow roads and hairpin turns restrict large vehicles.  It’s an entirely different experience.

"Avebury Standing Stone
Massive natural standing stone at Avebury

Avebury’s about 30 miles north of Stonehenge.  It’s a short hop north off the A4 – an old Roman road that used to link London to Bath.

Much of Avebury is within a huge standing stone circle.  Researchers date the stones to 3400BC.  The start of construction had to be 300 years before Stonehenge.  Another difference is the stones.  The stones not smoothed or chiseled like those of its neighbor.  These are natural in shape. The work needed to move them from their quarry two miles away had to be extreme.

Go and Explore

Park your car and go through the gate – mind you don’t let the sheep out. There you are. You and the sheep among the massive stones.

The remaining perimeter standing stones at Avebury seen from aerial view
Avebury seen from aerial view

The outermost circle is 1396 feet in circumference but there is more than one circle here.  Inside this is a second circle which encloses two more circles. They offer guided walks of this Neolithic monument. Or do a self-tour.  There is a great little store in the post office that has lots of useful information on the area available.

The Avebury pub is the only one in the world completely surrounded by a stone circle… It’s  also got a reputation for good food.

No one will rush you here.  Walk the perimeter, enjoy the peace and the energy. Visit with the locals.  Take your time and restore.

 

Travel insurance protection for international travel

Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?

Do the current attacks and events have you a little nervous about travel? It may be time to reconsider travel insurance.

This is a question that has personally confused me over the years. First, how do you know if you need it? Second, how do you pick it?

I think the answer is there are a few “ifs” and a lot you need to check out. Fortunately, it’s getting much easier to know whether you need it, and then to find the right coverage.

What to consider…

Where are you traveling?

If you’re headed to the coast with the kids for a weekend you probably don’t need travel insurance.  Headed down the road to visit Grandma? Same answer.

Frazzled travel planner 

If you are traveling over 100 miles, have to prepay for tickets, expensive events, or a tour, you may want coverage.

Keywords are “prepaid” and “non-refundable”. You can’t get insurance to reimburse you for money you haven’t spent.

If you are flying, you may want coverage in case there are flight delays or baggage issues.

Sit down with pen and paper and add up trip costs that are non-refundable. Things like pre-paid flights, hotel, all-inclusive packages, tour packages and event tickets. This will show you the travel coverage that you need.

International travel

International has more considerations. It’s more expensive and insurance coverage that you have may not cover you.

  • If traveling internationally, you may want to supplement your health insurance. This may also cover emergency medical evacuation. Medicare does not cover international travelers.
  • Are you a regular traveler? You can purchase coverage that covers all your travels in a year. There are some restrictions and caveats.
  • Another way to save on insurance is to cover all family members traveling together on the same policy.
  • Be aware of the limits and exclusions on the policy.
  • Think about extra coverage – for failure of an airline, cruise ship or travel
    Stressed travel researcher

    company.

  • Activity coverage. There are a lot of common tourist activities that are only covered if you request this. You may not ride an elephant or camel at home, but tourists do this. One woman was badly hurt falling off a camel.
  • Winter sports are a lot of fun but can lead to accidents. You need these covered, just in case.
  • “Cancel for any reason” this covers you for all eventualities. This covers you for things that are foreseeable but unavoidable. If you are traveling with a known medical condition, it’s the only way you can get reimbursed for last minute cancellation.
  • What about coverage through my airline reservation? Do some comparisons. These generally are much more restrictive and harder to receive reimbursement on.

Will you be driving internationally? Most travel policies do not cover international car rental. Your existing auto insurance may not cover this. Some credit card benefits do cover international car rental – check it out. But there are specific restrictions you need to be aware of. Reading the fine print is the only way to know.

Select coverage

When you start making reservations, you need to find desired coverage right away. Most companies require you to purchase coverage within 10-21 days of making your initial purchase. If you have additional purchases to make, contact the company.

