First Look: the Spa at South Lodge
It’s not every day that £15 million is spent on a 44,000 sq ft luxury spa and certainly not in the sleepy market town of Horsham. Which was reason enough then that BALANCE took a trip to Sussex for the unveiling of the Spa at South Lodge.
Drawing inspiration from the surrounding South Downs, the Spa at South Lodge does an impressive job of mimicking the sweeping landscape. What’s more, designed with sustainability in mind, the Spa is home to the UK’s first heated natural swim pond. Though this didn’t get much use on a grey day in March, the infinity ozone-treated pool, outdoor vitality hydrotherapy pool and thermal rooms were a delight.
Entirely dependent on the equipment available, training whilst away is often best described as inconsistent and, in turn, ineffective. Imagine our immediate regret then, when we arrived at the Spa at South Lodge, to scenes not dissimilar to Third Space and realised we hadn’t packed our trainers. Spanning 2,000 square foot, there is a spin studio, holistic studio and outdoor training terrace for the warmer months.
If weekends are reserved for purely horizontal activities though, you’ll be pleased to hear there is an abundance of day beds both indoors and outdoors at South Lodge for the laziest of Sunday afternoons.
South Lodge also has a menu of over 50 treatments to choose from and have well and truly revolutionised traditional massage offerings with their hot stone and bamboo massages as standard, rather than a #wellness gimmick. Following your treatment, you’ll be led to the so-called 4 Senses Loungers which combine sound, light, scent and vibration for a gentle if not novelty relaxation period.
Despite the two AA Rosette winning Camellia restaurant serving up contemporary interpretations of traditional dishes, the star of the show during our visit was breakfast at Botanica.
Using fresh and seasonal ingredients with a Mediterranean influence, we were bowled over by the plethora of plant-based plates and presentation of each. Think individual, edible flowers sprinkled on mushrooms and maple-syrup crisscrossed on pancakes with homegrown berries, an ode to the history of South Lodge that dates back to when the grounds were home to over 360 species of trees and plants.
Besides the actual food, the beauty of Botanica was that they struck the perfect balance between attentive, personable staff with a relaxed, leisurely atmosphere. We could have stayed all day long and are already planning a return just to try the signature Wasted Burger (made with the vegetable pulp from the morning’s fresh juices).
A short, electric tuk-tuk ride from the Spa at South Lodge is South Lodge itself.
Built in the 1800s ,the entry hall and dining room are quite the opposite to the super-chic Spa at South Lodge. That said, the rooms themselves are contemporary and individually styled so that no two are the same. Think plump cushions and quirky armchairs meet freestanding bathtubs at the foot of the bed and TVs in the shower.