hotel & spa review



Surrey Magazine was delighted to be one of the first to be invited by Exclusive Hotels and Venues to explore Pennyhill Park’s sister property and luxury five- star historic country house hotel South Lodge and experience it’s extravagant new £14 million luxurious 44,000sq. ft. spa facilities and wellness centre.


onveniently located just south of Horsham

near Gatwick airport, nestled amongst 93 acres of Sussex

parkland with panoramic views of the South Downs, South Lodge is unusual in respect that it has spent years being a destination for foodie getaways and an idyllic base from which to explore the local vineyards, attractions and events including Hickstead. Now it’s perfect for spa lovers to lounge around and be indulged! Home to glorious camellia bushes, the largest single-stemmed rhododendron in Britain, South Lodge has homely charm and is adored for its irresistible fusion of past and present. Rooms and suites are full of character, individually designed so that no two are the same and named after flowers and local beauty spots. Our deluxe twin room “West Dean” was spacious and elegant with two king size double beds side by side with huge leather headboards, Nespresso machine, Bose stereo system and a bottle of Ridgeview Bloomsbury English bubbles awaiting on arrival! We loved the spectacular views over the South Downs and the wow factor flat-screen TV above our Jacuzzi bath! Some suites have magnificent four-poster and colonial beds perfect for those looking for romance!

Inspired by the South Downs, the new self-contained complex is designed with sustainability in mind melting beautifully into its surroundings with green oak cladding and impressive “living roofs” of grass to gently ease you into country life. Led by themes of nature and the seasons it brings the outdoors inside. Botanical wall art, no sign of plastic anywhere, only solid wood and bamboo. The colour palette of natural, muted colours is sumptuous and subtle with the occasional flash of gorgeous lime green. Created to be something of its time, it is different. Slick and modern, it has the feel of a luxurious high-end alpine leisure resort which contrasts and complements the original honey bricked wisteria main building and the historic hotel’s landscapes. We felt blissfully at peace and on holiday despite the English


weather! Passionate staff go the extra mile to make guests feel welcome and as it was raining when we arrived, we were whisked from the main hotel to have lunch at the brand-new restaurant “Botanica” in “Edith”, one of the hotel’s 2 electric Tuk Tuks!

South Lodge has always had a rich botanical history dating back to the 1800’s when the gardens were developed with over 360 species of trees and plants. The hotel boasts three different restaurants all open to the general public as well as hotel guests. “Botanica” is all about delicious and beautiful food! Head chef Jonathan Spiers has created a Mediterranean influenced menu serving dishes using the Sussex Downs as a larder for fresh and seasonal ingredients. Although not totally vegetarian, dishes just happen to feature a plethora of plant-based plates including their standout dish, the undeniably tasty ‘Wasted burger’ made entirely from leftover ingredients from cut trimmings including

from the morning’s

offs and juices,

carrots, beetroot and celery!

What’s appealing about this, is that it looks similar and eats like a regular burger so you’re not hungry at the end of your meal and even the bun is made by a local bakery from their crumbs so there’s no wastage. In the summer, bi-fold doors open right up into an extensive dining terrace with a sun trap beyond the walls. Visitors will not only be coming for the spa days of five-star pampering with this luxurious environment but also for the food! Back to the spa, it has a thermal suite of jasmine herbal and marble lined salt steam rooms, colossal glass walled infused sauna looking out onto the sundeck outside where there are wonderful natural wicker pearl pods, trendy lounge-seating around big fire pits and a massive outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Also, the UK’s first heated natural swimming pond, open all year and heated from April through to September and a tranquil infinity edge ozone treated indoor swimming pool surrounded by loungers and deluxe oversized day beds for relaxation. Lit blue, it’s out of this world after dark!

Hip and trendy public areas have creative and wow factor finishing touches including rose gold fire extinguishers and colour changing infrared futuristic relaxation pods. The gym is inspiring and urban in its design with a New York loft look, spin studio and ‘alfresco’ training terrace! Great care and imagination has been taken throughout the project to encourage guests and members to spend lots of time here. There are 14 nature themed treatment rooms, offering everything from relaxing massages to speciality treatments like a mud room experience with your partner or botanical treatments exclusive to the hotel. For men, bespoke grooming at “Grizzly’s” barbers and for the ladies, make-up and nails at The Ridgeview Beauty Bar with a glass of English sparkling!

To finish off the perfect day, a three-course dinner at the two AA Rosette award- winning Camellia Restaurant which serves seasonal dishes with a contemporary twist using the finest Sussex produce and vegetables from the hotel’s walled kitchen gardens. Laid out over three rooms, it had an intimate feel, enhanced with a traditional country house style of décor which in the summer months is extended outside onto the beautiful terrace offering outstanding alfresco dining! Alternatively, “The Pass” award winning restaurant is a fine-dining experience with tasting menus and wine flights. Head chef Tom Kemble takes the ‘Chef’s Table’ concept and exquisitely develops it so diners are closely involved in the kitchen drama! With the two buildings in the resort, there is so much to do! South Lodge is now a spa destination hotel to go to this summer offering the best in relaxation, the most amazing state-of- the-art facilities with breath-taking views, providing accessible luxury with multiple incredible new dining options.

For more information please telephone 01403 891711

or visit

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