Once you have decided what you need, you need to go to an insurance comparison website. Three of the leaders are:

  • insuremytrip.ocm
  • squaremouth.com
  • travelinsurance.com

I recently used Squaremouth based on a travel insurance review that I read. The company is top rated and has 44,795 travel insurance reviews. They made it easy to compare coverage and find exactly what I needed. And the price was less than I was expecting to have to pay.

[Note: I have no financial interest in Squaremouth and receive no reimbursement from them.]

Take documentation with you

In addition to your travel documentation, be sure to take copies and contact information for:

Travel documents
  • your travel insurance policy
  • international health care coverage
  • credit card details on international car rental if applicable

Proper insurance coverage will allow you to relax and travel knowing you have it covered.

Do I need Car Rental While Traveling Domestic or Abroad?

 Car rental or no?

Car rental while you are traveling can be liberating. Using public transit is the best route if you are in a major city. Why fight the traffic, pay high parking fees or having to feed a meter? It’s a major reason why the locals avoid driving. See it as the locals do… on foot, bicycle, bus, trams, trolleys, trains.

But if you want to get out into the countryside, or do a road trip, then car rental is a must.

Your credit card may be an asset

You can save yourself some money by doing your homework before you make that car reservation. Start by looking at the benefits provided by your credit card company. Most card companies have a downloadable guide to benefits they provide.

Yes, the benefits guide is tiny print but you need to read it carefully. It may save you money. In order for their coverage to be in effect you must charge the car rental onto the card. You must also decline the collision coverage offered through the rental agency. Your benefits details will tell you exactly what you need to do.

The benefits guide will also tell you what it does not cover. I found they don’t cover your liability and medical benefits. Check with your auto insurance coverage company. If you will be renting in the US or Canada you may automatically have coverage.

International car rental

However, if you are going abroad, the game is different. You need to check what requirements you need to meet to drive in that country. Then using your credit card benefits information to check for coverage on

  • Collision/theft Damage Coverage
  • Loss of use charges assessed by the rental company while the damaged vehicle is being repaired and not available to use.
  • Reasonable and customary towing charges related to a covered loss to take the vehicle to the nearest qualified repair facility.

You need to know what is not covered. It may seem like common sense but if you are in any way breaking the law, you forfeit coverage.

Not all US auto insurers will insure outside the country. Mine doesn’t. That means purchasing the liability/medical coverage from the local rental agency.

Not all vehicles are covered. “Exotic, expensive” vehicles are generally listed as excluded. Antique automobiles, some vans and trucks are not covered. Renting an RV? Be sure to check to see if it is covered. If in doubt, be sure to ask your credit card benefits department.

It’s a good idea to go over the rental agreement thoroughly. This can be a challenge if you don’t speak the local language. If the rental company insists you take coverage, call your credit card Benefits Administrator. It’s smart to take a copy of the benefits information with you. It will have the details and the contact numbers domestically and abroad.

Before a signing of the contract, ask to see the car. You want to assure yourself that there is no existing damage to the vehicle. If there is anything amiss, make sure you document it with a photo and have it noted on the agreement.

Take a look in the trunk

Is there a spare tire?

Many new cars have no spare. Some have “hard” tires that when damaged give you 50 miles to get to a repair shop. Others have a little kit that must when a tire goes soft. This seals the leak and prevents further problems. Note: it’s only good for a single use.

Get familiar with what is there, how to use it and what to do if you have to use it. Should you contact them for a replacement kit? If a tire requires replacement, who pays?

It may sound far-fetched but it happened to us on our trip to the UK last summer. Tire acted funny. Then going down the heavily traveled M4, it started deflating. All we could do was get to the side of the freeway before it was flat. No spare tire. The kit didn’t work. We called AA.

When the truck arrived, they drove it onto the truck. When we got to the shop, they drove it off the truck. New tire time. We hadn’t selected “that” section of coverage and I hadn’t checked the credit card benefits. We had to pay for it out of pocket.

