If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that I recently checked in to somewhere very special with one of my best friends who is back in London visiting from Australia. As we rarely get to see each other, I wanted to visit somewhere so we could spend some quality time together and treat ourselves to a little R&R while we were at it.
The Hotel in West Sussex
As is always the way, I had never visited Sussex and then all of a sudden I go three times in succession. It’s an absolutely beautiful part of the UK with lots of greenery and open space. It’s not too far from London and easily accessible via train or car.
I’d seen Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa on Instagram a few times with lots of celebrities and famous people checking in. It’s a Jacobean manor with 120 acres of beautiful gardens to explore (which we did!). It is a 5 Red Star hotel with a great dining experience and delicious cocktails (try them, they’re amazing).
My friend and I travelled by train from London Bridge to Three Bridges, then hopped in a taxi to the hotel. Upon arrival our bags were taken to our room before us – a service which I love – so we could check-in and get acquainted with the hotel.
Our room was one of the gorgeous Garden Suites where we enjoyed a huge bathroom (with a walk in shower, deep bath and individual guest sinks), a huge bed (decorated lovingly with a welcome message) and a balcony where we were able to sip on a glass of wine before heading to dinner later that evening. But before we took full advantage of our room, we headed to the outdoor seating area of the 1608 Champagne Bar in the main hotel and sat in the sun and devoured a couple of cocktails. The Champagne Bar houses 145 wines and 30 hand-picked Champagnes. Utter bliss.
It’s a large, spacious hotel and even though there are lots of rooms, the guests aren’t on top of each other. We made friends with an older couple – who happened to be the parents of Love Island’s Joe Garrett – and had some nice chats about the area and life in general!
The Utopia Spa is an awarded 5 luxury bubble star spa. Unlike many spas I’ve visited where appointments are always limited, there are a whopping 25 treatment rooms including three couple’s treatment rooms so we were able to treat ourselves to a massage each at short notice. Treatments average £110-130 for 55 mins. I bought myself a 30 minute Indian Head massage (which helped to clear my throat chakra – something I’ve really started to explore over the past few months), and Laura treated herself to a full body massage. In my opinion, the Indian Head massage was definitely up there with one of the best I’d ever had. I was left with a sense of deep relaxation and felt dreamy afterwards.
At the spa, there are also relaxation lounges to wait before and after your treatment, a bespoke outdoor barrel sauna and hot tub, as well as an indoor sauna, spa, jacuzzi, and pool which was the perfect cool temperature. There is also a rainforest shower (which I just love for drenching yourself in cold water after the sauna) and a steam room. Towels, robes and slippers are provided – another added touch which I love at hotels.
As a skincare obsessive, I love trying new products, especially at hotels. I forgot to remove my makeup before heading to the spa but I needn’t have worried… At the spa there are Oskia and Temple Spa products to test and inside the changing rooms, there is L’Occitane Body Wash, Shampoo and Conditioner. Some I didn’t like but most of what I tried was really good, and I’ve already placed an order for the L’Occitane products online.
Inside our suite, the bathroom was filled with Temple Spa goodies – most of which my friend, Laura, definitely appreciated!
There are a few options when it comes to dining at the hotel. There is the 1608 Champagne Bar, Private Dining Rooms, Reflections Restaurant, a special Afternoon Tea and AG’s Restaurant.
Leading the brigade at AG’s Restaurant is Johnny Stanford, their new Head Chef who brings over 12 years’ of experience in Michelin-starred kitchens.
The 10-course experience Johnny has developed is captivating, with produce singing of the season and complex arrangements that bear the faintest whisper of nostalgia, presented with creative brilliance. It appears to be a real gastronomic journey and fine dining experience! Check out the tasting menu here.
*AG’s is open for dinner from Thursday to Sunday and for lunch on a Sunday. Cost is £150 pp with a flight of wine.
After our time at the spa we got ready (don’t you just love getting ready for a night out with your friend?) and headed down to the restaurant. The restaurant has a upmarket bistro feel with both indoor and outdoor seating. One thing to note, bear in mind the wasps during Summer in England if eating outdoors!
There was a full vegan menu as well as veggie options and menus for people like me who love meat. We went for a three course meal each and paired with the most exquisite bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc – so tasty, we had two bottles!
To eat, I had the Burrata to start with fig leaf and pumpkin seed praline. For main, it was a toss up between the venison (I was eating with a vegan who looked quite hurt at this suggestion) and the chicken. I decided on the grilled free range garlic and lime chicken fillet accompanied by a side of potatoes and roasted roscoff onion. Simply divine.
After our meal, we were so tempted to get a picnic from the restaurant the next day! We couldn’t fault the experience; superb food and excellent service. We want to give a special thanks to our waiter who went the extra mile with us too.
For the ultimate package, there is a package for the Garden Master Duplex Suite which includes 3 spa treatments per person, Champagne afternoon tea and more perks for £1,875 mid-week.
Rooms at the hotel start from £330 for a cost attic room, £445 for a spa suite and upwards of £500 per night for the Garden Suite.
Dog friendly rooms and gift vouchers are available. Throughout August there is currently an offer for 25% off (terms and conditions apply, see website for details) so there’s never been a better time to try out the hotel.