PH2O at Park House
Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 0JB
Has a pool
Has thermal facilities
4 treatment rooms
Park House is a smart country house with three adjacent cottages, surrounded by ten acres of peaceful grounds. An impressive, small but opulent spa in a beautifully rural location; the PH₂O spa combines great treatments and luxurious facilities with the hotel’s good customer service, peaceful accommodation, and fresh, seasonal cuisine.
Park House hotel is tucked away down a country lane in rural west Sussex. Originally built as a rather exclusive B&B for people coming to Cowdray Park for the polo, it's now a peaceful, small hotel that has kept its "family house" atmosphere. It also has a pretty impressive, quite luxurious spa.
Park House has a croquet lawn and tennis courts, and even a small golf course -- everything you might need for a country weekend break. There are 21 bedrooms in the main hotel and others are hidden away in cottages in the grounds. Most have views across the gardens or out to the downs.
The PH₂O Spa is across the gravelled parking area and it looks no bigger than the adjacent cottage. Inside it is "TARDIS-like": it opens out to offer two pools, four treatment rooms and a relaxation room.
On the ground floor is an indoor shimmering mosaic-tiled 15-metre pool, with its snail-shaped, curved, white marble entry shower. A nicely hot and bubbly mother-of-pearl Jacuzzi sits to one side of the pool. On a glass-walled balcony above the pool, relaxation beds invite you to linger, with cold water and hot herbal teas freely available, alongside newspapers and up-to-date magazines.
Glass doors lead to a heated outdoor pool, which is open during the summer months. There are plenty of loungers, some under cover, an outdoor bar and separate changing rooms for those using the outdoor pool. This area is weather dependent, so only open during the warm season, although as the pool is heated, this extends the days it can be used.
The changing rooms are quite compact but well maintained, with 16 wooden lockers, three showers, a footbath, a small sauna and steam room. The changing rooms are down some steps but there is a lift for those with limited mobility. Each locker contains a robe and towel, with plenty of spare towels on offer throughout. No spinner, but there are plastic bags for wet bathing suits.
The four treatment rooms are in a separate area -- thus keeping noise to a minimum -- and are soothing in their neutral tones. After your treatment, come back to your senses on one of the three day beds in the Quiet Room, where you can snuggle under a duvet, indulge in a small fruit snack, and sip your herbal tea.
A small gym offers opportunities for a workout, although you could also stroll through the gardens, give the golf a go, or take up tennis in the ten acres of hotel grounds.
We had the Voyager Total Massage Journey (85 minutes, £90).
Cassie, my therapist, began by rubbing my feet with warm oil. I am a complete foot-massage addict so this was a great start. Then a back scrub followed by a lovely body scrub which smelled of ginger. Cassie removed the scrub with hot flannels, which allowed me to relax even more, then dried me with a rolled up towel using a rubbing action.
Body brushing of my limbs followed, which Cassie said would stimulate circulation. A good massage was next with a rich oil, and finally a coating of moisturiser with hints of citrus which was very refreshing. The treatment finished with a scalp massage. Cassie took me to the relaxation room and brought me a cold drink. I settled in to snooze and read magazines.
I was sparkling clean, very relaxed, and actually quite invigorated. That citrusy product at the end lifted my mood and woke me from the totally spaced-out feeling that often follows a massage.
The PH₂O spa at Park House uses organic Voya products in a range of body treatments and facials. They also offer Kerstin Florian facials and body wraps, and a range of treatments including Lava Shell massage, head massage and reflexology. For the finishing touches, you can try manicures, pedicures (including gel nails) and beauty treatments such as spray-tanning and waxing.
Morning, evening and day spa packages are available. Look out for the special overnight stays with use of the spa and spa treatments included.
You have to get dressed and go over to the main hotel to eat. So, if you can, plan your day carefully so it starts with lunch or ends with afternoon tea. In the summer, the outside poolside bar serves drinks and you can eat your lunch al fresco on the terrace.
The chef is to be admired for creating interesting, vibrant, modern food using local specialities. On our spring visit, we had local asparagus and local lamb, while the more adventurous could opt for turbot, sea trout, or the lemon and fennel risotto. Our amuse bouche turned out to be a miniature version of fish, chips and mushy peas. Very amusing and it tasted delightful.
The sense of being a valued guest: The hotel feels more like a friend's house and the spa takes a maximum of ten day-spa guests at a time, so you have space and peace. The spa is luxurious with good-quality finishes and seating throughout.
The tactful way the spa handles families: There is a family changing room upstairs, and designated children's swimming times so anyone who wants an adults-only environment can time their swim.
That the treatment area is tucked away in a quiet area of the spa: Once in "treatment mode", you can forget the outside world and just relax.
The rural peace and quiet: As we sat in the dining room by the window overlooking the lawns, a hare appeared, sat within feet of us and eyed us up for a few minutes before bounding away.
We didn't love
The need to get dressed to go and have food in the hotel: PH₂O spa does offer plenty of drinks, including herbal teas, but it would be useful to have some spa snacks on offer as well.
Anyone who wants a little luxury and personal service: The spa takes a maximum of ten spa-day guests a day, so everything feels very personal.
Anyone keen to escape the stresses of modern life: Staying at Park House is rather like being invited to a 1920s house-party with modern luxuries thrown in.
Sports enthusiasts who want to play gently: The grass tennis courts are just outside the hotel, and the golf course is nearby. You have croquet on the lawn and, of course, polo at Cowdray just down the road. Any polo widow or widower who has done their fair share of divot stomping can choose to hide in the spa for the day instead.
We gave the PH₂O spa at Park House a Good Spa Guide rating of 5 Bubbles. The spa is in excellent condition; it is warm and welcoming, offers good spa facilities, and makes every guest feel special.
Sybaritic Spy visited in May 2015 and awarded it 5 Bubbles
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Bepton, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 0JB
Light refreshments are available in the PH₂O Spa; afternoon tea is served in the Drawing Room; three-course lunches and dinners can be enjoyed in the Dining Room or conservatory.
Seven room styles available from Small Standard rooms to the Polo Cottage Suite. Room rates start at £135 per room per night.
7am – 9pm daily
There are no offers for this spa.