South Lodge Hotel: A luxury escape in West Sussex

ByAndrea Thompson

March 7, 2024
I had a wonderful stay at South Lodge, a luxury hotel in West Sussex that offers peace, relaxation, nature and glorious food!I had a wonderful stay at South Lodge, a luxury hotel in West Sussex that offers peace, relaxation, nature and glorious food!

I had a wonderful stay at South Lodge, a luxury hotel in West Sussex that offers peace, relaxation, nature and glorious food!

An historic manor house built in the 19th Century and designed by Frederick DuCane Godman, who made his fortune from the Whitbread and Co Brewing Company.  During the Second World War the main house was used as a hospital and then in 1985 transformed into a luxurious hotel.

The hotel is set in 93 acres of beautiful park and woodland.  It boasts the largest Rhododendron Arboreum in England.  With stunning views of the South Downs, a variety of gardens and trails to explore and it is only 2.5 hours from London and 10 mins drive from Gatwick Airport.  An ideal base for business and pleasure.

My room was elegant, spacious and comfortable, with a marble bathroom, and stunning views over the gardens and countryside.  All rooms are tastefully decorated with a mix of traditional and contemporary elements.  Equipped with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and safe, soft lighting and curated artwork.  I loved the attention to detail and the homely charm of the décor.  Whether you choose a cosy room or a suite you find yourself enveloped in tranquillity.

The hotel has three restaurants each with its own style and cuisine.  Camellia is a 3AA Rosette-winning eatery that serves seasonal dishes made from local ingredients.  The Pass is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a unique dining experience.  You can watch the chefs prepare the food in the open kitchen and then served personally to your table.  They are more than happy to discuss their culinary techniques.

In residence at the moment is Tom Hamblet, MasterChef:  The Professional 2023 winner whose residency ends March and he will be moving to another property within the Collection.

Botanica is the spa’s restaurant.  With a lovely terrace and views of the countryside, they serve healthy, tasty dishes from local suppliers and the Estate gardens.  Whilst not exclusively a vegetarian restaurant, the menu features an array of plant-based dishes.

The best of which I think is the Wasted Burger made entirely from the leftover ingredients of the morning’s juices.  Absolutely delicious, a clever idea and very tasty.  Hats off to their sustainability drive!

The spa is one of the most impressive I have seen. With a gym, yoga studio, thermal suite, mud room, salt room, and indoor swimming pool. Outside is the UK’s first 18-foot-long natural wild heated swimming pool.  In a natural oasis, with plants, rocks, and a waterfall that create a serene atmosphere.

You find yourself swimming with local wildlife, don’t be put off its a wonderful experience and  boy does your skin feel soft afterwards.  The pool is heated by a biomass boiler, which is part of the hotel’s commitment to sustainability. The therapists are professional and skilled and use organic products that smell amazing.  In essence it is a sanctuary that ignites all the senses.

South Lodge also has exceptional facilities for business.  They have recently revamped the conference facilities and business centre, blending modern technology with classic charm from polished wooden tables, leather chairs, and state-of-the-art AV equipment. Whether you’re hosting a corporate event, team-building workshop, or a board meeting, these spaces provide the perfect backdrop for productive discussions and most importantly all have natural light.

Not only do they have conference facilities they are also a licensed wedding venue with a beautiful  outdoor wedding pavilion and if needed a helipad!  The hotel is part of a family business, Exclusive Collection whose MD and owner is Danny Pecorelli and being the first Hotel group to achieve B Corp accreditation.

Further down the rolling lawns there is an ongoing project of one and two bedroom luxury lodges, called “The Reeds” these sit beside a lake that guests will be able to enjoy wild swimming in and will be completed this summer.  Another project in the pipeline is a yoga/wine tasting lodge overlooking the vineyard.

I would highly recommend South Lodge to anyone looking for a luxury escape in the English countryside. The hotel combines history, elegance, and innovation, and offers a range of activities and services to suit every taste and preference. The staff are not only friendly and helpful  but willing to go the extra mile to make you feel welcome and pampered.

It is a hotel that truly cares about its guests (including dogs) and the environment.  It’s not just a place to rest your head, it is an experience to let the stress melt away in the setting of an English paradise.