How a £15m spa upgrade turned this hotel’s fortunes around

When you arrive at South Lodge, on the edge of the South Downs, it is exactly what youd expect from a country house hotel: pretty grounds, a honey-coloured stone exterior and a crunchy gravel drive give you a warm welcome.

While you can certainly decamp here for an enjoyable weekend away, with some stellar food to boot (the hotel has two standout restaurants: The Pass and Camellia), the new cutting-edge spa, tucked away behind its trad façade, will surely further elevate any jaunt away from home.

The spa

Designed by architects Felce & Guy, it has a sleek, modern look with plenty of glass and anthracite metal. Sustainability is a strong focus of the design, with green oak cladding, a grass and sedum roof, a biomass boiler used for power and a reed bed for sewage treatment. Throughout, theres also an outside-in ethos, with plenty of features that make use of the hotels idyllic setting. Retractable glass doors give an airy feel to the interiors, and outside theres a bubbling outdoor hydrotherapy pool and cute cocoon-pods found on sun decks. Best of all is the UKs first heated natural swim pond – which is like a mini wild lake. Meanwhile, public spaces have a cosy, eclectic feel with mid-century-style lighting, tactile tree-trunk tables and lime-green velvet sofas.

The highlight

Aside from the infused sauna, two steam rooms (one salt and the other is herbal), indoor infinity pool and mud room, there are more than 50 treatments on offer across 14 treatment rooms. Choose therapies from Hungarian skincare brand Omorovicza and the hotels own The Spa range.

Read more: How Naples went from Italys junkyard to a jewel in its crown

The Omorovicza Botanical treatment – a pampering body scrub, massage and facial using botanicals of sage, chamomile, calendula and jojoba – is a highlight and is exclusive to the hotel. Men are not forgotten with the dedicated male grooming bar, overseen by local barbers Grizzlys, and which offers a cheeky beer with your haircut or wet shave. The state-of-the-art gym is also impressive with Technogym equipment, an outdoor training terrace, and spin and yoga studios.

A room at The Spa at South Lodge

The food

Chef Jonathan Spiers heads up the in-spa Botanica, which goes well beyond the typically unimaginative wellness menus of limp lettuce and yoghurt desserts. Spiers menu is largely plant-based, local and seasonal plates, such as the vegetarian Wasted Burger, made from leftover ingredients from the mornings juices (it tastes way better than it sounds).

The brunch options are also delicious and have a Mediterranean feel – with English chorizo, house baked beanRead More – Source

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