Lesson learned. Check everything ahead of time and know what’s in the trunk… or not.

Navigation

It’s best to have a navigator so the driver can focus. There’s the traffic, strange environment and staying on the correct side of the road for where you’re visiting.

If the car doesn’t have a navigation system, consider taking a Garmin or the like with you. Be sure to get the card for the area’s location if it is not included. It’s a worthwhile investment. Mine got my girlfriend and me to all sorts of places. Everything from restrooms to restaurants and home again. In a strange country, it was liberating security.

Pay attention to landmarks and your surroundings. Things will look different after dark.  Street lighting is not common on all rural roads.

International Phone Use Mysteries Explored

Mysteries of International Phone Use Explored

When traveling abroad you need to plan ahead for your international phone and data use. We are so used to grabbing our phones for information, being without them can be daunting.

 
No way to check for where to meet someone. No way to let family at home know you have arrived safely. How do you find where to go in the airport? The list goes on.
 
You have to plan ahead to have your favorite tech tool working for you. Are you going to one country? Or, are you visiting several? How long are you traveling for? All of these factors will have an impact on choosing your best alternative.

Planning for international phone travel

 There are two major ways to manage your phone needs. You can use an international plan with your existing phone and carrier. Or you can take an “unlocked” smartphone. This method requires a prepaid International SIM card for each country you visit.
 
The easiest way to travel with your smartphone is to use your existing carrier.
Most carriers have some sort of plan. AT&T has a plan that will give you 800mg of data (about a week’s worth), for $120. Verizon’s international plan is $10 per day that you use the phone. T-Mobile and Sprint offer free international use – but the speeds are very slow.
 
All of the plans require you to set up international service before you leave on your trip. They can switch you from US service when you depart to your destination country when you arrive. Or that is what they say.
 
In my experience, there seems to be a time lag. My phone doesn’t seem to get I have just changed time zones. When set to “automatic” time settings, your phone should use the time coming in from local signals. I accidentally discovered the cure is to turn it off and then back on.
Reboot when the plane touches down. By the time you are exiting at the gate, you should be on the correct time and have access to local service.
 
A big plus to this scenario is family and friends will be able to reach you seamlessly. But so will those pesky telemarketers. And they will chew into your time plan. For Verizon, they activate the $10/day fee.
 
Unlock a smartphone.
Smartphones that are paid for have another alternative.  Unlock them following directions on your provider’s website to do this. If you can’t locate them, check with your customer support.
 

Locked phones only work on a single carrier. Unlocked phones can get a

Changing sim cards allows you access to local lines
Smartphone sim cards

separate SIM card and work on a local carrier. You will need to buy the SIM card and a local service plan for voice and data.

 
There are many choices on the internet. Some allow you to purchase and have the card waiting at your hotel when you arrive. SIM cards start at about $29.95 plus the service plan. Swap the cards and you are ready to go.
 
If you travel a lot, or take longer trips, consider buying a local phone. It will have a separate number, but you can just turn it on when you arrive and off when you leave. Service may be a flat rate or a per minute charge plus data. Do your math… it pays.
 

Purchase a local smartphone…

Purchasing a local smartphone starts at about $150 depending on make and model. Or you can rent a local smartphone starting at about $19.95 per week. This may have free incoming calls and pay per minute for outgoing calls. Be sure and check about a data plan, or keep the phone in airplane mode unless you are in a free wi-fi zone.
 

Other travel tips

I did have an unexpected hitch traveling with my US phone. Hotels won’t use that as a contact phone due to international charges. They wanted a local number for contact or limit it to email.
 
There is an easy way to save money with international service. Set your phone for manual data updates or turn off your wi-fi signal. Only turn it on when in a free wi-fi zone. This can save a bundle in data charges.
 
When using free wi-fi try to use one that requires a password. This protects your security. If only “public” wi-fi is available, avoid doing any form of transaction it isn’t safe.
 
