Park House Hotel & Spa, Midhurst
Super spa - tick... fab food - tick... rooms with a view - tick... check out this country house-style getaway
Well here’s a three-in-one treat to savour – a country bolthole with fine dining, sports facilities and a loungey spa. Park House Hotel & Spa is in a glorious country setting just outside Midhurst and proved a perfect place for some time out for my friend and I this summer.
The accommodation is in the historic main house. The decor is English country house traditional – safe while being just the right side of chintzy. Don’t expect air con, clever lighting and cool decor but do expect comfortable beds, gorgeous views and windows that actually open. Our room had a double and two singles and some squashy armchairs besides so could also have suited a family. Some of the rooms also allow dogs.
From the window we could see tennis courts, the golf course, putting green and croquet lawn and the South Downs beyond. It was lovely in full sun but I can imagine it also looks pretty tinged with frost.
Despite all those opportunities to whack balls around there would be no sporty action for us – we had relaxation in mind.
The spa, by contrast to the main house, is a contemporary space. There’s a smart corridor approach and good quality robes and towels on hand. You can also help yourself to herbal tea, flavoured water and fruit.
My friend, who had been suffering with her sinuses, just loved her Quiet Minds Scalp Massage which involved a rosehip serum, lots of kneading of facial pressure points and some Thai massage-style neck stretches. She came out beaming.
My own treatment was a Voya Foot Retreat Ritual which included a salt exfoliation and leg massage, then seaweed, not just in a paste, as I’ve experienced it before, but full length strands as a wrap. I lay there relaxing to the classical music but couldn’t resist a peek down at my legs which revealed what looked like a deleted bondage scene from The Shape of Water!
By the end. quite an array of creams and other products had also been used on me to make my legs feel soft and moisturised – no mean feat, as they’re often dry as the Gobi desert.
The terrace and heated outdoor pool (open April – Sept) proved a great place to hang out afterwards in the sunshine and there’s a bar here too with snacks available.
It can be busy with children during family times (till 3pm) which is why, in summer at least, it’s good to have two pools to chose from if you’re wanting a bit more peace. The inside option features mother of pearl tiles, a marble shower and a hot tub, all very glam.
There’s also a gym, personal trainer and the like in the spa area if you can be bothered (we couldn’t!)
I’d associated Park House Hotel mainly with spa, so that evening the quality of the food was a very pleasant surprise.
Following a fantastic amuse-bouche of celeriac soup with an onion ring, I had a starter of wood pigeon and fresh peas while my friend had mackrel and beetroot – all pretty in pink.
My main was a delicate turbot with a lobster ravioli, my friend had the belly of pork. We also managed some excellent chunky chips on the side.
A fluffy apricot souffle had its sweetness nicely offset by an unusual greek yoghurt sorbet while my friend tucked into a white chocolate and strawberry trifle.
The whole experience was very enjoyable. It was white table cloth formal but with relaxing garden views from the conservatory part of the dining room while the light lasted.
Breakfast (yes, I did manage more food) included fresh fruit, yoghurt and seeds from the sideboard and cooked options that spanned a full English (with black pudding if that’s your thing), egg benedict, royale of florentine and other fishy options including smoked salmon with scrambled eggs.
In the area
If you’re planning to really make a weekend or longer of your stay it’s good to know you’re pretty close to Goodwood’s motor and horseracing circuits; Cowdray Estate for polo (free on many summer week days) plus clay pigeon shooting and the like; pretty Petworth and the wonderful outdoor gallery at Cass Sculpture Foundation. Naturally you’ll need to book early to stay during Goodwood’s major events.
The Muddy Verdict
Good for: A treat with a bestie, mum or partner, or some solo me-time. Fine dining, particularly for special occasions. Fantastic views. A wedding (Park House hosts ceremonies in a restored barn and up to 74 guests can stay over).
Not for: If you want smartly contemporary rooms this is not the place for you. If you like a spa as a total haven it’s best to check ahead to avoid the family pool times.
The damage? Rooms with breakfast start from £130 a night; massages are from £50 for 45 minutes; Spa days, with use of the facilities, start from £90 including a treatment, breakfast or lunch; a three-course dinner is £45; three course lunch £25 (£33 on Sundays).
There are frequent seasonal promotions, especially midweek – for instance a night’s stay with three-course dinner and breakfast, massage and use of the spa facilities at £300 for one or £420 for two, Mon – Thurs.
Park House, Hotel & Spa, Bepton, Nr. Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 0JB, 01730 819020, parkhousehotel.com