As the local architecture will attest, Cuckfield is a very small, Tudor village in East Sussex; and Ockenden Manor sits pretty much in the middle of it – so as soon as you turn into the driveway you are faced with this Elizabethan house where everything from the wattle and daub on the outside to the oak beams on inside denotes a sense of history.
Inside the main hotel the architecture is as you might expect from a medieval building –
low ceilings and a very cosy atmosphere – the sort of place you want to curl up in the winter with a large cup of tea. There are rooms in the main house which continue the traditional theme, but if you head over to the spa building then it is an entirely different story: it is ultra modern, infused with natural light and luxurious details including roll-top baths that look out onto the surrounding meadows.
A new addition to the hotel, having only opened in January 2012, the spa is ultra-modern in terms of design, and in large part constructed of glass, which is not only an aesthetic feature, but also part of the venue’s overriding eco-friendly ethos which encompasses natural light, using spring water from its natural source and employing the help of natural skincare brands REN and ilā. It is a very peaceful place to spend time and has all the facilities for a complete spa experience – thanks to the rain shower, sauna, steam room, hydro pool and two relaxation areas.
Spa lunches are served in the lounge area in the spa building, as you might expect – an area where the furniture is wicker and of course, the surroundings are predominantly glass, and the food it light and healthy including smoothies and the hotel’s bespoke Ockenden teas. Dinner however is in the main hotel and is a proper treat thanks to the presence of Michelin Star chef, Stephen Crane and views of the South Downs National Park.
Cuckfield is an extremely pretty village, and being in the middle of it comes as something of a surprise when you first drive up – you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the wrong place. However, it makes for a convenient location to drive to and potter around the village if you want to, whilst also giving you uninterrupted countryside views from the spa and restaurant … it is essentially the best of both worlds.
The contrast between old and new in the spa and the main hotel means that there’s something different for varying moods and tastes, while the eco-friendly elements make it an ideal location for the conscious or seasoned spa goer looking for a new experience. It is very much a luxury experience and is all about peace and quiet so while it isn’t really a suitable venue for families it is ideal for couples on an indulgent weekend or special occasion.
– Opt for a room in the spa building both for convenience and the complete, luxury experience.
– Dine in the Michelin star restaurant in the evening.
– Try one of Ockenden Manor’s specially formulated teas while you’re in the spa!
To visit Ockenden Manor go to Spabreaks.com or contact the team on 0800 043 6600.
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