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A luxury spa day at South Lodge for our web designer Megan

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If you’ve been following the blog this year, you will know that launched its luxury Elysium Collection in 2019, featuring some of the most luxurious spas in the UK. Amongst them, is the exquisite South Lodge, and here our very own web designer Megan tells us what she thought on her own luxury spa day…

First impressions on a luxury spa day

The grounds at South Lodge are amazing and really set the scene for a relaxing and decadent spa day. We went to the hotel first, which is incredibly fancy, traditional in style and elegant. We were then escorted to the spa, which is a new building that sits in the grounds of the hotel. What was obvious from the moment we got there was how helpful and nice each member of staff was.

A traditional hotel

The hotel itself is a lot bigger than I thought it was from the photos. It’s a historic property but it’s been beautifully kept up to date for modern hospitality. If you’re going to stay for an overnight spa break, you might like to know that there are two parts to the accommodation - with rooms in the original building as well as more contemporary ones in a newer part that has been added more recently.

The whole hotel is about taking time out, and as such there are lots of chill out areas that you can retreat to. There are also three restaurants (one of which is in the spa - more on that shortly) depending on whether you want intimacy and romance at Tom Kemble in The Pass or award-winning fare at Camellia, which has two AA rosettes and uses ingredients from the kitchen garden.

While we weren’t staying overnight, we did have a look around the rooms, all of which are large, spacious and grand but still have a sense of intimacy, which is nice. We went to see the master suite which was huge - much bigger than my flat - and perfect if you’re here for a special occasion. You walk in and have a living room area with views of the South Downs, which is something a lot of people ask for when they stay. There’s also a giant bedroom and a really gorgeous bathroom with a freestanding bath, separate shower and its own TV.

The luxury spa

The spa at South Lodge is a recent addition, but it’s been carefully designed to blend into the grounds. It has a grass and sedum roof as well as green oak cladding and lots of natural light, so it doesn’t negatively impact location.

Again, the staff are really welcoming, and the facilities are unique and perfectly chosen for a complete luxury spa day. For example, there’s a wild swimming pool, which is a heated pond complete with reeds and moss for a natural vibe, which is actually really lovely. They also have an outdoor hydrotherapy pool, which is lovely, and lots of outdoor seating and fire pits for a really cosy feel. Inside there is a sauna and heat experiences, which are extremely relaxing and are beautifully designed.

It’s worth noting that the robes and towels provided are the softest things I have ever come across, and all the details have been really thoughtfully considered. For example, in the changing rooms there are Dyson hair dryers to use.

Bespoke spa products and treatments

When it comes to treatments, they use their own collection of products, inspired by nature and created exclusively for The Spa at South Lodge and their sister spa at Pennyhill Park. All products are made in the UK from natural ingredients and all treatments are personalised. Afterwards you’re invited to spend time in these charming little pods and have a cup of tea, which is all very relaxing. For those looking for a little extra indulgence, there’s also the Ridgeview Beauty Bar putting a spin on the traditional Champagne nail bar. They have teamed up with with award-winning English sparkling wine producers from the South Downs, Ridgeview, to bring pampering and pedicures together.

The plant-based restaurant

As we were here for a luxury spa day, we ate in the spa’s own restaurant, Botanica. They use a local farm in the South Downs to provide all the ingredients and serve a largely plant-based menu. The dishes are quite different to anything I had seen so it’s a good chance to experiment with trying something you haven’t tried before. Dishes are based on a Mediterranean diet. You can choose to combine lots of small plates, or have larger dishes like their signature Wasted Burger, made entirely from the pulp from the freshly prepared morning’s juices. It’s extremely tasty but healthy at the same time.

A scenic location for a luxury spa day

Based in Horsham in West Sussex, the views of the South Downs really set the scene for relaxation at the hotel. It’s beautiful and makes it very relaxing as you have these amazing views which stretch all the way to the horizon. It’s no wonder it’s really popular with weddings. However, it’s also easy to drive to, so it’s great for a spa day as well as an overnight break.

The verdict: who would love South Lodge?

I think the lovely thing about South Lodge is that while it’s absolutely a romantic hotel and spa, it would also be a wonderful place to visit for quality time with a friend. The intimacy of it and scope of facilities makes it better for two or three people rather than large groups, but whoever you visit with, you will have a real sense of wellbeing as well as luxury.

Top tips for a luxury spa day at South Lodge

  • Try wild swimming amongst the reeds for an experience you won’t get anywhere else.
  • Experiment by ordering something you wouldn’t normally from the menu in Botanica.
  • Have a glass of Ridgeview sparkling wine and treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure at the same time.
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