Opened in February 2019 the Spa at South Lodge is a 44,000 sq. ft. exclusive luxury spa with a state-of-the-art gym and spin studio, indoor pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool and swim pond, a thermal suite, treatment rooms for members, hotel residents and spa day guests.
Set into the natural contours of the land, The Spa complements the landscape with a grass and sedum roof and green oak cladding. Designed with sustainability in mind, bringing the outside in and extending the spa out into the grounds.
Outside are terraced sun decks, an outside natural swimming pond, hydrotherapy pool and a dining terrace. Plus, The Watershed offering drinks, gelatos and light bites to enjoy poolside during the summer months. Inside features floor to ceiling windows in the gym, thermal suite and indoor infinity pool.
In addition, and open to everyone to enjoy, is the Ridgeview Beauty Bar and Botanica, a Mediterranean inspired restaurant.
- XXL robes available
- Family swim times
- 22m x 10m indoor infinty ozone treated pool
- 18m natural reed filtered heated pool
- 10m x 4m outdoor vitality hydrotherapy pool
- Chamomile infused sauna
- Aromatic herbal steam room infused with jasmine
- Rasul mud therapy suite
- Ridgeway beauty bar with 4 manicure stations and 2 pedicure stations
- Two all-weather astroturf tennis courts
- Comfort Zone
Our Spa Spy review
South Lodge is a grand Victorian, honey-hued manor house set in 93 acres of gardens and parkland. The grounds were created by 18th century botanist Frederick Ducane Godman, hence the botany-themed spa.
The spa is ultra-modern with huge glass walls and a wave-form grass and sedum roof. Follow the path from the car park through the gardens to the spa reception. Once inside, glance to your left for an amazing view of the South Downs. The spa was built to take advantage of its surrounds, with the pools and outdoor terrace all facing south to catch the sun.
What's on offer?
The theme of the spa is ‘bringing the outside in’ which it does via glass walls and outdoor terraces.
It also spans two floors with the reception, large lounge, Botanica restaurant, Ridgeview beauty room, boutique shop area and treatment rooms on the ground floor; head down the stairs for the changing rooms, gym, holistic studio, spinning room, heat experiences and pools. We were warmly greeted, shown around the spa, and handed a wristband to operate the locker and access the spa and outdoor area.
Changing rooms are stylish in dark blue with gold pendant lights, bright orange sofas and lots of good size lockers with names like ‘yew’, ‘fig’ and ‘elderberry’. Eight large showers are stocked with Pelegrims x South Lodge Vineyard shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Vanity areas are equipped with Dyson hairdryers, straighteners and well-lit mirrors, and are sufficiently spaced out for you to style your hair without bumping elbows.
Heat experiences include a large sauna with curved wave pattern ceiling and a glass wall, so you can roast gently while enjoying views across the Downs. The floral scent of the jasmine herbal steam room - which has a semicircle of blue-tiled seats - transports you straight to a Thai island. The marble-lined, menthol-scented salt steam room is hot and invigorating; cool off beneath the icy-cold bucket shower. All thermal rooms are large and comfortably seating 10-12. Sit on the long, mermaid-tail tiled bench in the centre of the thermal area and hydrate between heat sessions while watching people bubbling away in the hydrotherapy pool outside.
If time allows, swim leisurely lengths in the spectacular 22-metre infinity-edge, ozone-treated indoor swimming pool before relaxing on a grey rattan lounger, of which there are plenty. Early birds can swim with the sunrise from 6am.
Don’t miss a wallow in the large hydrotherapy pool with its massage jets and incredible views of the Sussex countryside; head down a few steps from here to brave the 18-metre natural swimming pond surrounded by loungers. Don’t be put off by the cooler winter temperature as it usually guarantees you’ll have the whole pool to yourself
You’ll find two areas in which to relax: a buzzy spa lounge with soft chairs and sofas on which to order, and sip, drinks, and a post-treatment relaxation area which is calm and quiet, equipped with beds and hydro pool views.
The Ridgeview Beauty Bar is light and airy with rows of pendant lights; a huge picture of the local Ridgeview vineyard graces the wall behind the double pedicure station. Jessica manis/pedis are on the menu, along with make-up and brows by Mii.
Active spa-goers will love the 200sq metre gym on the lower floor for new equipment, a spin studio and an alfresco gym. Or check out the new all-weather tennis courts.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Grapevine Face & Body Glow (60 mins, £125), a signature South Lodge treatment showcasing the new product range in partnership with Pelegrims, which uses grape leaf extract from the 19,500 vines in spa’s very own vineyard.
My therapist, Charlotte, collected me from the spa lounge and led me to a low-lit treatment room. Charlotte talked me through the treatment, asked about any concerns and left the room so I could de-robe and lie face-down on the heated treatment bed.
After three deep inhalations to settle me, the treatment commenced with a relaxing ‘facial for the back’ treatment: a deep cleansing exfoliation with Clarifying Exfoliant Powder with Grapeseed oil, followed by application of the Cleansing Body Mask. Charlotte then applied Grapeseed Body oil for a soothing neck and shoulder massage, using firm pressure to tease out deep seated ‘tech neck’ tension. A heavenly scalp massage followed to relieve any lingering stress.
Turning onto my front, the facial element began with a foaming Vitamin Boost Cleanser, a combination of tea tree, vitamin c-rich cherry and Pinot Noir grape extract to rejuvenate tired and damaged skin cells, followed by a spritz of Hydrating Toning Mist. A light exfoliation and detoxifying mask was followed by the application of Pelegrims Facial oil, with its subtly scent of fig and rose.
