Take me with you...
The Spa at South Lodge is very large - and very luxurious. Overlooking the South Downs, it's tucked tactfully into a natural dip in the landscape, with its grass and sedum roof, and green oak cladding. Walk through the lovely gardens from the hotel or car park, and the spa gently appears as you get closer.
Shall we spa?
Huge windows bring the outside in, making everywhere light and bright. Inside there’s a gym and spin studio, indoor pool and a thermal suite. Outside there are sun terraces, a hydrotherapy pool, a natural pond - which you can swim in - and tennis courts. The huge, well-equipped changing rooms are downstairs, and lead into the thermal area and large indoor pool.
I’ve not tried an Omorovicza treatment before so was interested to test the products, which are based on the healing waters and muds from the thermal waters of Budapest.
Amelia my therapist, began The Omorovicza Botanical Treatment (80 minutes, £160) with a deep cleansing exfoliation using moor mud and sea salt, followed by a back massage using heated quartz crystals. She then set to work on my face, starting with a Thermal Cleansing Balm and moving on to several Blue Diamond products. The resurfacing peel felt slightly tingly.
Designed to lift and firm, the facial massage felt wonderful; the rich products sunk in with ease. Between stages, Amelia spritzed the Queen of Hungary Mist onto my face as a refreshing toner. At the end of the treatment, Amelia made some tactful suggestions on how I can improve my skincare routine, and showed me a simple exercise to stretch my back muscles (which I now do every time I stand up from my desk - it works).
Amelia took me to the relaxation room after my treatment and I settled me on a colour changing bed to relax – I couldn’t help stealing a peak at my newly-glowing skin in the nearest mirror.
How did it measure up?
Which signs of ageing are the most obvious? For me its dull, uneven skin; dark circles around the eyes; and sagging jowls. The enzyme-based peel worked wonders on the dullness and on the milia I am prone to. My skin looked much brighter, and the amazing massage made my chin line much firmer. I especially liked the effect of the eye cream which reduced those dark circles and softened my smile lines.
The Perfecting Lip Balm plumped up my lips wonderfully (lips naturally get thinner as we age, so this immediate effect was impressive). The finishing touch was the light-diffusing moisturizer. For anyone starting to notice the signs of ageing, this is the perfect treatment. There isn't much we can do to make us look younger - unless we opt to go under the knife (even Botox is short-term) - but this treatment made me look. and feel, much brighter.
Spot of lunch?
The Botanica restaurant is part of the spa so you can take a seat in your robe. Head for the outside terrace if the weather is good. Most dishes are plant-based using locally sourced ingredients. There’s a wide choice, from smoothies and small plates to more filling dishes such as the ‘Wasted Burger’ made each day using the pulp from fresh juices. They have a no dairy policy so if you fancy a Latte you'lll need to to choose one of their plant-based milks.
We enjoyed the perfect protein-fuelled lunch of Serrano ham and poached egg on sourdough toast. We washed this down with a homemade – and super refreshing - elderflower and orange spritzer.
Got all day?
Settle down on a well-padded lounger on one of the terraced sun decks and enjoy the views of the South Downs. The large alfresco hydrotherapy pool is positioned to catch the sun; from here you can easily pop into the sauna, steam room and salt sauna.
Short on time?
Take a quick dip in the natural swimming pond - its chilly but invigorating.
17th June 2022
Warm treatment beds; fragrant steam rooms; therapists who listen to what you say; unexpected treats such as back massages that start with hot towels on your feet.
Small towels; crowded changing rooms; black mould in the showers; therapists who sniff; anyone who doesn't take my lavender allergy seriously - until I'm actually sick on them!
Behind the scenes