The Spabreaks.com team visited the beautiful Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa in West Sussex for a little bit of R‘n’R last month. The historic inn proved that while it’s perfect for romantic retreats, it’s also an idyllic mini break for a small group of friends. Here’s what Junior Product Executive Amy had to say…
Driving to Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa through the Sussex countryside was beautiful. We went from our offices in Brighton, but within minutes you got that country vibe. Midhurst is a small village that feels as though you’ve headed back in time. It’s beautiful, peppered with antiques shops and has a huge town clock in the middle. It’s like something out of a Harry Potter movie. Its historic charm is only enhanced by knowing that Elizabeth I once stayed at the hotel.
Our rooms were really lovely. They’re very grand with heavy curtains and low ceilings, lots of beams and original features of a coaching inn that dates back to 1430. Little details really stand out. For example, tea is served in antique cups and saucers in the rooms and there are really lovely little toiletries. And design, all the way through to the bathrooms, is in keeping with the property.
History and tradition run through the veins of Spread Eagle, with something to tell a story at every turn. For example, in the restaurant, above the ceiling you will see a row of Christmas puddings hanging down from the ceiling. It’s the result of a tradition that dates back over one hundred years. Every Christmas Eve, each guest at the hotel receives a Christmas pudding made to a secret recipe. They can take the pudding home with them or hang it in the restaurant to eat it when they return the following Christmas. Some have been there for hundreds of years!
Dinner was unbelievable. In this ultra cosy environment, we all had a three course meal. There’s just one restaurant but we were in the private dining area which is perfect if there’s a group of you. The restaurant has two AA Rosettes and serves a really traditional British menu, with lots of seasonal ingredients. It was delicious and definitely worth indulging in.
The spa is in a semi separate building to the hotel. It’s connected, but is a barn style addition that was developed in recent years. The swimming pool is beautiful, with lots of windows around it letting in natural light. The mosaic on the floor of the pool is a huge eagle, in keeping with the name.
It’s surrounded by loungers as well, which are great for just relaxing and reading a magazine. There are outdoor areas, which are perfect in the summer and open up the spa space. However, they’re very private so no one will see you in your swimsuit except for other spa goers. There’s a sauna, steam room and a small gym – just enough to get a good workout.
There’s a relaxation area, which is upstairs so ideally you have your treatment first and then go there. The result is that there’s quite a clear journey through your spa day. We all had facials and massages, and the facial in particular was fantastic. The treatment rooms have been really carefully designed, so they’re dark and sultry and a good place to really unwind or even doze off.
I think Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa is the best of all worlds. It’s a really lovely and cosy country pub. It’s welcoming, dog friendly and locals go there to have tea and a drink so it’s got a lovely atmosphere. You can also go on beautiful walks up to the Downs, which are 10 minutes away. But then you also have this contemporary spa space, which is open and relaxing and a real retreat.
It works for small groups, but it’s definitely also romantic in a relaxed, chilled out sort of way. If you want to get out of the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s kind of like being enveloped in a big hug.
Take some outdoor weather clothes and go for a walk in the surrounding area. It’s so pretty, with lots of antique shops in the village and then these lovely walks on the Downs.
It’s perfect if you’re a dog person. They even do little doggie bags! Take a book, a magazine and read the Sunday papers – it’s somewhere to totally unwind.
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