Set in 120 acres of gardens, woodland and Sussex parkland, the five-star Alexander House provides the setting for a tranquil countryside spa break. Utopia Spa has a calming, Grecian-inspired interior, with a deep-blue swimming pool surrounded by temple-like pillars. Fittingly, treatments are from Mediterranean-inspired brand Temple Spa, with therapies on offer to soothe both your mind and body. Outdoors in the peaceful spa garden, relax in the hot tub.
The Alexander House Covid-19 update can be viewed here.
- Single sex facilities
- XXL robes available
- 25 treatment rooms including one double treatment room
- Steam room
- Indoor pool
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Experience showers
- Outdoor hot tub
- 2 relaxation rooms
- Hair studio and nail spa
- Fitness classes
- Hand sanitiser to be used on entry to spa
- Staff will wear appropriate PPE
- Changing rooms to be frequently sanitised
- There is a limit on numbers allowed for each facility and this is indicated on or near the facility
- Temple Spa
- Tri Dosha
Our Spa Spy review
Alexander House is an attractive red-brick Sussex countryside manor that was once home to English romantic poet Shelley. Set in 120 acres of gardens, the hotel does ‘country escape’ with aplomb - towering chimneys, mullioned windows and an impressive carved stone portico scream Jacobean grandeurl, while foor-to-ceiling glass; fresh, zingy interiors; and exciting Modern British cuisine keep Alexander House in the 21st century.
The Grecian-inspired Utopia Spa occupies its own wing of the hotel making it equally accessible for day spa guests as overnighters.
What's on offer?
Hotel guests will find the entrance to Utopia Spa at the end of an elegant arched windowed corridor just off the main reception. The large, light spa reception is vast, with neutral tiles, and attractive fuchsia, blue and purple chairs providing a pop of colour. We browsed the array of Temple Spa and Ila Products on display at the nearby boutique whilst waiting to be attended to.
After being welcomed and given a quick tour, we were led down a spiral staircase to the spacious and grey-hued changing rooms. Here you’ll find some seating, plenty of soft towels and ample lockers lining the curved wall to your right - accessed via a code and containing a fluffy white robe and slippers. The absence of a private changing cubicle can be solved by changing in one of five generous showers found on the far left, each containing L'Occitane shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Keep walking and you’ll come across a steam room, sauna and monsoon shower, a treat in a changing area especially if you’d rather not steam in mixed company. After showering, use the central vanity island to ready yourself for the day ahead.
The thermal facilities at Utopia Spa are top-notch - we particularly loved the wonderfully-hot hydrotherapy pool, with its six sections of bubbly jets and domed ceiling of stars; two swan-neck fountains provided some much-needed shoulder pummelling. Swim comfortable laps in the 15-metre swimming pool, with its imposing Grecian columns, black mosaic tiles and glinting lights, before relaxing in the small hot tub. Rattan loungers facilitate post-swim chill-out time – and you can telephone the spa butler for some pool-side hydration.
Don’t leave without visiting the beautifully landscaped Spa Garden with its raised Jacuzzi, and quirky hobbit-like barrel sauna. We wallowed in the warmth long enough to enjoy the endorphin-pumping outdoor cold shower.
You’ll find plenty of loungers dotted around the garden; hunt out the secluded – and rather special – private area containing four small hot tubs set on wooden decking to experience spa nirvana. Relax on your own patio set afterwards.
At treatment time, head upstairs to the pre-treatment room - with its curved leather beds and striking green/black bamboo wallpaper - and watch birds fly between the treetops over the spa garden. The grand post-treatment relaxation room is much quieter with 12 loungers around the edge. The room is divided by a curtain of long thin ribbons hanging from the ceiling that flutter hypnotically as you lie back and relax under a soft throw. Or curl up with a good book in one of two hanging egg chairs.
A gym, fitness studio and dedicated spa restaurant, Reflections, complete the long list of facilities at Utopia Spa.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Utopia Bamboo Massage (85 minutes, from £130).
My therapist, Aimee, collected me from the pre-treatment room and led me along the corridor to the low-lit treatment room. Aimee talked me through the treatment before leaving the room so I could disrobe and lay face down on the warm bed.
Aimee commenced the treatment with a welcome ritual: three deep breaths of Temple Spas’ eucalyptus-scented Breath of Life oil and a foot cleansing ritual. She then used the heated bamboo sticks, along with grapeseed oil, to work out the knots on my back and shoulders – checking the pressure as she went.
Aimee then moved onto the backs of my legs, stretching out the tight muscles in my calves and hamstrings. I turned onto my back so that Aimee could use the bamboo on the front of my legs, working up to my arms, hands and finally my shoulders and neck.
For the facial, Aimee applied Temple Spa’s In The Beginning cleansing balm which she removed with a Mediterranean-scented Glycolic exfoliating toner. A dreamy lymphatic pressure point face and scalp massage, using Temple Spa’s Repose night cream, marked the end of this sublime treatment.
Afterwards, my entire body felt incredibly soothed; my face, on inspection, was glowing.
Aimee told me to rest while she fetched me a glass of water before leading me to the relaxation room to continue savouring the post-treatment haze.
Alexander House & Utopia Spa offer a range of treatments from Temple Spa and Ila – Prana Vitality Full Body Massage to Champagne & Truffles Face Therapy - as well as therapies for pregnant ladies, those living with/beyond cancer and treatments designed for couples.
You can feast in your robe in the two-rosette Reflections Restaurant, accessed via the hotel or straight from the spa. The restaurant horse-shoes around its own courtyard; diners can enjoy views of the open firepit surrounded by olive trees and tall orange planters. Leather stud-lined chairs and dark wood tables create a bistro vibe, while design quirks (think wallpaper adorned with cutlery) add some flare.
On the menu: a two-course lunch of salads, soups, paninis or catch of the day, or afternoon tea with fizz. We opted for sea bream in lemon butter sauce which was perfectly light and fresh.
If you are staying the night on Sunday to Thursday, get dressed up and head to the rather grand 3 AA Rosette restaurant, AG's. As our visit fell on a Tuesday, we headed back to Reflections Restaurant to sample the dinner menu.
Our starter of duck’s liver with quince jelly and toasted brioche was the perfect pre-amble for the main event: a triumphant dish of Grange Farm Estate fallow deer with sweet onion, Williams pear and pickled berries. For dessert, my spa partner and I shared a rich and crunchy Manjari chocolate tart with crème fraiche ice cream.
We loved / we didn't love
The spa garden: Insta-worthy, Scandi-style, hobbit-esque… what’s not to love?
The relaxation rooms are sufficiently snooze-inducing; you’ll find it hard to peel yourself away.
The treatment: The epic bamboo massage left us feeling utterly knot-free and serene.
We didn’t love
The indoor pool-side clock wasn’t working, so we didn’t know when to haul ourselves from the hydro-pool for our treatment.
Who do you think would like it?
Couples: The hotel has a very ‘grown-up escape’ vibe: think Champagne lounge, fine dining and several private hot tubs. Sorry kids.
Countryside lovers: There are 120-acres to explore, and did we mention that the hotel backs onto 14-acres of National Trust woodland?
Jet setters: Under 20 minutes from Gatwick Airport, Alexander House & Utopia Spa makes a great pre- or post-holiday pit-stop - you won’t want to leave.
Alexander House has a brasserie-style restaurant, Reflections and a fine dining restaurant AG’s.
Six types of room available from Standard rooms to Suites. Rates start at £145 per room per night (single occupancy).
The spa is open Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm; Saturday and Sunday: 8am-8pm.