Rest, relaxation and reboot are all on the menu – in luxury surroundings – at the new spa at Swinton Park. MAXINE GORDON booked in for a day of recovery

YOU know that feeling when you need a holiday – but can't afford it, either for time or financial reasons.

Well, that's what spa days are for.

That was certainly the case for me when I visited Swinton Park's swanky new spa at Masham, near Ripon, North Yorkshire.

It's been open since last summer, but still looks brand new. Even the white robes still have that lovely, baby-soft, newness about them.

Housed in a modern, glass and stone build separate to the 32-room heritage castle hotel, it impresses as soon as you step through the entrance hall.

There is a real-flame fire in a pillar going through the centre of the reception.

My friend K and I reclined into beautifully upholstered sofas and enjoyed our welcome drink of apple juice while we selected what to have for lunch.

There were three options: all light and healthy. We both picked the smoked mackerel with quinoa, beetroot hummus and wild rice with peas and feta salad.

We arrived at 10am following a straightforward 60-minute drive from York. Lunch was booked for 1pm, with treatments to follow at 2pm.

Having changed into our swimsuits we relaxed on two loungers by the 19-metre indoor pool. We felt peckish (it's hard work relaxing), so ordered a coffee and a cheese scone. Unfortunately, the scones weren't quite ready, so we settled for a healthy snack of nuts, seeds and an apple.

We lapped the pool a few times, then entered the spa experience, trying, in turn, the foot spa, steam rooms, sauna and large pool with power jets that pummelled our legs, back and shoulders.

We then braved the chill for a dip in the outdoor pool. This is smaller than the main pool, and filled with natural, untreated water. It is unheated so was a shock to the system when we immersed ourselves. But if felt great afterwards; as if your body's circuits had received a power surge. There were loungers outside too, layered with wool blankets, sheepskins and hot water bottles. A couple were asleep, but abruptly woke-up at our squeals as we entered the water.

Lunch was enjoyable and felt very healthy, however we did tuck into a dense and very naughty brownie afterwards, with another coffee.

There is a suite of treatment rooms, exquisitely decorated. I loved the tree-print wallpaper in the corridor, and the clouds in one of the rest areas. You feel a world away from real life – exactly how a spa day is supposed to make you feel!

K and I were both booked in for stress-relieving body massages. My therapist was a young woman named Rosie from Hungary. She bathed my feet first, and gave me a choice of three oils for the massage. I chose one with peppermint, and she set to work. I have had many massages, and this one was particularly good. I loved that she spent a good while on my problem areas: my back, neck and shoulders, before moving to my legs.

She really hit the spot a few times too, and kneaded away a lot of tension. I was so relaxed, I think I nodded off for a second or two. Perfect.

Afterwards, there is a choice of three rest and recovery areas. I tried them all and felt like Goldilocks jumping from bed to bed! I began in the sleep room, where I had a little shut-eye on a waterbed and pulled a wool blanket over me. Later, I met up with K in an adjacent room, where she was snuggled under a thick blanket and enjoying a pot of peppermint tea. Finally, we took up facing day beds in a third area, again replete with cushions and blankets and everything you would need for a dose of R&R.

Sadly, time caught up with us and it was time to slip out of the robes, back into our jeans and hit the road back to York.

But we felt revived, recharged and ready to face the real world – at least until holiday time beckons.

Swinton Country Club & Spa

Swinton Park, Masham, Ripon

North Yorkshire, HG4 4JH

T: 01765680900