Living in London is like having a long-term relationship – it’s enjoyable, comfortable and steady, but sometimes you just need a break, like a weekend away in a new location. This metaphor escaped me slightly but what I’m trying to say is although I love London it’s nice to vacate to the countryside once in a while… not to cheat on your partner.
Hardly in the depths of England’s green and pleasant land, South Lodge Hotel is only in Horsham – less than an hour by train from Victoria – but I fully consider it a countryside escape. The 5-star hotel, originally built in 1680 (or parts of it at least) is very quaint and I got old money vibes as soon as I saw it; what it must have been like to have been rich there a few hundred years ago.
While I don’t need much convincing to stay at a 5-star hotel there is an ulterior motive to my stay; that being the state of the art spa that opened at the beginning of March. £15m was poured into the brand-new building and it’s hard to image that it wasn’t there before. The hotel itself is really nice and the service (as you would expect) is impeccable but prior to the spa there was nowhere to truly relax. With this new addition you can literally spend hours pruning yourself to within an inch of your life at the various facilities that include a sauna, steam room, indoor swimming pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool and the UK’s first heated natural swim pond. Plus, there are over 50 spa treatments available and a deep relax lounge with six 4Senses experiential loungers combining sound, light, scent and vibration.
The new spa also offers a different kind of dining experience than in the main hotel; ‘Botanica’ is a Mediterranean inspired restaurant with a plant-based menu serving brunch, all day and evening menus. If you’re staying more than a few days at South Lodge it’s nice to have the variation, start your stay with good intentions at Botanica, get a rustic dining experience at Camellia and really treat yourself at three-AA-rosette restaurant, The Pass, whose Head Chef is Tom Kemble.
For those thinking “why be totally relaxed and pampered when I could be sweaty and exercising?” there are gym facilities available at the new 2,000sq foot gym as well as the holistic studio for yoga, HIIT and circuits as well as a dedicated spin studio, when the weather is nice these classes are taken on the outdoor terrace.
South Lodge Spa is in good company as it’s part of the portfolio from Exclusive Hotels & Venues whose other venues include Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa, Lainston House and The Manor House. It’s a really enjoyable experience being at South Lodge, you don’t even have to make the arduous one minute walk from the hotel to the spa if you don’t want to as guests can be transported from the hotel via the UK’s first stretched electric tuk-tuks – I mean, if that’s not luxury I don’t know what is.