If you are looking for a luxury spa hotel, an hour from London, this is the place for you. The venue, a five-star Jacobethan mansion, is delightful, but the newly built spa will take your breath away.
South Lodge has ample grounds covering many acres with walking paths that you can also cycle around.
They have a huge rhododendron, outside the front of the hotel, that is truly magnificent.
Location 9 / 10
The hotel is close to the South Downs and the grounds cover 93 acres, of lush woodland and manicured gardens. It is a very short drive from Gatwick airport and is close to Horsham, which is a pretty enough little town.
But why would you want to leave the grounds when there is so much to explore?
The spa is like something from the future while the main hotel takes you back to past, imagining a more gentile time. It is the best of both worlds.
Rooms & Interior 9 / 10
The hotel is surrounded by lush grounds. Inside, it’s all oversized fireplaces, original embossed wallpapers and bronze pillars.
The rooms are spacious think four-poster beds, ornate fireplaces, lots of wood cladding and exposed brick.
The bathrooms had indigo mosaic tiling, blue floor spotlights and hot tubs with a television inplanted in the wall.
The showers are bigger than a walk-in-wardrobe. Our bath was actually in the main room, which was a quirky touch.
A welcome bottle of wine and chocolates is always a nice way to begin a stay at any hotel.
The view from our window looked out over the hills and was lovely to wake up to. The stressful job, jsut an hour away, felt like a different world.
Food & drink 9 / 10
There are various food and drinks offerings in the hotel. We ate at the Camellia restaurant, in the evening, which offered traditional classic dining in a historic room.
The starters and main courses were very tasty and the wine choice was sublime.
We also had lunch at the Mediterranean inspired restaurant, Botanica, where head chef Jonathan Spiers draws on the South Downs as a larder for fresh and seasonal ingredients, and the fruit juices were sublime.
Breakfast was a continental buffet and there are cooked options, from full English to kippers.
Services & facilities 10 / 10
The reception staff were very helpful and friendly and the restaurant staff know their food and only serve the best local produce.
Facilities include croquet on the lawn, tennis courts and bike hire to cover the extensive grounds.
However the new spa, which was built at a cost of millions is worth the price alone.
The indoor infinity pool is huge, and the outdoor jacuzzi is also very large, with various fancy water jets.
The outdoor pond, artificial but made to look natural, is what did it for me. A clever touch and different to your normal spa offering. It is the kind of place an A-list celeb would feel at home.
The sauna and steam rooms were designed to a high specification. The couple’s spa package with bamboo massage, and mud bath, was so relaxing; I felt light as air afterwards.
If you need to relax and still be within a few miles of London, this is the place for you.
Rooms, some wheelchair-accessible, from £265, including breakfast.
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