Another way to save is to set up Skype. This free service allows you to use the free wi-fi available to call or message your family and friends. Mobile to mobile or a computer device is free. To a landline, it’s pennies to use. Load your Skype account with $5.00 – $10.00 and you will have enough to last a long time.
 
Another suggestion I found was to take advantage of free Apps. WhatsApp by Facebook allows for free phone and messaging services. WeChat does the same.
 
Both of these need access to Wi-Fi to function. You leave your phone in airplane mode unless you are in a free wi-fi zone. Switch airplane mode off, use the app and call free.
 
If you use this with your Verizon international plan, you can block incoming calls by being in airplane mode. Tell family and friends to message you and then use skype or other free app and call them when in a wi-fi zone. No use of your voice plan should mean… no international charges.
 
Voltage and converter needs. Be sure and check this before you leave. It can be difficult to find something that will connect your US phone into a foreign plug-in. You want to make sure you don’t toast your phone while recharging it.

Wellness abounds at Cedar Falls

Cedar Falls wellness unmatched

Winding your way up the long drive is like driving into a 3-d postcard.

Cedar Falls Manor has always offered wellness
Cedar Falls Manor offers wellness retreat

The 18th-century red sandstone mansion is the essence of beauty. Situated amidst 44 acres it’s a park with its gardens, woods, and lakes.

 Health farm and spa 

Designed as a health farm and spa, Cedar Falls has been offering wellness retreats since 1982. But the “health” tone has changed. Originally, you had to earn your way to the fabulous meals via diet and exercise.
 

Today’s guests retreat to relax and renew. Most guests are female visiting

Gardens offer a lovely place to walk or relax and unwind in nature
Cedar Falls Gardens

alone or with friends. Every year a high percent of them return for an annual retreat.

 
The atmosphere is that of a manor home, not a hotel. Built in 1830 it has been completely restored to better than original by local craftsmen. The detail of the craftsmanship is a visual delight. Luxury but deliberately unpretentious.

Wellness unmatched 

Cedar Farm doesn’t see themselves as a hotel with a spa. Instead, the focus is the health farm. Wellness abounds. Lots of nature to lure you out for a round of golf. They offer a 9 hole 18 tee golf course. The natural features make it fun and challenging for all levels of golfers. The golf course is complete with its own cabin to cater to the needs of the golfers.
 
A diversity of outdoor opportunities to encourage you to stretch and move:
  • Body conditioning

    The outdoor pool is open all summer for guest exercise
    Outdoor pool for exercise and restoration
  • Pool (summer only)
  • Pilates
  • Country walks alone or organized walk
  • Photography in the gardens or terraces
  • Tennis court
  • Golf
    Yoga and Pilates in the former ballroom
    Yoga and Pilates room

     

Or head to the gym to work out. Need some help? Your personal fitness trainer will guide you into the right moves.
Too cool for outdoors? Relax in the indoor hot tub, pool, and conservatory.
 

The focus is wellness and relaxing restoration.

Forget business. Lounge in your lovely plush robes and slippers. You are welcome to wander throughout the home and to the pool, spa or conservatory. No need to get dressed until you are ready for dinner.

Indoor spa offer wellness year around
Indoor Pools and conservatory
 

The spa is first class with a wide diversity of treatments and facilities. Enjoy its friendly caring approach and superb guest services.

Guests can relax and enjoy a beverage in the spa lounge
Spa lounge and beverage bar
  • Beauty treatments
  • Body treatments
  • Body wraps
  • Facial treatments
  • Hot stone therapy
  • Hairstyling services
  • Manicures and Pedicures
  • Spray tanning
  • Natural therapy treatment
  • Mother-to-be treatments
  • Men’s specialty treatments
 
Natural therapies are a unique twist. Their goal is to help you feel better about yourself inside. Back problems, headaches, depression are all dealt with. Likewise work-life balance, stress reduction, re-energizing and nourishing your spirit.
 
Guests can come and spend a health spa day, or opt for overnight packages. The Spa Stay package includes your room, meals and their most popular treatments. The Spa Overnight package includes your room and treatments of choice – build it yourself.
 

