Hotel Review: Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa, Climping, West Sussex
Every girl wants to be whisked off to a beautiful hotel in the countryside for the weekend. And, thanks to Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa, in West Sussex, that’s exactly what we did one cold but sunny day in February.
Bailiffscourt certainly has the wow factor, from the second you turn into its long, sweeping drive. It’s like stepping back in time; a picturesque medieval village with a main, stone house surrounded by thatched cottages and pebble barns, rolling lawns and copses.
The seaside retreat is set within 30 acres of beautiful parkland with footpaths leading down to Climping Beach. The hotel is split between different buildings, dotted across the resort and linked by secret passageways, flower-lined pathways and enclosed courtyards.
One thing you’ll quickly come to learn at Bailiffscourt is that nothing is as it seems – and appearances can be deceiving. Despite having all of the hallmarks of an authentic, ancient building, Bailiffscourt was actually built in the 20th century, with work completed in 1935.
The medieval manor house – which is less than 100 years old – was built by Lord Moyne and his wife, Evelyn. They scoured the country collecting original stone, traditional doors and windows, and authentic fireplaces. The family loved the building until it became a privately-owned hotel in 1948, joining the Historic Sussex Hotels group in 1993. Bailiffscourt is fascinating and staff are proud of the hotel’s puzzling but unique story.
We stayed in the hotel’s premier suite Baylies. The vast room occupied almost an entire wing in the 39-room hotel. A double-height vaulted ceiling with exposed beams makes this suite the most grand in the hotel. Old, rustic doors creak with decades of stories and secrets to share, beautiful lead-lined windows offer glimpses onto the manicured gardens outside, and rich, opulent fabrics and furnishings cushion the room’s cosy vibes.
A regal four-poster bed stands in the heart of the space with a solid, wood chest at the foot of the mattress – while everything is in-keeping with the mock history of the house, inside is a touch of modern luxury; at the touch of a button a TV rises out of the chest! The bed is fit for a queen – and that’s how I felt staying in this room.
Snug sofas surround the stone fireplace and log burner in the sitting area of the suite while, through the door, is the suite’s crowning glory: a magnificent and ostentatious bathroom with not only his and hers sinks but his and hers roll-top baths!
Bailiffscourt has several cosy lounges and snug areas for relaxing, reading the paper and enjoying drinks. There’s also a games room down in the vaults, but it’s a real shame that the hotel doesn’t have its own bar. We enjoyed aperitifs and nibbles while we looked over the menu and after drinks in the lounge, we made our way through the labyrinth of flagstone-floor passageways to a dining hall fit for the most formal of functions.
The restaurant is like a medieval banquet hall straight out of Game of Thrones. Lit by flickering candlelight, we settled at our table for an intimate meal. I had a delicious risotto followed by a vegetarian ravioli dish.
The plates are small but packed full of flavour, and the delicately presented courses are in-keeping with the surroundings and fine dining service. The food was really enjoyable and staff were friendly but helpful. Unfortunately, the room was very quiet and, with no music, the atmosphere was lacking at times.
The hotel and grounds are beautiful on the most wild, blustery of February days. But in summer the country escape comes to life with the seasonal colours of sunshine. Kevin the peacock shows off his full glory and guests can spend midsummer afternoons playing croquet on the lawn or relaxing in the sheltered courtyard with a gin and tonic.
Bailiffscourt not only offers an idyllic weekend retreat but also a picturesque setting for a whimsical and romantic wedding, and the perfect spa getaway with the girls. The modern spa is a superb addition to the resort. The timbre-framed building replicates a barn with huge glass windows and a grand gallery-style vaulted ceiling inside.
If you think the indoor pool is enticing, then wait until you step out to the outdoor pool with steam evaporating off the warm water and into the cold, crisp air. You could spend hours bubbling in the Jacuzzi or calmly swimming lengths either inside or outside. There’s a sauna and steam room for those who like to toast and several calm, clean treatment rooms. I opted for a relaxing Drift Away massage and was treated to a soothing and invigorating treatment.
Feeling suitably revitalized and refreshed we set off on our way but one thing’s for sure – I’ll certainly be returning to this secret utopia nestled in the heart of West Sussex.
Double rooms at Bailiffscourt Hotel cost from £265 on B&B basis.
Address: Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa, Climping Street, Climping, West Sussex BN17 5RW
Phone: 01903 723511