Category: International Travel
Rudding Park Spa for Wellness
Rudding Park Spa Embraces Nature for Wellness
Rudding Park specializes in escapes. The sprawling estate welcomes those
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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 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.
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 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’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 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.
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 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
- 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.
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:
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:
- 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.
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.
Planning for international phone travel
The easiest way to travel with your smartphone is to use your existing carrier.
Unlock a smartphone.
Locked phones only work on a single carrier. Unlocked phones can get a
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.
Purchase a local smartphone…
Other travel tips
Wellness abounds at Cedar Falls
Cedar Falls wellness unmatched
Winding your way up the long drive is like driving into a 3-d postcard.
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
Today’s guests retreat to relax and renew. Most guests are female visiting
alone or with friends. Every year a high percent of them return for an annual retreat.
Pool (summer only)
Country walks alone or organized walk
Photography in the gardens or terraces
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.
The spa is first class with a wide diversity of treatments and facilities. Enjoy its friendly caring approach and superb guest services.
Hot stone therapy
Manicures and Pedicures
Natural therapy treatment
Men’s specialty treatments
Dining is a healthy indulgence.
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.
Fishmore Hall SpaShell
SpaShell at Fishmore Hall
Fishmore Hall has brought the unique SpaShell concept to the historic
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Relax, Renew, Revitalize at the Ginger Tree
Relax, Renew, Revitalize at the Ginger Tree
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Her vision has been for a total wellness center. In September 2016 this came to fruition. The Ginger Tree facility expanded.
It now includes:
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
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
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
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, 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