DAVE FLETT visits the spa at Rudding Park for a pre-Christmas treat

EVERYBODY enjoys wrapping up well at Christmas, but it’s much more fun at the award-winning Rudding Park Hotel Spa.

The Follifoot-based luxury hotel was named the UK’s Best New Spa at the 2017 Good Spa Guide Awards and a pre-Yuletide visit seemed the perfect time to experience a Thermal Detox Wrap.

After all, why wait until the New Year to detox – I normally need a spot of revitalisation during the ever-expanding, energy-sapping build-up to December 25.

The North Yorkshire venue is currently offering a Festive Spa Day, which starts at £143 and includes one 50-minute bespoke treatment, a seasonal arrival drink and snack, a two-course lunch and full access to the spa’s facilities, including the strikingly wonderful rooftop spa garden – the first of its kind in the UK.

Having enjoyed massages and facials in the past, for a new kind of experience I opted for the Thermal Detox Wrap from a varied choice of treatments.

Designed to boost the body’s circulation, I was first given an invigorating body brush to shed any dead skin cells, which was surprisingly more soothing than it sounds.

A series of oils and scrubs were then rubbed on to my skin, before I was cocooned in a plastic sheet and given scalp and foot massages.

The latter was a revelation and I was left questioning how, at the age of 45, I was only experiencing its relaxing bliss for the first time.

Our feet take a battering on most days of the week.

My own walk the dog twice a day, go running three times a week and play football every Monday night but, in terms of care and maintenance, are possibly the most neglected part of my body.

No longer though.

After the treatment, my often-blistered and hard-skinned feet came out feeling smoother than the proverbial baby’s bottom and I won’t be waiting another 45 years for my next massage.

The touching of feet is not everybody’s cup of tea – my wife recoiled when I invited her to feel my newly-textured trotters and not-so-politely declined my suggestion that she might want to put a foot massage manual on her list to Santa – but, if you’re not afflicted by that phobia, I’d strongly recommend trying it out.

Like my feet, the skin that had been wrapped up also felt soft, with a glowing sheen, and I was then showed into the Escape Zone, offering four different rooms – entitled Visual, Relax, Audio and Mind – for post-treatment serenity.

I headed for Visual first, where you can laze in large soft leather seats or a swing chair watching spectacular landscapes from different places in the world on a large screen, including scenes from the Swiss Alps, San Francisco Bay and the Aberdeenshire Coast.

Then, I spent 20 minutes in Relax, where guests can lie in beds amid a dimly-lit, peaceful setting.

Mind, meanwhile, offers books, puzzles and colouring therapy, and Audio provides music headsets and booth seating.

Unarguably, though, the jewel in Rudding Park’s Spa crown is the roof-top garden with its centrepiece the outdoor Hydrotherapy Infinity Pool.

Stepping into it is like climbing into a hot bath and, at this time of the year, such an al fresco delight is a real treat.

The pool is big enough for a few lazy swimming strokes and a massage journey, including a foot volcano, leg and back massage, and swan neck massage, also serves as an invigorating experience.

Another option is just to admire the views of the garden which, currently, include grazing model reindeer that light up prettily in the night, with the spa’s Christmas decorations subtle rather than in your face.

Like most people, I’d rather leave any walking on rooftops to the big man with the grey beard at this time of the year, but the short stroll from the Garden Sauna Cabin to the Spa Bath also provides an originally, stimulating hot-cold-hot affair.

Under cover on the rooftop are two majestic steam rooms, tastefully-tiled in mosaic style with impressive lighting.

Heated beds are available too and the fun, bracing Snail Shower Experience starts with Warm Tropical Rain, then turns to a fresh Cool Mist, before ending in a Caribbean Storm complete with impressive sound and light effects.

Another highlight of the Festive Spa Day is the two-course lunch at Horto Café.

The food was of excellent quality with my prawn cocktail starter boasting nice plump fish in a thick sauce with crispy ciabatta.

My lamb shoulder main course was then melt-in-the-mouth quality, with yoghurt, cous-cous and almonds offering an inspired selection of complementary flavours

For dessert, my wife had sticky toffee pudding and it was of an equally high standard, being perfectly moist.

Her first course was also a good-sized tasty burger with a generous portion of fries.

Small Christmas trees on each table added to the festive feel too, as do the serving of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts in the spa.

As well as the Festive Spa Days, Rudding Park will be serving afternoon tea at their 2 AA Rosette Clocktower restaurant on Christmas Eve.

In the evening, visitors can then choose to dine at Clocktower, the 3 AA Rosette Horto restaurant or Rudding House, where a Black-Tie Dinner will be held.

A traditional Carol Service will also take place in the Chapel at 11pm, after which there will be mulled wine and mince pies at Clocktower.

On Christmas Day, after a Yorkshire breakfast at Clocktower, guests can choose to take part in a six-hole golf competition, while Santa’s Grotto will be open in Rudding House.

A Champagne reception will then take place before the traditional Christmas Lunch at Clocktower, lunch at Horto or the Family Christmas Lunch at Rudding House.

During the afternoon, meanwhile, a variety of classics will be screened in the cinema before a buffet supper.

A two-night Christmas Escape at Rudding Park over Christmas Day starts from £645 per person on a half-board basis.

Guests staying on a Christmas Escape can enjoy unlimited access to the Roof Top Spa and Garden from 12noon on the day of arrival.

To book, visit www.ruddingpark.co.uk or call 01423 844822.