Park House Hotel, West Sussex

It’s always a good sign when you delay your departure from a hotel, with mutterings of ‘well we could just stay here by the pool for another hour’, or ‘why don’t we stay for lunch?’ and one begins to experience that dreaded Sunday night ‘back to school’ feeling, with huffs and puffs and frowns and sighs. It usually comes because you’ve been able to get off life’s treadmill and truly relax, and the idea of getting back on it feels extraordinarily unappealing.

Nestled in the South Downs, of which there are wonderful views, and set within 10 acres of manicured gardens, tennis courts, a 6 hole, 18 tee golf course, putting green, and of course, a croquet lawn, Park House Hotel has that rare quality of feeling like a private country home. It is elegant, traditional and very, very English. In fact, and to quote another hotel guest, ‘We felt like we were visiting friends rather than staying in a hotel’.

 

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The 21 bedrooms are tasteful and completely individual, decorated with that understated elegance that the British are so well known for. The bed was supremely comfortable, and I enjoyed one of the best night’s sleep in memory.

The whole place has such a deeply relaxing feel to it, that I immediately thought of how ideal it would be as a retreat for someone to come to rest, rehabilitate and renew. For anyone wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of busy modern life, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. I always like to walk around a hotel on my own, just taking everything in, absorbing the atmosphere, observing the going’s on of staff and guests alike. I did just this before dinner, taking a seat in the peaceful drawing room with its antique furniture, classical lamps and soft furnishings.

But whilst Park House could only be accurately described as traditional, the spa facility, ph20 is anything but. A well kitted out and modern gym facility, and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools as well as spotless and stylish treatment rooms mean that guests get to enjoy the best of both the old and the new.

 

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I was impressed with the food as well. Highlights included Cannelonni of rabbit with fennel, radish and watercress which was wonderfully moist and tender, and a delicious pink and juicy rump of lamb with aubergine, peppers, and thyme jus. The young waitress was upbeat and friendly gave across the impression that despite the homely feel of our surroundings, her and her colleagues were operating at the high standards of a luxury hotel.

At breakfast, again served in the conservatory, we were bathed in sunlight and gazed out at ‘that view’ of the verdant lawn and expertly tended English country garden. Locally sourced sausages and black pudding, and well cooked eggs came after one of the best croissants I’ve ever enjoyed. It was a stay made up of ‘bests’, in fact.

Park House Hotel is a very special place indeed. To book your stay visit www.parkhousehotel.com or call 01730 819020. But I warn you, one night may not be enough!

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