Jessica Shaltout enjoys a relaxing spa weekend at South Lodge in Sussex
Situated just an hour and a half from London in the Sussex countryside, South Lodge overlooks the stunning South-Downs. A 19th century neo-Jacobean building, covered in rhododendron and set among 93 acres of woodlands and ornamental gardens, its totally Insta-worthy. Inside, the decor is the epitome of old school English comfort. Imagine large fireplaces, oversized chairs and embossed wallpapers.
The relaxing ambiance of the hotel does not stop there, it follows through into their state-of-the-art, luxury spa. Here they offer a gym and spin studio, indoor pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool and swim pond, a thermal suite, treatment rooms, a barbers and restaurant. After enjoying a pregnancy massage, I met my husband and daughter in the pool for a family swim. They offer two family sessions – at the start and end of the day. The next day, we enjoyed brunch in the restaurant, Botanica, which, although not totally vegetarian, offers a wide range of plant-based foods. Overlooking the beautiful scenery (with the sun basking over us) it was the perfect way to unwind.
Rooms are very spacious, so great if you’re travelling with kids. They provide a cot free of charge, as well as bath accessories and toys. The decor has an indulgent feel, with cladding, exposed brickwork and ornate fireplaces. Ours was a room with a view, overlooking the beautiful countryside and all rooms come with smart technology. The bathrooms are most impressive. We had a free-standing bath, from which you can watch a flat-screen television, and a huge shower – almost a room in itself.
Tip – check out the ‘pillow menu’ before you go. They even offer a pregnancy one!
There are two restaurants, The Pass, a Michelin-starred fine dining experience that offers a seven course tasting menu, or Camellia, a more traditional British dining offering, set in a charming old fashioned room. This is where we ate. The restaurant had a nice buzz about it and the food was fresh and seasonal. They use ingredients from the hotel’s garden and local Sussex suppliers, creating a unique style of traditional dishes with a contemporary twist. We took full advantage of our mini-break and booked a babysitter from local company Tinies, however a children’s menu is available at Camellia if dining with the family (over 12s only at The Pass).
THINGS TO DO
The local town is Horhsam, which is quite small, but offers a high street and art gallery. There is also a golf course nearby. There is plenty of countryside to explore if some fresh air is what you are after, both in the grounds of the hotel and further afield on the South Downs. Local attractions include Ridgeview Wine Estate, the beautiful gardens of Handcross and Haywards Heath, or slightly further afield is Arundal Castle. Back at the hotel, there is also a library with books and board games to entertain you in front of a cosy fire, or enjoy a Pimms on the terrace!