Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa; A Gem In The Heart Of West Sussex
South East England is home to some of the most quaint villages and secluded hamlets which punctuate the Sussex coast. Castles, nature reserves and protected National Trust buildings captivate hundreds of thousands of tourists from all around the world each year. The county of West Sussex is home to Arundel Castle and boasts a beautiful village among its repertoire of must-visit locales. Not 15 minutes drive away lies the unassuming hamlet of Climping, home to Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa. Should you be looking to stay somewhere luxurious yet homely, historic yet contemporary but most of all, somewhere uniquely it's own, look no further than Bailiffscourt. Our Editor-in-chief, Annabel, recounts her experience at the timeless hotel.
Bailiffscourt is set on 30 acres of private parkland situated at the end of a quiet close just off Climping street which allows those looking for a peaceful retreat the opportunity to relax and restore. After I checked in to the Baylies suite, Bailiffscourt's signature room, I had about an hour left of sunlight and, following the map provided, took an early evening meander across the grounds.
There are 39 rooms in total on the parkland, some in cottages and others in medieval-style houses. The inspiration for the medieval theme across the hotel was borne in 1927 from the creative mind of Lady Moyne, the first proprietor of Bailiffscourt alongside her husband Lord Moyne. Upon entering the hotel, I remark how beautiful the oak entrance door is and was fascinated to hear from the concierge that it had been salvaged from South Warnborough Church in Hampshire and dates back to the 15th century. You can read more about the illustrious history of the hotel here.
Wondering around the grounds really enables you to have the best of both worlds. The sterility that comes with so many inner-city hotels I frequent is surpassed by the beautiful flora and fauna on display at Bailiffscourt. Coupled with the vast land that can be enjoyed, it makes a luxury weekend escape feel like just that- an escape. Dogs are allowed at the hotel so should you have separation anxiety like me, bring your four-legged companion along in the car with you.
With its medieval architecture, mullioned windows and tapestry-hung walls, the restaurant in the main house is a marvel on its own. The ambience in the restaurant was warm, personal and romantic. Head Chef, Russell Williams, prepared and exquisitely presented a colourful array of dishes for the evening- my personal favourites being the seared scallops with peanut butter and sesame purée, asparagus, parmesan crisp and rich scallop velouté and the steak Chateaubriand with crisp fried potatoes, grilled tomato, mushroom and béarnaise sauce. All ingredients are locally sourced, giving the menu an authentic flair. For dessert, the banana parfait with rich chocolate mousse caught my eye and proved to be an incredibly decadent way to cap an evening, I must say. Many compliments to the Head Chef.
Bailiffscourt comprises 39 rooms but most exquisite of them all is, in my opinion, their signature room, Baylies. Its high ceilings and spacious and medieval interiors made for a truly unique experience. Bailiffscourt is the first medieval-style hotel I have had the pleasure of staying in and upon entering, it was the Tudor decor, not surprisingly the chilled champagne, that rendered me aghast.
A vaulted ceiling, wood-burning stove, and an ornate four-poster bed decorate the space, along with heavy velvet curtains which shut out all light for those who like to lie in, uninterrupted. The bathroom is equipped with twin baths and both heated towel railings and flooring. The Baylies suite, like the grounds on which it sits, is tranquil and silent. The highlight of my stay in Baylies suite was sitting in the window after sundown, reading 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte, a novel which I am currently enchanted by.
Rest & Relaxation
The spa at Bailiffscourt is not only renowned for its treatments, but also for its unrivalled architecture. Built in the style of a Sussex barn with exposed timber frame, polished limestone and natural green oak, it has been the recipient of prestigious design awards. Clad with my book in hand, I spent the afternoon on a sunlounger, swimming and reading with trips to the sauna, steam room and spa bath in between. Of course, I booked myself in for one of their massages, the heavenly ‘Drift Away’, which I selected from the menu. I love essential oils, especially when used as part of a relaxing massage or in a steam room. A unique aspect of the spa atop which the treatments are performed are heated water beds which was so relaxing that I was snoozing away around the 30-minute mark of the massage. The spa is a must-visit should you be at Bailiffscourt if not for a treatment but to just relax in the peaceful spa surroundings and read the day away.
Bailiffscourt provides a wonderful opportunity for people to escape to the country and truly experience the meaning of the word ‘unwind’. My stay was sublime. I do not write about any hotel unless every word is true to my experience. Should you be in West Sussex, in need of a rest stop or perhaps are a busy city-dweller in need of recharging, Bailiffscourt is a historical countryside gem well worth a stay.
Stays at Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa are from £249 per night, based on two sharing a Classic Double Room, mid-week on a B&B basis.