South Lodge, An Exclusive Hotel & Spa – West Sussex

Location

A ten-minute taxi ride from Horsham Rail Station.  Trains to London around 45 minutes.  Close to London Gatwick and both the M23 & M25. Or arrive in style by private helicopter. 

What's on offer

5-star luxury country house hotel set in 93 acres, with breath taking views towards the South Downs. Secluded boardroom retreat for 10 or light filled conference suites capable of hosting events for up to 170. Ten further meeting rooms over three floors offering complete event flexibility.  Brand new spa geared to wellness and wellbeing with a clever corporate twist. Three unique dining options from fine dining to ‘flexitarian’ informality. Cellar wine tasting opportunity shouldn’t be missed. Eighty-four bedrooms (50 suites and 34 bedrooms) that ooze quality.  For VIP or speaker privacy book the Cottage.  Mountain bikes, jogging trails or croquet anyone? 

Why Book?

Because South Lodge’s pretty much got it all.  Extensive meeting facilities, great food options and a wellness & wellbeing spa complex which goes out of its way to offer services tailored to conference, meeting and incentive programmes. Exclusivity, privacy and security comes as standard without any stuffy pretence. Informal sophistication backed by professional and friendly staff who are there only when you want them.  All this and a great sense of space where the outside comes into every room and vice versa.  Perfect for a two/three-day residential retreat, guaranteed to leave you feeling invigorated even after the most intense meetings.   

STARTER FOR 10:

It doesn’t matter which member of the South Lodge team you meet; they all get it and do exactly what it says on the tin (or rather the website)!   Everyone “provides flawless attention to detail and homely charm in bucket loads.”  And it’s this combination which should propel any venue to the top of an event organisers shortlist of ‘possibles’ when it comes to finding the right place to hold a senior managers conference, Board Meeting or residential retreat.   

South Lodge understands what makes a good conference or event. They know from tried and trusted frontline experience what will and won’t work.  But don’t run away with the idea that this must mean boring, safe and predictable.  Far from it.  The sales and operations team are refreshingly flexible when it comes new ideas and supporting organisers who want to do something different from the norm.  All this professionally delivered throughout the excellent meeting areas, the three contrasting high-quality restaurants and particularly in the newly opened spa complex which impressively goes that extra mile to seamlessly integrate corporate event programmes to maximise the extensive range of facilities on offer.  

So, what really does make South Lodge special and an absolute ‘shoe in’ for short list priority status for your next meeting or event? 

WHY SO SPECIAL?

Investment in staff is now an essential part of any good company, whether this is in training, development or in the key progressive area of staff wellbeing.  Meetings, training courses and conferences are stressful, for the staff organising them and leaders planning the content.  And don’t forget the organisation that any delegate or team member attending has to think about.  Childcare, pet care, time away from the office, time away from emails are all areas that don’t always get considered. 

South Lodge has considered the important areas of wellness and wellbeing and have gone to great length and expense to incorporate this into their new 44,000sqft, £15 million Spa. 

It wasn’t long ago that spa leisure guests and corporate meeting delegates rarely mixed despite being under the same venue roof. A short swim in the pool before breakfast was about as far as it went for many delegates, before back to their rooms to answer more emails prior to the conference starting. But things have changed. And South Lodge is a shining example.  Through careful design of the spa areas, it is totally possible to integrate wellbeing programmes, a motivational workout at 07:15am with the hotel staff, a bracing swim in the outdoor natural pond, a competitive spin class for the launch of the new sales year, Pilates, yoga and meditation classes, for something a little more mindful, these are just some of the great examples of what makes South Lodge different. A clever case of wellness and wellbeing coming together, which ticks a lot of boxes in these days of increasing mental health concerns. 

So, is there anything The Spa at South Lodge doesn’t have Well no not really.  Leading Spa Designer Beverley Bayes really gets the idea of space with a clever ‘outside-inside feel’ thanks to being perfectly positioned to capture every minute of the Summer sun. They’ve invested in a 2,000 sq. ft gym, incorporating a TRX ring, outside workout terrace, dedicated spin and holistic studios.  A 22m indoor infinity pool with floor to ceiling windows has breath taking views over the South Downs together with vitality hydrotherapy pool, 18m natural outdoor filtered swimming pond (the first of its kind in the UK). Bespoke heat experiences include camomile and salt steam rooms,  futuristic relaxation pods emitting warmth, music and coloured lighting whilst giving a gentle massageThere’s a Barbers, a nail salon, calming treatment rooms, Botanica, a fresh all-day dining experience, plus extensive outdoor dining areas, perfect for early evening drinks and networking. Yes, South Lodge does have it all. 

“My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best.” 

Winston Churchill may have had simple tastes, but only the best would do for him.  Event Organisers won’t be disappointed at South Lodge (who have named one of their rooms after the war time hero) with the way they’ve created a dedicated meeting oasis.  Just a short distance from the main social areas of the hotel, delegates are hidden away, which is great if you are looking for peace and quiet, and seclusion a pre-requisite.  

High baronial ceilings, air conditioning that works and lots of natural light ensure delegates will not “nod off” easily in any of the 12 meeting rooms set over three interlinked floors. There’s a real sense of space and space to think with no chance of being crammed in to a room where’s there’s little chance to swing the proverbial cat 

Exclusive hire is a popular choice, but conversely you won’t feel either lonely or overrun by other clients if you’re just looking to book a small day meeting for 10 people. Rooms on the lower ground floor have direct access out onto the lawns which is a real bonus in Summer months.  Meanwhile, the six meeting areas on the first floor are ideal for break out or syndicate work when running alongside a larger event. Excellent AV throughout with the Bose Sound systems providing crystal clear amplification.  For those all-important Board Meetings where you need privacy and a dedicated high-quality video conference system, look no further than the Arundel Suite which has everything you need, backed by really special views of the countryside.    