Groups

For small groups of up to four, they have the option of the South Lodge. It is self-contained and includes full access to all the facilities of the main house.
 
Groups can also reserve the spa for their private use in the evenings. It is a great option for a special event and to experience a sampling of what Cedar Falls Spa offers.
 
The Spa features Clarins and Espa products. Treatments are very popular. Advanced booking is strongly recommended.

 

Oasis of Tranquility is designed for enhancing wellness
Oasis of Tranquility
Take a break and visit the Oasis of Tranquility. This quiet zone is designed in the style of a Turkish Hammams. Enjoy sumptuous decor and lounging beds. Salt lamps, the furnishings, and aroma help you switch off and restore. Beware – this is a technology free zone. No phones or other devices allowed.
 

Dining is a healthy indulgence.

Meals here are healthy choices prepared to gourmet tastes and enhanced by views of nature
The dining room offers soothing nature vistas and healthy food choices

Lunch is a tempting buffet. Traditional afternoon teas, cakes, and pastries will tempt you. Want something more than coffee or tea? The bar is open with offerings for your pleasure.

 
After you change from your robe and slippers you can enjoy an amazing dinner. Enjoy the exquisite food while you relax with stunning garden views from its generous windows.
 
Dinner a three-course foodie’s delight. Savory rich Venison Terrine, Five Spice Sea Bass Fillet, and seasonal specialties. The menu brings you the best of fresh local produce and regional offerings. Be advised… desserts are decadent.
 
After dinner relax on your own or join other guests for an evening talk in the drawing room at nine pm. Guests enjoy a wide diversity of wellness and local topics. After the evening talk, things go quietly. In its rural setting, it’s a serene tranquil spot for a great night’s sleep. Snuggle into that comfy bed and let your stress dissipate and your body renew.

Fishmore Hall SpaShell

 SpaShell at Fishmore Hall

Fishmore Hall has brought the unique SpaShell concept to the historic

Fishmore Hall is located outside market town of Ludlow
A mile from historic Ludlow is the restored manor Fishmore Hall

market town of Ludlow. Tucked just a mile down the road from the edge of town, Fishmore Hall is a lovely Georgian manor.

The property owner, Laura Penman, lovingly rescued this elegant home and restored it. The bedrooms are contemporary, the en-suite baths luscious. The result is warm, welcoming and delightful.

Adding a spa

When I visited the property last

Part of the back gardens were prepared for the spa with minimal disruption to guests
Part of gardens prepared for spa
Fishmore Hall Dining with view of spa gardens

August they were excitedly awaiting their new spa.  The spa is a real bonus as the nearest existing spa is 26 miles away.

As with any hotel, remodeling or construction can be a challenge. It can interfere with the guest experience. Noise, mess, workers. Ms. Penman wanted to add a spa but didn’t want to impact her guests.

She met Alistar Johnson of Spa Creators UK, Ltd. at a trade show.  With over 20 years of designing, developing and managing spas he offered a brand new concept. SPAShell. It solves many problems.

SpaShell project

The project includes five years of total management to assure its success.  With over 20 years experience, the SPAShell business model has proven successful. It allows properties to add a revenue stream with strong ROI. The facility itself increases the asset value of the property.

The turnkey concept comes complete with the spa and five years of total management. What truly makes it unique is the construction.  All off site!  Construction includes top end materials expected in any high-end spa.  But manufacture is done in a modular format.

l
Exterior of SPAshell at Fishmore Hall

The spa location is prepared and groomed simultaneous with construction.  Then they load the spa pods onto lorries (trucks) and deliver. Completion of set-up is usually about two days scheduled for minimal impact to hotel guests.

SpaShell facilities

Both one and two story designs are available. This single story spa has four treatment rooms. Each pair of treatment rooms opens to create a double room for couples services.

