There’s something about staying near the sea. The sharp scent of salt, the clean, fresh feel of the breeze brisk on your face – and those wide, wide open skies. If you feel like you need a change of scene to blow the cobwebs away and set your ideas straight, there’s really no better than heading for the coast and staying a couple of days. Ideally somewhere luxurious with fine dining, cosy bedrooms and perhaps even a spa. And preferably on or near the beach. Not too far away from things though – we don’t want to spend hours travelling there. Let us introduce you to Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa…
Located at Climping in West Sussex, visiting Bailiffscourt is how you could imagine a stay with wealthy but slightly eccentric pals with a countryside pile might be. The luxury hotel is made up of a picture postcard-pretty Medieval manor house thronged with quaint thatched cottages, a miniature chapel and a charming walled courtyard with rose garden. And why of course there’s a croquet lawn and tennis courts – amidst Bailiffscourt’s 30 acres of private parkland. And just beyond, the beach!
However, all is not quite as it might seem at Bailiffscourt. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about creaky beds or cranky staff. The country hotel’s real secret is that it was only built in 1927 – despite its rather more antique appearance. In fact, it was designed for Lord Moyne – part of the illustrious Guinness family – by an expert antiquarian and architect. The buildings are made up of original features sourced from across the country, resulting in a property where Moyne’s wife Lady Evelyn could play hostess to the high society of the day. But enough history for now – come on, it’s time for a visit to the spa!
Sometimes a hotel spa seems like a bit of an afterthought: a few treatment rooms and a Jacuzzi do not consitute a spa in our books. Well, Bailiffcourt’s spa really is a destination in itself, packed with so many facilities that you may find it hard to leave. Inspired by the style of traditional Sussex barns, the light, airy spa features full length windows and a timber frame – it’s instantly both welcoming and relaxing. There are treatment suites aplenty, alongside a heated swimming pool, sauna and steam room, but the most exciting part of the spa is to be found outdoors. A heated infinity pool – open all year round – plus a hot tub bubbling away… We suggest ordering some chilled Prosecco pronto!
If you’re not putting the world to rights while luxuriating in the hot tub, the next best place to be is getting a spa treatment. To really switch off, we love a massage – and honestly the Mediterranean Sea Hydrotherm Massage is like nothing you’ll have ever tried. The hour-long treatment takes place on a flotation bed filled with warm water, which acts to gently cushion the body. Using aromatic oils, you’ll receive a full body massage, with the flotation bed helping you to relax and really switch off, while realigning the spine. With the rhythm of the massage and the gentle flow of warm water, you’ll drift off onto a deep, soft cloud of unadulterated bliss.
Time for a snooze? Oh no! Let’s spruce up for dinner – hopefully you’ve bagged one of Bailiffcourt’s four poster rooms? Perfect for an intimate weekend a deux – the hotel’s Feature Rooms are decorated in classic tones, with beamed ceilings and open fires as well as roll top baths and those dreamy four posters. Obviously there’s all the mod cons you might expect of a luxury hotel too: think underfloor heating in the bathrooms, excellent wifi and soft, fluffy white bathrobes. The hotel only has 39 suites and rooms, so personal details like delicious homemade biscuits really make a difference – you’re a guest rather than a customer here.
What’s that – the dinner gong? Time for a quick pre-prandial cocktail in one of hotel’s snugs while you peruse the menus… Three courses are fine, but really it would be quite rude not to try the Tasting Menu, which is inspired by Bailiffcourt’s coastal location as well as by seasonal and local produce. Changing regularly, highlights include a Climping Beach starter (crab, lobster, shrimps, oyster with rich, sea-scented seaweed butter) and a herb-crusted saddle of lamb served with a generous helping of Dauphinoise to have you wishing that there weren’t a further three courses to follow. Although prettily presented, they’re not bijou portions and paired with a complementary wine flight, you may be planning a rather energetic swim the next morning.
Which is exactly what you should pencil in to your packed itinerary while at Bailiffscourt. Not missing – of course -an early morning stroll along that beach, which is generally almost abandoned save for a few lonely dog walkers. Fine food, bracing sea air, an excellent night’s sleep and a massage; if that won’t make you feel brand new…
The Life’s a Beach at Bailiffscourt package starts from £499 per couple. The price includes an overnight stay for two in a classic room with full English and continental breakfast, one 60-minute spa treatment each (choice of Glorious Mud, Footprints in the Sand or Mediterranean Sea Hydrotherm Massage) and dinner in Tapestry Restaurant including the Climping Beach starter. For more information and to book, see the hotel’s website. From London Victoria to Littlehampton takes around 90 minutes with a further 5 minute taxi ride to the hotel.