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All I can say after staying there during the Bank
The bathroom was quite superb, with a walk-in rainforest shower that
Holiday weekend was that if it is the job of an hotel
gives you the car-wash sides as well as a veritable cascade of water
to make a stranger feel like a returning old friend
from above. The bath had a TV embedded in the wall and there was
a thoughtful series of dark blue night lights for those who want to
then South Lodge wins hands down. From the young
navigate their way in the wee hours without waking anyone else. When
man who chatted amiably to us as he showed us to booking one of these rooms, do ask for one on the top floor as these
our room to every single member of the bar and
have air conditioning while ours did not. Given that the windows open
restaurant staff who looked after us that evening,
but a few inches, restricted by the dread elf and safety no doubt, and
that the curtains are very dense, it is hard to get any fresh air into the
one might have assumed we had been away for a
room if, like me, you prefer to blot out early morning light.
while and just returned from our wanderings.
During our stay, we were shown round the other wing of the hotel
Better yet, when we were sitting in the lounge having an aperitif
where the banqueting and conference facilities are housed. The
before dinner, I saw a face I remembered from somewhere… My
attention to detail, combining the Jacobean style of this fine old
face betrayed my appalling memory, but the person in question
building with all we would expect from a modern building was
deeply impressive (actually, it’s not that old, it just looks it – it was
had far superior powers of recollection and came over to greet me
started in 1883 and fully developed in the last century). There was a
warmly by name. It was Luis, who had been maitre d’ at the
wedding in full sway as we looked round and it was clear why so
excellent Ardington Hotel in Worthing and was now restaurant
many couples choose this magnificent place to celebrate.
manager here. Given that we had already been treated so
generously, finding Luis capped off our enjoyment of the evening.
For anyone wanting to get away for a bit of leisure, there is plenty
We were to dine in the Camellia restaurant, the triple rosetted
on offer. You are, after all, in the Sussex Downs where walking,
centrepiece of the hotel’s food offering. The menu was good if not
fishing and countryside pursuits abound, but golf purists will be
terribly spectacular while the wine was under the control of the pleased to hear that the hotel has a special arrangement with the
splendid Dominic, whose enthusiasm and readiness to share his wonderful Mannings Heath club just down the road.
knowledge added greatly to our fun. The food when it came was
very good but at the prices on the menu so it should have been
The upgrading of the hotel continues with the opening in October
(when prices are written out in words rather than numbers, add
of a new restaurant, The Pass, in which 22 diners will be able to take
special reinforcements to your credit card).
their meals, effectively, in the kitchen, watching the chefs at work as
they eat. Dominic, who served our wine, will be managing The Pass
After some delicious port and a fine blended whisky and water
and invited us to go back and try it when it opens. How could we
refuse? More next issue!
(sorry, I confess I am no single-malt purist; a good blend wins my
heart every time) it was time to check out the room.
South Lodge Hotel
We were staying in the new wing at South Lodge, developed at a
Brighton Road, Nr. Horsham, West Sussex RH13 6PS
cost of £8 million (sorry, eight million pounds), and I must say we
+44 (0) 1403 891711
were very impressed. The room was gorgeous, the bed a four
poster, the view over the distant Downs quite spectacular. The hotel
South Lodge is part of the Exclusive Hotels group, which also
sits in 93 acres of park and woodland so the much-desired owns Pennyhill Park in Surrey, Lainston House in Hampshire and
tranquillity we sought was there at our disposal. The Manor House in Wiltshire.
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