Each SpaShell treatment room has an en-suite shower and can be opened to create a couple's duo
SpaShell Treatment room

You will find all the expected amenities. Inside are a steam room, sauna, shower, locker room, reception and the treatment rooms. Outside is an outdoor Cedar wellness pool, lounge area. There is also an oversize hammock for snuggling. For the adventurous, there is a stimulating bucket and monsoon drench.

The SpaShell relaxation room offers guest views of nature and a cozy place to relax
SpaShell Relaxation room with view of cedar spa in background

A wide diversity of massage, facial, manicure and pedicure services.  They feature Elemis products and equipment. Packages also include Afternoon Tea or lunch and beverages from the highly rated restaurant.

The Spa nestles in the gardens next to the manor.  Here spa-goers enjoy lovely views across Shropshire’s rolling hills. There is a strong sense of serenity, relaxation, and privacy to enjoy the amenities. Built of natural materials, the spa blends beautifully into the countryside surrounding it.

SpaShell Cedar Spa gives guests a great evening retreat in a quiet relaxing setting
Cedar spa at night with Shropshire view in background

Since opening in late 2016, the spa has become popular with locals as well as guests. It has exceeded Laura’s hopes. Guests are now choosing to stay at Fishmore Hall to enjoy the spa.  Lunch and tea guests view the spa just outside the windows and are scheduling their own visits.

Spa Creators UK, Ltd. plans on

Drench Shower

offering SPAshell to boutique properties across the UK and Europe. For more information on SpaShell or Spa Creators, visit their website: http://www.spashell.com/.

Experience it yourself

To see and experience the Spa for yourself, visit http://www.fishmorehall.co.uk.   Arrange for a great room, fabulous food, and a delightful relaxing spa experience. Booking directly with Fishmore Hall will assure you the best value for your pounds.

Plan to spend several days… there is a lot to see and do in this beautiful area. Watch for my upcoming blog – what to see and do in Shropshire.

Here is a video on SPAshell with views of the spa at Fishmore Hall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g10FOEaMJoE&feature=youtu.be

Relax, Renew, Revitalize at the Ginger Tree

Relax, Renew, Revitalize at the Ginger Tree

Ginger Tree offers holistic health and beauty
Ginger Tree Clinic

The Ginger Tree sits amidst the most beautiful, serene area in England. The Yorkshire Dales.  Ginger Tree is a short 1.5-mile drive from Richmond. It attracts visitors and locals from across the area. Peaceful, quiet, secluded, it prompts relaxation.

Aske Stables

Ginger Tree is located in an impressive Victorian building. Originally built as the horse stable for a nearby mansion. Walking in the stone paved courtyard, you expect the clatter of hooves.

Aske Stables renovated into a business park with all the amenities and a gorgeous view
Aske Stables now a business park with amazing views

Renovations took place in the late 1990s. They retained the gorgeous stone exterior. Insides were redone to meet modern needs. State of the art, eco-friendly Ascot Stables opened in 2000. Now over two dozen companies call it home.

A place to escape

Ginger Tree owner, Kathy, selected Ascot Stables for the tranquil setting. She loves the relaxing gardens and ample parking.

Aske Entry and Courtyard diverse businesses get to enjoy this amazing architecture every day
Aske Entry and Courtyard stunning and serene and ample parking.  It has great proximity to local towns.  It was a winning decision and her clients love it.

Kathy is an escapee of London’s hectic pace. She brought her extensive training and skills to the peace of the Dales.

Pamper yourself with a massage, facial or body treatment. Stay groomed with natural nail care. Enlist her as your makeup artist for your special event. She even helps with hair. Here you will find what you need.

Kathy is a strong believer in natural and organic. Products must be at least

Ginger Tree Treatment Room for holistic beauty
Ginger Tree Treatment Room

70% natural and organic ingredients.  To treat the unique needs of each client she maintains diversity.