Charlotte finished the treatment with a slather of nourishing Facial Balm and a soothing eye cream. After a cup of Camellias Moroccan Mint tea, a plate of chilled grapes and a quick doze on a bed in the deep relaxation room, I examined my previously dehydrated skin: now beautifully refreshed and glow-y.
Post lunch, my spa partner and I took side-by-side seats in the Ridgeview Beauty Bar for a Jessica Deluxe Pedicures (70 mins, £60). Our therapists, commenced with a nail trim and cuticle tidy before buffing off any hard skin. Next, a bubbly lemongrass-scented foot soak, using Zenspa Awaken Revitalising Crystals, followed by a scrub and soothing foot and lower leg massage. Thermal heated booties on, we sipped our complimentary glass of Ridgeview English Sparkling wine feeling most pampered. Two coats of our chosen polish - an autumn-inspired deep purple and sparkly festive red - and our feet were flip-flop ready.
The Spa at South Lodge offers a range of massages, wraps and facials from Pelegrims x South Lodge, Omorovizca and Comfort Zone, plus a rasul mud room, bamboo massage and reflexology. Manis, pedis and make-up are delivered in the Ridgeview beauty room accompanied by a glass of Ridgeview fizz.
Botanica is the bright, comfortable spa restaurant where you can eat in your robe. On the menu: inventive plant-based dishes using sourced-locally ingredients and prepared with a Mediterranean touch, from brunches to large Tapas-style savoury plates.
We ordered a selection of delicious plates to share including torched mackerel with beetroot and apple salad, globe artichoke with king oyster mushroom, Serrano ham with superstraccia, pickled pear and chicory, and incredibly more-ish glazed garden carrots with garlic confit hummus. The salty homemade rosemary focaccia and glass of Ridgeview English sparkling were the perfect accompaniments, leaving us feeling full and content.
If you are staying overnight, book into Michelin-starred Ben Wilkinson at The Pass or Camellia Restaurant, where we feasted on a starter of BBQ Orkney scallop with courgette, pickled kohlrabi with lemon verbena; a pour of beef tea added the theatre - and even more flavour.
For mains: an autumn-inspired South Downs venison – cooked to perfection - with braised red cabbage, pickled salsify and blackberry. Our spa partner raved about her poached fillet of bream with caramelized turnip, squid and fennel salad. The Bourbon Cremeux with its mushroom caramel, popcorn and whisky ice cream rounded the meal off beautifully.
During the summer months, The Watershed offers drinks, gelatos and light bites to enjoy poolside,
We loved / we didn't love
The natural swimming pond: while everyone adores the bubbly hydro pool (and rightly so), the natural swimming pond has its own kind of magic; we loved our moonlight dip.
The food: from the imaginative plant-based dishes in Botanica (don’t miss the glazed garden carrots with garlic confit hummus) to the locally-sourced fayre in Camellia Restaurant, you’re in for a treat.
The design: sunken into the landscape, the spa has been built to take advantage of its South Down surrounds; the pools and outdoor terrace are all south-facing for optimal sunshine.
We didn’t love:
The little walk from the spa building to the hotel post-treatment; change out of your robe in the colder months.
Who do you think would like it?
Green spa-goers: with its sustainability credentials (a B Corp spa, no less), locally-sourced plant-based food and spa products made using vine leaves from their own vineyard (South Lodge wine will be winging its way to the menu in the future), you can spa in luxury with a clean conscience.
Besties: sip sparkling wine together as your toes get the VIP treatment, book the mud room experience for two or just hang out in the hydro-pool.
Solo spa-goers: super-friendly staff, amazing views and plenty of spaces to curl up with a good book post-treatment make this a great spot to spa solo.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded The Spa at South Lodge our top rating of Five Bubble Luxury. This nature-inspired spa makes the most of its South Downs location with floor-to-ceiling glass, while their sustainability credentials are industry leading. The staff are super-friendly, but professional; the food exciting, and the treatments luxurious and effective. What’s not to love?
Open to everyone to enjoy, spa goers and non spa goers, Botanica is a brand new restaurant where head chef Jonathan Spiers draws on the South Downs as a larder for fresh and seasonal ingredients. Although not exclusively vegetarian, the menu features a plethora of plant-based plates influenced by Mediterranean dishes.
There is an array of delicious choices throughout the day for all to enjoy. Guests are welcome to take a seat for brunch, lunch or dinner overlooking the stunning views of the South Downs. Botanica evolves throughout the day to suit your needs and always provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for any occasion.
Monday – Thursday 8am – 6pm with last tables seated at 5.45pm
Friday – Sunday 8am – 8.30pm with last tables seated at 8.15pm
For our spa goers who are after something a little more casual, The Watershed serve a selection of drinks and light bites for those relaxing by our swim pond throughout the day during the summer months.
With two award-winning restaurants and alfresco dining in the hotel, The Cellar, The Billiard Bar, lounges and the terrace for coffee or afternoon tea, and private dining rooms open to residents and non-residents alike, South Lodge has a dining experience and atmosphere for every occasion.
84 bedroom beautiful South Lodge hotel is right beside The Spa.
Weekdays 6.00am - 10.00pm
Weekends 7.00am - 9.00pm
Travel and Parking
Parking in the hotel car park
South Lodge is less than a 10 minute drive from Horsham, a pretty market town which has direct train lines to London. It is 15 minutes from Gatwick Airport, very close to the M23, and trains via London Victoria are 27 minutes to Gatwick (via Gatwick Express) or 50 minutes to Horsham..