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April 5, 2019

Elite Review: The Spa at South Lodge

By Alex Martin

South Lodge Hotel is a long-established luxury hotel set in the idyllic surroundings of England’s South Downs. With individually-styled suites and award-winning fine dining options, it is unquestionably one of the best country house hotels in the country.

Until now, however, there has lacked a spa service befitting of the hotel’s reputation. That changed in March with the launch of a state-of-the-art facility. Costing a reputed £15million ($19,5m), the 44,000 sq ft spa is a perfect example of modern luxury.

One of the first things you will notice about The Spa at South Lodge is the modernity of the building. South Lodge Hotel is a typically grand 19th Century country house, but The Spa has been built very much for the present day with sustainability in mind.

The Infinity Pool

The grass and sedum roof and oak cladding provides the facility with natural insulation and also helps to blend the building in with the rolling hills that it sits among.

Floor-to-ceiling windows allow guests to stay connected with the beautiful views whether they are in the sauna, the indoor infinity pool, the spacious gym or the stylish Botanica restaurant. Terraced sun decks and an outside natural swimming pond will be wonderfully relaxing when summer returns to this part of the world.

Relax

The relaxed experience begins from the moment guests arrive at South Lodge Hotel. Although a short walk from the hotel grounds, staff will whisk you to the front door in an electric tuk-tuk. Once dressed in robes, guests can choose from an expansive range of classic spa facilities.

The infinity pool is ozone treated, a safer alternative to chlorine, and overlooks a beautifully British vista. There are two steam rooms to choose from, salt and herbal, as well as a sauna.

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The outdoor hydro-pool, although warm and inviting, will be best enjoyed in warmer climes. We loved the natural swimming pond, which claims to be the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.

Treatments

A bamboo massage

There are myriad options to pamper yourself at South Lodge with over 50 treatments available. These have been designed with a natural philosophy in mind. South Lodge is particularly proud of its partnership with Hungarian skincare Omorovicza, the only spa in the UK to have one.

We were invited to experience a full-body massage, which was delivered by vastly-experienced staff and included hot stone and bamboo treatments as standard.

Once the massage is over, guests will be invited to spend as much time as they like in the Sensory Lounge, where hot teas and fresh fruit are offered. Heated loungers and soft music will send you into even deeper states of relaxation as natural light fills the room through beautifully-designed windows.

Fitness

The expansive gym at South Lodge

Gyms are usually neglected, but South Lodge has spared no expense in making sure its fitness room offers the same experience as any other space at The Spa. Again, floor to ceiling windows can be opened to give access to the outdoor training terrace. On this terrace, a variety of classes are offered, inclusive to hotel guests and members.

We loved the intensity of the HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) session, delivered by a truly passionate and inclusive instructor. Among other classes on offer are yoga, meditation, dance-inspired fitness and group spin classes.

For those who wish the train alone, the equipment is state-of-the-art, notably including a Woodway Curve treadmill. There is also the latest Technogym equipment, free weights and the growingly popular TRX system.

Dining

Botanica Restaurant

Guests are invited to renourish themselves at the on-site Botanica restaurant. Some choose to dine in their robes before heading back into the facilities or between treatments.

The menu has been developed by Jonathan Spiers with an emphasis on wellness using local and seasonal ingredients. The menu is not strictly vegetarian, but a large number of options are either all or mainly plant-based.

Botanica offers all-day dining, but we were invited to experience the sophisticated brunch menu. We loved the ‘Wild mushrooms on sourdough with caramelized onion puree and homemade pesto’ and the range of juices served with a shot of the spa’s own Tincture.

Annual memberships to The Spa at South Lodge from £2,500 ($3,300) per year with a one-off £500 ($580) joining fee. For more information visit exclusive.co.uk/the-spa-at-south-lodge

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