The entire meeting space is super flexible and genuinely offers a solution for a range of different events.  ‘Ride and Drive’ car launches are very much at home with beautiful surroundings, great launch facilities and close to country lanes and the motorway network. Product launches and exhibitions are also popular because of extensive networking areas and close proximity to catering points. Talking of which, the iPad speciality coffee (yes really) is not only innovative but makes brilliant coffee as well!  Simply select from the vast array of combinations on the screen and within seconds, hey presto, you can enjoy the perfect cup of coffee. Very clever. 

Food Glorious Food 

Choice of restaurants.  So important if you are staying in a hotel and attending a residential event for two or three nights. And this is where South Lodge will give you a real problem.  There are too many options! 

When it comes to traditional fine dining, The Camellia Restaurant won’t disappoint, with its exquisite service and country house surroundings.  Mix it up on Day 2 in the small 28 cover, modern dining environment of The Pass where you’re right in thick of the action watching Chef Tom Kemble and his brigade close up. If private dining is more your thing, there are a number of rooms which will fit the bill perfectly offering seclusion and a sense of occasion.  Be creative and have pre-dinner drinks in the form of an exclusive wine tasting session in the cellar. Or if champagne and English Sparkling wine is more your thing, walk across the manicured lawns to the magnificent Pavilion where the views over the estate are to die for. 

And then there’s Botanica down at the Spa. Head chef Jonathan Spiers has created a Mediterranean influenced flexitarian menu using the South Downs as a larder for fresh and seasonal ingredients. Although not totally vegetarian, the menu offers an extensive range of plant-based dishes, the standout without doubt being the delicious Wasted Burger, made entirely from leftover ingredients Going one step further, herbalist Michael Isted has collaborated with Botanica to create a bespoke range of plant extracts that are uniquely integrated into a wide variety of drinks. “Take over the 90 covers for a corporate dining experience to remember, Monday through Thursday. Not quite finished. Summer months cry out for Alfresco Dining and there so many terrace and outside areas around the estate, guaranteed to get you hungrily back to nature and back to the wellbeing agenda. 

Check out meetingsclub’s video interview below with Danny Pecorelli if you really want to make your tummy rumble! 

GOOD TO KNOW!

  • Need a fiveminute refresher?  Take a trip around the walled gardens and see the amazing vegetable garden 
  • Book the ‘Mud Room for a truly special incentive prize that you won’t forget  
  • South Lodge offers a diverse range of team building events and activities.  Motorised sports, tank driving, giant football, dodgems, clay pigeon shooting and archery all in a dedicated 12acre activity field.  Or if wine tasting, duck herding and murder mystery grabs you, there is a plethora of further options inside or out 
  • Every bedroom is individually styled and designed so that no two are the same, with gorgeous soft furnishings, plump cushions and quirky furniture.  Plus say hello to Sophie the Sheep!    
  • Forgotten your toothpaste?  No problem the Spa has a great selection of natural toothpastes made in nearby Haywards Heath 
  • Take a trip out and visit the magnificent Petworth House and Wakehurst managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 

BEAR IN MIND…

  • For any meeting, event or spa experience you genuinely need to book early to get your chosen dates.  And this will become even more important when word gets out there about The Spa 
  • The Spa building is set a short distance from the main hotel bedrooms and meeting area.  There are of course plenty of guest umbrellas or arrive there in style and catch a lift on a stretched electric Tuk Tuk 
  • Staying for a while?  Unless you have the willpower of a saint and work out every day, you’re going to go back home with a few extra pounds.  The food offering is right up there 

ANYTHING ELSE?

  • Wine tasting in the cellar is a great way to end (or start) a day.  The excellent English sparkling wines are guaranteed to impress 
  • Lavender & Manuka, Romance, Memory, Support, Relaxation and Anti-Snoring.  Yes, you’ve guessed it, all pillows and all on the Perfect Sleep Pillow Menu.  Dial 0 from your room to select your favourite 
  • Want a trim or beautiful nails before you go home?  It won’t break the bank and the staff at the Ridgeview Beauty Bar and Grizzly’s Barber are really friendly 
  • Die and go to heaven.  The delicious Wasted Burger is something that everyone has got to try at least once in their life 

IT’S A WRAP – SERVICE IS THE SECRET

You can’t fail to be impressed as an Event Organiser by what South Lodge has to offer.  Flexible meeting space which can handle any type of event effortlessly.  A plethora of exciting dining options each of which are completely different.  And then there’s the Spa which meetingsclub believes is one of the best in the UK from not only a facilities point of view but because of the integration of the many corporate event opportunities.  But great as these important event elements are, they only truly work because of the staff.  Danny Pecorelli (see video interview below) Managing Director of Exclusive Hotels is a true believer that #serviceisthesecret.  His enthusiasm and passion is shared by everyone in the business with everyone “getting” the importance of service and service delivery. Make no mistake, South Lodge is a high-class venue without the stuffiness often associated with some high-class country house establishments.  Put it on your list of places to hold a conference, meeting or event.  You won’t be disappointed. 

Danny Pecorelli - Exclusive Hotels & Venues