Best of British

Mimi ON Mar 10, 2010 AT 10:49 am

Park House Hotel - Exterior

Park House Hotel, Midhurst, West Sussex

Crunching up the drive of Park House Hotel, the impression is more private home than hotel – partly because that’s exactly how it looks and partly because the sign simply reads “Park House”, but then again, I get the impression this is the kind of hotel that likes to operate below the radar

Located just a few miles from the Cowdray Park Polo Club and surrounded by the rolling South Downs, the hotel was first opened in the 1940s and soon became a popular pied-a-terre for the polo-playing elite.

Park House Hotel - Bedroom

Today, the hotel features 21 bedrooms along with a spa and restaurant. Our room was located within the quaintly named South Down Cottage, adjacent from the main hotel. It’s immediately obvious the rooms have all been furnished by someone with a meticulous attention to detail.  I’m not normally the type to coo over cushions or drool over designer curtains, but the individually designed rooms at Park House changed all that. My favourite bits included some cushions embroidered with a bird design and an achingly cool Perspex desk, while my other half loved the Apple TV which doubled as a computer. Perspex furniture and scatter cushions may sound like a strange combination, but somehow, it worked. 

Park House Hotel - Living Room

The hotel’s owners obviously have a certain type of guest in mind – I’m guessing someone partial to polo and probably the odd grouse shoot. A coffee table-style book turned out to be a catalogue of local homes for sale – we struggled to find anything under the 1 million mark – and every other page seemed to advertise a public school or polo outfitters. However, despite being aimed at the upper echelons of society, Park House offers various personal touches many similar hotels lack – from rows of Wellington boots for guests’ use, to the honesty bar, where guests can help themselves and simply write down what they take. (Be warned – this has the same effect as a food diary – seeing last night’s alcohol consumption in the cold light of day can be a sobering experience.)

The hotel’s new spa, PH20 @ Park House, specialises in Anne Semonin treatments and boasts four treatment rooms, along with a pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. With only 21 hotel rooms, it’s never going to feel crowded, although this could well change when it opens to non-hotel guests. I’d opted for the spa’s signature treatment – the Lava Shell Massage. The shells, which are recycled from the Philippines, contain a mixture of minerals, sea salt and essential oils which, when combined, cause a chemical reaction that heats the shells, making them the perfect massage tool. Helen, my therapist, used the shells with a fabulous green tea and mango oil to soothe away my various aches and pains before I was treated to a wonderful facial. After cleansing my skin, Helen applied a botanical cleanser, before using a marine-based moisturiser to protect and nourish my parched skin. The facial finished with a gel mask and a wonderfully soothing head massage. I loved how Helen took the time to create a bespoke treatment suited to my needs, listening to my concerns and carefully combining various products.

Park House Hotel - Pool

We finished the day with dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, where we enjoyed a delicious – but pricey – bottle of house wine and some of the juiciest lamb I’ve ever tasted, finishing with a fabulous cheese board (me) and a Bramley apple pie (him) We returned from dinner to find out pillows plumped and toiletries restocked. Bliss.

Park House sums up my idea of a perfect hotel. While no expense has been spared kitting the place out, the smaller details haven’t been overlooked.  While I’m a firm believer that there’s no place like home, Park House Hotel is certainly a close second best.

Prices: Rates at Park House Hotel start at £145.00 for a double room.


Telephone: (0)1730 819000

Park House Hotel
West Sussex
GU29 0JB

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