  • Environ  – physician developed therapeutic skin care for dramatic improvement.
  • Pink Boutique –  handcrafted organic aromatherapy.
  • Neal’s Yard -organic skin care.
  • Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup.
  • SpaRitual – eco-friendly vegan nail care.
  • Advanced Nutrition Program – supplements for beauty from the inside out.

Customized therapies encourage you to relax, renew, rejuvenate.

Wellness Center

Ginger Tree reception area with original fireplace now used as decor
Ginger Tree Reception with original fireplace

Her vision has been for a total wellness center. In September 2016 this came to fruition. The Ginger Tree facility expanded.

It now includes:

  • homeopathy
  • Yoga
  • pilates
  • reiki
  • reflexology.

Locals are lucky to have such a well thought out holistic center nearby.  It is the trend of the future, today!

George and Dragon Inn 17th century coaching inn and great place to stay in the Yorkshire Dales

George and Dragon Inn

George and Dragon is a 17th Century coaching inn
George and Dragon Inn & Black Sheep Pub

The George and Dragon Inn is a 17th-century coaching inn located in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales National Park, UK.

After nearly a 24 hour  5000+ mile journey, it welcomed me for a much-needed rest. You never know what to expect when stepping inside a historic pub, but the George and Dragon is a fabulous find.

Visiting here is a visit of history. Narrow country roads make you slow down and enjoy the views. And the views are spectacular.

George and Dragon Inn, Aysgarth

Situated on the edge of quaint Aysgarth village, the George and Dragon

Rich dark woods dominate the pub at the George and Dragon Inn
Pub at George and Dragon Inn

has been greeting travelers for over 300 years.  Called a coaching inn, it was a place the carriages stopped to give weary travelers a break. Friendly, casual, welcoming.  When you step inside you step back in history. Rich dark woods, brass, vintage decor in a classic Dales pub style. Eclectic collections adorn the walls. Fun.  Step back in time and slow down.

Friendly, comfy, delightful

The manager and staff were excellent hosts. Upstairs, the generous queen

Your room at the George and Dragon Inn offers lovely views of the Yorkshire Dales.
View of the Dales from a room at George and Dragon Inn

bed was super comfy. The building may be old, but the amenities are modern. Complete with wi-fi. All rooms are en-suite!

The food in the Black Sheep Pub was delightful. From classics like fish and chips or meat pies to gourmet pub food, choices are diverse.  Don’t forget to try a local brew.

Guests are also treated to great breakfast options. Start with the cereal bar then pick your customized hot breakfast from a part or full English and more.

There is a car park on the hotel property.  If you are campers, there is a camping area nearby.  Hikers were stopping past the pub for a brew on their way back home.

It’s a central location for exploring the area.

Wensleydale cheese factory, Cover River

Bolton Castle is an easy drive from the George and Dragon Inn
Bolton Castle viewed from across the Dales

Bolton Castle, Aysgarth Falls.  Lots of spectacular scenery. Great hiking.  Shopping.  If the landscape looks familiar it’s been in the movies. Both Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and All Creatures Great and Small were set here.  Nearby, you can find the building that still bears the Harriott name.

Not sure what to see?  Just ask, they will be happy to make recommendations based on your interests.

Thanks much for a great visit!! We look forward to returning.  For the very best prices, contact the inn directly and ask about specials.  http://www.georgeanddragonaysgarth.co.uk/home

Explore the Yorkshire Dales enchanting in any season

 Yorkshire Dales

Rolling Yorkshire Dales offer a magical wellness escape
View across Yorkshire Dales

The locals call it “God’s country”. The Yorkshire Dales is unique and enchanting. Remove the cars, you’d swear you are transported back 150 years or more.

Life in stone cottages, Manor houses or castles. It’s a countryside as remote and secluded as it comes in England. The landscape is crisscrossed with stone fences that have stood for hundreds of years.

From the Vale of York to the top of the Pennines

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is in the ancient county of Yorkshire. The Dales stretch across the steep glacially rounded Pennines, that form the backbone of England. Sprawling across 680 square miles, the park was created in 1954 to conserve its beauty for the future.

