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  • Writer's pictureCarrie-Ann Lightley

Rudding Park Hotel & Spa: Access Review

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Stunning surroundings, the most luxurious spa, delicious food and award-winning accessibility - my stay at Rudding Park was the perfect escape.

Confession: I’m not very good at relaxing. I work pretty long hours, often travelling up and down the country, and usually spend my ‘free’ weekends meal prepping, taking long walks with the dog, swimming and of course writing posts for my blog. In short, I’m not very good at switching off!

But I do know that self-care is so important, and we have to take some time out every now and again. My stay at Rudding Park, Harrogate was perfectly timed in the midst of all of this busyness, the ultimate escape.

Disclaimer: Rudding Park provided my accommodation, meals and spa access on a complimentary basis for the purposes of this review. This is an honest review and my opinions, as always, are entirely my own. This review is entirely based on my personal experience of staying at Rudding Park, as a manual wheelchair user who is able to transfer, and is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to accessibility at the hotel.

The Hotel

A luxurious, privately owned hotel, Rudding Park has 90 bedrooms, a spa, two restaurants and a kitchen garden, private cinema, two golf courses and conference and events space. Rudding Park is one of the most beautiful Harrogate hotels, set in 300 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland.

A luxury hotel in landscaped grounds

Rudding Park won the prestigious ‘Catey’ Accessibility Award 2018, and for good reason. 

On arrival guests have the option of Blue Badge or valet parking, and there is a local accessible taxi service available. The main entrance and all public areas have level access, and lifts are available to access other floors. There are five accessible rooms in total, with interconnecting doors to adjoining double non-adapted bedrooms. 

All of the hotel’s accessible facilities are detailed on their Accessibility page, which includes links to their brilliant accessibility videos, giving a preview of the hotel.

The Staff

Often the most important aspect of accessibility in a hotel is how well the staff have been trained – in my opinion you can overcome many barriers to access with a forward-thinking staff member on your side. 

I can honestly say that the staff at Rudding Park are the friendliest and most professional I’ve ever encountered at a hotel. From the personal check in and escort to our room, to the assistance in the spa and treatment rooms, restaurant staff and even just those passing in the corridor, absolutely nothing was too much trouble. Their passion for outstanding service really shone through, without making me feel like I was being singled out for ‘special’ treatment because I’m disabled. 

Accessible Room

My favourite kind of accessible room – a beautiful one! 

King size hotel room bed. Cushions on the Bed have the letters R and P on them

Hotel room desk and coffee table with lime green chairs

Entering the room was an easy process of tapping the key card on an illuminated panel next to the door, which the opened automatically.

I stayed in room 271 in the Folifoot Wing. Bright and modern, with a super king size bed, which can also be made up as twin beds, and bespoke furniture (so much love for the green chairs) it felt luxurious as well as cosy. The room’s accessible features include low level switches and controls, flashing light/audio alarms, push button emergency alarm and telephone next to the bed.

There was loads of options for storage – an adjustable rail in the wardrobe and a low, wide chest of drawers, perfect for me as I’m obsessive about unpacking but find it loads easier to transfer folded clothes straight from my case into a drawer.

An adjoining room is available, accessed by a sliding door, which is a useful option for those travelling with a PA or in a bigger party.

This room will soon be available for guests to book directly on the hotel’s website – I will update this post with full details.

Accessible Bathroom

This gorgeous bathroom was pretty much the perfect layout for me.

hotel wet room shower with folding shower seat and chrome grab bars

It has a sliding door, which saves space and avoids any awkward reaching to close the door behind you. The wet room shower has a folding seat, grab bars and an overhead shower as well as an additional wall mounted handheld lower level shower – I love these options as I don’t always want to wash my hair – taming my curls is a big job! The sink is a good height to wheel under, and the toilet has plenty of grab bars and an emergency pull cord. 

Hotel bathroom - toilet and sink with mirror and chrome grab bars

The bathroom’s tiled floor has underfloor heating which made such a difference to me; I spend a lot of time out of my chair and on my knees, and tiles can be so cold.

The Spa

Wow… just wow. I’ve been to a few accessible spas, but none of them as luxurious, as welcoming or as special as the spa at Rudding Park. 

Neon sign reads 'this way' with a statue of a diver in front of it

To access the spa from the hotel, disabled guests can take a through-floor lift down to the lower levels. I was really pleased to see a robust, contemporary lift here – my previous experiences of these type of lifts has been that they can be cheap and unreliable – thankfully not the case at Rudding Park.

Through-floor lift made of glass,, chrome and steel

Once down to the lower floors the spa is bright and welcoming. The helpful staff gave us our wristbands, showed us to the accessible changing room (with wet room shower and accessible toilet) and then it was time for our treatment – the Rasul Ritual, a traditional Moorish mud treatment. 

In our private steam/shower room we applied mineral rich mud to each other's face and body, the room then filled with steam, before jets of water came out of the walls to shower us off and we finished with a zingy citrus body scrub. My skin felt amazing afterwards!

Carrie-Ann Lightley Disabled Travel Blogger is sitting in her wheelchair in the spa, wearing a white robe

For those indulging in massages, facials etc. An accessible treatment room is available.

We spent some time after the treatment relaxing in the Escape Zone; rooms and spaces designed to promote mindfulness and relaxation, with a video mood wall, personal headsets, puzzles and lounger beds.

Another lift gives access to the Roof Top Spa, my favourite part of Rudding Park. There are so many different thermal and hydrotherapy experiences which were just amazing to sooth my tight muscles, including –

  • Panoramic Sauna

  • Herbal Bath Steam Room

  • Luxury Steam Room

  • Spa Bath & Garden Sauna Cabin

  • Sunlight Therapy Room

  • Foot Spa, Loungers, Shower Experience, Sun Deck

Roof Top Spa Garden, Spa Bath, Sauna Cabin

Carrie-Ann Lightley Disabled Travel Blogger in the sauna.

The best of all of them for me was the outdoor, infinity hydrotherapy pool. Like getting into a huge warm bath, with Jacuzzi seats and loungers, and the most stunning views of mature gardens. A pool hoist is available for those who need it, which staff will arrange on request.

Hydrotherapy Infinity Pool

A separate indoor pool is also available for guests to use, which has it’s own pool hoist.

Clocktower Restaurant and Bar

Level access from reception takes you to Rudding Park’s Clocktower Restaurant, which has won numerous awards, serving modern British food.

Clocktower restaurant with pink chandelier

We dined in the bright and airy conservatory section, alongside a beautiful 400 year-old olive tree. The food was delicious and the service attentive – the staff assisted me to the nearby accessible toilet and will happily read out menus to guests.

Carrie-Ann Lightley Disabled Travel blogger in Rudding Park's conservatory dining room

Duck fillet with sauce being poured over

A nightcap in the Clocktower Bar was the perfect end to the most special day.

Breakfast – Horto Restaurant 

After an early morning dip in the rooftop infinity pool, a real treat as I had it all to myself, I was so ready for breakfast in the Horto Restaurant. Horto is located in The Spa and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.  There’s level access and plenty of space throughout.

Breakfast options include topped toasts, eggs Benedict, cereals and fruit, and an alternative full breakfast, which was my choice.

Breakfast - bacon, poached eggs, mushrooms, avocado, halloumi and peppers

Final Thoughts

If you’re seeking a spa break for relaxation, escape and luxury with tasteful, well thought out accessibility in beautiful surroundings, I’d highly recommend Rudding Park.

Do you have a favourite accessible spa hotel?



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