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Arundel, West Sussex, BN17 5RW
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
6 treatment rooms
Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa sits in a rural setting, a pebble's throw from Climping beach in West Sussex. The hotel is a classic English manor house, all medieval mellow stone and mullioned windows. The spa is built in the style of a Sussex barn, but with expansive windows that allow you to gaze out from the pool to the gardens. The spa offers well-priced and excellent treatments from British brand Temple Spa, in a very pleasant environment. The 30 acres of grounds boast not only a coastal view (give or take the odd hedge), but an ostentation of peacocks – which you might catch a glimpse of whilst bubbling away in the outdoor hot tub.
A "medieval" retreat dreamed up by a 1920s aristocrat, Bailiffscourt is a yellow-stone manor house in pretty Sussex countryside. The spa is a short walk from the main hotel in a barn-like building with very high ceilings and heavy wooden beams. Both the hotel and spa overlook fields and gardens, with ancient trees, aged walls, meandering lavender-lined paths, and peacocks wandering about.
Spa reception is bright with heavy beams hanging across the high-ceiling and two Perspex egg chairs just inside the entrance: the only overtly modern touch. Two stone-coloured sofas sit in the middle of the huge room which looks out over the pool. The reception desk is green glass and vases of lilies and gladioli, orchids and candles are dotted about. It smells divine and looks like the kind of place where you'd expect to see minor-royalty.
The changing rooms are small. The L-shaped room has lockers and benches to pause on. The three showers with flagstone floors are stocked with Temple Spa shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion. There is also a vanity area with two mirrors and two hairdryers, and one bathroom.
The main spa facilities are in a central high-beamed space with flagstone floors. Three of the walls are glass, with two facing outside onto trees and lawns. The area exudes a cathedral-like calm. The 16-metre indoor pool is lined with blue mosaic tiles and has steps rounding down each side of a circular hot tub. The tub would seat around four comfortably, and is deep with strong jets on a timer so the main pool remains calm. Along one side of the pool is a row of fifteen loungers with beige cushions and rolled turquoise blue towels.
Set back from pool area are the thermal experiences. A small steam room has large dark grey tiles, slab seating and dim lighting; it would seat four, or six at a push. Next door is a traditional wooden sauna with very high benches and seating for two. Cool off under the arched shower, a refreshing cleanse between heat experiences.
Outside is a 16-metre infinity pool tiled in green and brown mosaics. Heated to 30 degrees C all year round, it is lovely for swimming lengths and watching squirrels dash between the trees. The area has lots of wooden loungers but is a little weather dependent. A covered hot tub at one end of the pool, also with small blue tiles, is perfect if you get caught in a drizzle.
The spa café is up some stairs above reception. It's a pleasant, white-painted space with a variety of sofas and chairs, and a big modern painting. A sideboard holds a Nespresso machine, a choice of teas, and traditional floral cups and saucers -- as well as take-away cups if you want to drink your coffee poolside. Doors open onto an outdoor decked area with wooden chairs and tables overlooking the outdoor pool. When you're ready for a quieter ambience, try the dark relaxation room with four comfortable loungers, blankets and cushions. This room is exclusively for spa guests so it's very peaceful.
There's a gym, too, if you fancy working out before winding down.
We had the Red Carpet Facial (60 minutes, £103) which includes post-facial make-up: perfect if you're heading for a fancy dinner.
My therapist, Rachel, met me in main reception and led me upstairs to our treatment room; this had stone-coloured walls with exposed beams, candles, and soft music playing in the background. We discussed my consultation form and Rachel explained the treatment.
Once we were happy, I lay on the treatment bed which was covered with a warm water cushion. Blissfully comfortable. Rachel dimmed the lights and talked me through a couple of deep breaths. She cleansed my feet and massaged a cooling gel into my calves and feet (in preparation for the high heels on the red carpet, no doubt). A gorgeously grounding way to begin a facial.
Rachel covered my legs and turned her attention to my face. She removed my make-up with cotton pads, then massaged in a gentle cleanser which she removed with cloths. She used a second foaming cleanser to really invigorate my skin, again removing it with a warm cloth. Next, she massaged my décolletage and neck, moving up to my face, pinching along my cheeks and jaw, and pressing along my chin and forehead. At one point, she made a figure of eight around my eyes and scrunched my ears. Rachel applied a mask: a cloth filled with rich serum that stretched under my chin and around the backs of my ears. She ran cool rollers over parts of the mask and massaged my scalp while it worked. The massage was intense but lovely.
Rachel removed the mask and cleansed my face with warm cloths. She applied a serum, moisturiser, and eye cream, then moved on to the make-up part of the treatment. I wanted to go for a very natural look so Rachel applied the Velvelutto face base, It's All A Blur wrinkle filler and Look on the Bright Side radiance booster. I gently sat up and Rachel turned up the light and handed me a mirror. My skin did indeed look red-carpet-ready: smooth, blemish-free and plump. The make-up wasn't too heavy; it had just taken off the usual post-facial shine.
You can eat in your robes in the spa café. The menu offers healthy salads, snacks and desserts. We tried the chicory and blue-cheese salad, which was served with fresh focaccia bread. The salad was small but absolutely delicious.
If you are staying in the hotel, try the Tapestry Restaurant which offers a la carte, locally sourced dining. We had the cod with parmesan crust, and the honey-glazed duck breast. Both dishes were beautifully prepared and presented.
The look of the spa: Bailiffscourt Spa is visually stunning, bright, serene and spacious, with understated rustic elegance, and makes the most of the outdoors.
We loved our facial: The best way to apply a base coat before heading out for a posh dinner.
The staff were incredibly helpful and looked after us from start to finish.
We didn't love
The steam room wasn't steamy enough and smelled a bit damp; adding an aromatherapy oil would be a great enhancement.
Families. The hotel has a games room, croquet and quoits on the lawn, and Climping beach only a short stroll away.
Local ladies who lunch. We saw several sophisticates draped in elegant cashmere.
Romantics. The whole place is achingly romantic. Gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes in the rose gardens or the four poster beds…
We awarded Bailiffscourt Spa a Good Spa Guide bubble rating of 5 bubbles. It is a lovely spa in a most romantic setting. The staff will make sure you are treated like the Lord and Lady of the manor, and the Temple Spa treatments are wonderfully indulgent. Dip in and out of the pools, soak up the West Sussex sun, and spend a day in complete peace.
Savant Spy visited in September 2016 and awarded it 5 Bubbles
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Climping, Arundel, West Sussex, BN17 5RW
Spa lunches can be served in the relaxation area, or in the main restaurant; the Tapestry Restaurant serves a modern English menu at lunch and dinner.
See the hotels entry on Pride of Britain Hotels.
39 rooms and suites available and six room types. Rates start at £220 for a standard double.
Weekdays: 7am - 9pm; Weekends: 8am - 9pm