By car, the hotel entrance guides you round the natural twists and turns of the gorgeous countryside. Hidden amongst the flora and foliage the grounds have to offer, the South Lodge, an Exclusive Hotel is a picturesque building moulded into the land. Before we had even stepped a foot in the door, we were impressed.
As well as a stunning first impression, the grounds offer an exciting future as the new Spa, opening March 2019, was concealed with enough hint of excitement in the background.
A warm reception
Upon arrival a grand spacious reception area welcomes you to the hotel. The wonderful staff behind the desk provided such a warm welcome. I was assisted with my bags, guided through the hotel to my room and shown the essential areas I would need to know. All of the features in the hotel are quaint and gorgeous, from the flowers on the window sill, paintings hung on the walls to the doorbell outside of your room.
A suite fit for an Earl
My room was titled the Earl of Athlone and I felt like a Countess. A King-Size bed sat centre of the room, beautifully decorated with a mirrored head board and the comfiest bedding – complete with Minty, South Lodge’s own fluffy mascot. As well as jumping up and down with excitement over the bed, a stand-alone bathtub sat proud with a stunning view across the hotel grounds. I couldn’t wait to get in!
The hotel had thought of everything, a pillow menu offered you an entire range of shapes and sizes for a perfect nights sleep, tablets offered room service at ease and a pair of slippers and robe awaited patiently for you to discover them in the bathroom.
Also I was spoilt even further with the gifts of sweet treats suited to my dietary requirements and a hamper full of gorgeous presents including my very own Minty to take home!
3 floors of luxury event spaces
Although I was ready to turn on the bubbles and have an early night – the wonderful Exclusive Hotel team had promised a tour of the venue’s many event spaces. As Event Bookers, we cannot recommend highly enough that you go and see the South Lodge for your next event brief (25 minutes to Gatwick and 90 minutes to Heathrow!).
To start, the Billiard Bar offered heaps of English history as well as being the place to go for a late night drink, the bar also offers snacks and small plates should you wish to begin your evening here. The Drawing Room was one of our favourites, complete with stunning soft furnishings and the room in which the hotel serves Afternoon Tea, it is a great breakout space from the rest of the hotel and a chance for guests to relax. Also, the Camellia Restaurant, a two AA Rosette winning option, offers an A La Carte menu and private dining spaces. The downstairs of the hotel is also treated to an outdoor terrace for stunning summer evenings and an Al Fresco menu – drinks on the lawn anyone?
As well as exclusive use, the hotel has a choice of spacious, flexible and bright meeting rooms. One of our most recommended would be the Arundel Suite – in a U-shape up to 20 guests, the suite hosts state of the art facilities with a purpose of video conferencing. Perfect for those international clients!
Also, we loved the Wordsworth, located on the ground floor – spacious enough for car launches and up to 180 cabaret. Patio doors lead out onto a sun-drenched terrace, where guests can relax with drinks or even enjoy a BBQ while enjoying the scenery.
Fine dining in the Wine Cellar
Once refreshed, we headed to the Cellar for an evening of fine dining and gorgeous wines. Complete with an Eno-Round® wine dispenser, the Cellar is an incredible experience for a small group.
Hosted by Head Sommelier, guests were educated on the 16 wines presented in the Eno-Round®. It was a chance to try sophisticated wines from around the world – including a white Chateauneuf du Pape. My favourite was a spicy German wine, it was hard to keep to those 125ml measures!
At the table, platters of cheese and charcuterie were served with delicious breads and quince, main courses were chosen on the evening between meat, fish and vegetarian and dessert oozed luxury and flavour. I cannot commend the hotel and its staff highly enough for its attention to details and most importantly, dietaries. The entire time we were looked after, the chef was highly educated with what he was serving and each guest was individually attended to should they have requested something specific.
Take It From Us
- BEST ROOM: I stayed in the Earl of Athlone, a stunning Junior Suite with a view. Absolutely blown away!
- RATES: From £185 per night.
- WHAT TO WEAR: Country Chic in the day to explore the grounds, Cocktail or Evening to enjoy dinner and a cocktail in the Billiard Room.
- UNIQUE SELLING POINT: The hotel's extensive history - it's full of it!
- WHAT WE LOVED: EVERYTHING. Particularly the stand-alone bath tub in my room with gorgeous views across the Downs.
- HOW TO GET THERE: 2 hours by car from Central London or a 40 minute train.
- REVIEW IN ONE WORD: Again!?
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