Giant domes loom above green valleys and sparkling rivers. Soft peaks and sharp slopes. Dry stone walls, limestone scars, and lofty craigs. Lush pastures, heather moorlands. Among the mountains are dozens of interconnected valleys (dales). Their individual personalities blossom amidst the harmony of this National Park.

Lodging

Stone-built villages dot the landscape.  No hotel chains here. Building

Yorkshire dales fields are crisscrossed with stone fences and farms
Yorkshire Dales is dotted with stone farms

codes are enforced to maintain the history.Inns, small hotels and bed and breakfasts are the norm. There are also places to camp or park caravans (recreational vehicles).

Inns, small hotels and Bed and Breakfast homes are the norm. There are also places to camp or park caravans (recreational vehicles).

Your inn may be from the 17th, 18th or 19th century,  but you will find all the modern facilities within.  While there are some exceptions, most rooms are en-suite. Do expect steep stairs and sometimes a low ceiling.

Friendliness abounds. A warm greeting and a fabulous stay. Most properties include full breakfast. Inns and hotels also serve meals throughout the day.

Explore the Yorkshire Dales

Roads are narrow, the pace is slower. Whether you chose to drive, walk or

Bolton Castle is an easy drive from the George and Dragon Inn
Bolton Castle viewed from across the Dales

cycle there are paths for you.  Be aware this is farming country. Watch for agricultural vehicles – and animals. This is where they live and work.

For hikers and cyclists, you have lots of choices.  Choose a day trip from your inn. Or elect to follow one of the circular tours.  These tours will take you from one inn to the next. There you will find a comfortable bed and good hot foot to welcome you at the end of the day.

Whether you choose a leisurely meander or something more challenging options abound. Books and maps will help you pick your route. Check the tourist information sites if you want to plan in advance. The Three Peaks tour is popular with the more adventurous.

Stone bridges cross every stream or river.  They were designed for horse-drawn carriages. Approach these with courtesy as they handle one car or truck at a time. In other parts of the world, they might have replaced and modernized to meet the demands of the auto.  The Dales is about protecting and history.  Enjoy, photograph, savor.

So what’s to see beyond the spectacular landscape? Rushing rivers, waterfalls, stone walls crisscross every field, sheep, hay, cattle. Visit castles, gardens, museums and stately homes. Wensleydale Cheese Factory, artisan candle makers, brewery tours, shops of all manner.

Small friendly places where the locals go.  Lots of great tea rooms, pubs, and foods of all sorts.  Don’t miss a farmer’s market where the locals go to visit, buy and sell. How about a ride on one of the railway routes that connect the many towns?  Choices are many, scenic and nostalgic including steam powered trains.

Enjoy Yorkshire Dales History

This is James Herriot Country. Herriot is the world’s most famous vet.  He brought the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and the lives of the locals to life for readers all over the world. Although he created a fictitious setting, the places where he lived and worked are strongly featured. For a feel of his home visit Hawes, Richmond, Leyburn, Middleham, Swaledale, and Wensleydale. This is the area the BBC used for the filming of the popular TV series “All Creatures Great and Small.”

If you are a classical novels buff the place may feel familiar. Charlotte Bronte lived and worked here. Charlotte’s childhood and experiences as a governess were her inspiration. Moors, manors, highlands. Jane Eyre and many other works live in the Yorkshire Dales.

Regardless of the season, the place is pure magic.  Choose to see it during peak summer season or visit in the winter when you feel you have it to yourself.  Want a cozy getaway spot? Try Middleham.  A castle in your backyard, pubs across the square. Choose an inn or a private “to let.” Every morning the race horses clop their way up the cobblestone market square and up onto the hills for their workout.

Plan ahead for the summer as the locals flock to the area for holiday. Some of the attractions don’t run year around so it’s good to investigate. Regardless of when you go, you will be greeted warmly and served great hot food often near a cozy fireplace.  Locals think it is the best place for great beer.