Park House Hotel and Spa is a secret hideaway at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex, in an area of outstanding natural beauty. On a quite country lane, the small country house hotel really punches above its weight. It has modern, comfortable rooms, super comfy beds all set in green Sussex countryside with nothing but the sweet sound of birds to break the silence. Rooms are situated in the main building, and there’s a new annexe with additional large rooms that look across the kitchen garden and to the fields beyond. A stone’s throw from the historic market town of Midhurst, (where you might enjoy the polo at Cowdray Park) there are country gardens and historic sights a plenty.
But wise people don’t venture beyond the gate. Choose from an array of country walks, lazing by the pool, or you can indulge in some refined English pursuits like lawn bowls, tennis, a round of golf on the six-hole course or croquet (ok that’s more French).
The food is worth the drive too. Fresh, local and seasonal, the chef has crafted a varied offering that celebrates the best of West Sussex and the surrounding area. PS – don’t miss breakfast. The full English is renowned.
The hotel (and spa) is understated, unpretentious and warm and welcoming. It’s a million miles away from many country house hotels and one you will want to keep coming back to.
PH20 spa at Park House Hotel and Spa
The PH20 spa at Park House Hotel and Spa is small and perfectly formed. It has a compact gym, indoor pool and jacuzzi overlooked by some loungers on a raised level. Great for swimming laps it’s a lovely light space and great for raining days and warming winter chills. In sunnier weather head to the outdoor heated pool, complete with sun loungers and bar, which is surrounded by beech tree hedges. You can enjoy light bites and tea in this area and relaxing here pre or post treatment is gorgeous. Indoors the spa has a small relaxation area and the treatment rooms have a contemporary edge, decorated with on trend floral wallpaper (although this might date quickly).
The spa has an extensive spa treatment menu featuring some of the industry’s leading lights including Voya (seaweed-based treatments) Caudalie (embracing the benefits of vinotherapy), Germaine de Capuccini (with its new wellness therapies) and Jessica for great manicures and pedicures.
The spa isn’t the biggest or necessarily the best (in what is a fiercely competitive market), but it has everything you need including separate steam and sauna in the male and female changing areas and the most friendly, gentle and accommodating staff you can find. This really made our experience as the staff couldn’t have been more at ease, friendly yet professional.
Treatment – Baobab Body Ritual
This relaxing therapy begins with a foot cleanse and some warm pressure point work using warm pindas (or wrapped bags of herbs and spices), then starts the scrub from head to toe. It’s a light, dry scrub that is expertly applied and removed without the need for a shower. Brilliant – as it doesn’t upset the flow of the treatment ritual (and you don’t get wet and cold).
The massage movements are precise but not overly deep. The same process is repeated on the front and somehow the therapist manages to whip out the protective sheet (with the beads of salt/sugar from the scrub) like magic. It’s all very soothing and calming, the oil-based massage is relaxing and hydrates the skin but doesn’t leave it overly greasy or sticky.
To conclude there’s a sleep-inducing head massage which works on the neck and shoulders a bit too. I remember it includes some towel stretches of the neck which was a treat. It’s not a deep tissue massage and if you are looking to relieve muscle aches and pains, this one’s probably not for you. But if you need to take some time out, calm the mind and sooth the soul. This is ideal.
The best bits
Relaxing by the outdoor pool in the sun
Warming up my muscles pre-treatment in the steam room
The Baobab Ritual – I wasn’t in the mood for a muscle beating (so perfectly timed)
Room to improve
The changing rooms are quite small so with more than two people it becomes crowded.
There were a few towels left on the benches by other guests. So it quickly became messy.
More space for retail display. Too many of the products were behind locked doors in a long corridor. Not conducive to testing.
And no yoghurt was available at breakfast time. A rooky mistake?
BB from £210 standard room (for two people)]
Baobab Body Ritual – £90 for 95 minutes