Rest for the wicked

As part of our season looking at some of the best of British breaks, this month Sam Harrington-Lowe checks into Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa in Climping, just outside Littlehampton

I’m not terribly keen on bailiffs. In my younger days, when I was less responsible, I had a few turn up on my doorstep and they’re not very nice to one as a rule.

So the idea of staying at a place called Bailiffscourt for me conjured up images of an ancient stern stone building with holding cells and portcullises; lattice grilles everywhere, and strict people with clipboards and an unbending attitude. But Bailiffscourt couldn’t be further from this.

Set in beautiful grounds – with resident peacocks – it’s a curious hotchpotch of the very old and very new that really works together. The main building, for example, is all stonework and low ceilings, wooden beams and four poster beds; whilst the spa and the adjoining bedrooms in the newer block are much more modern with clean lines.

There’s been some thought put into it though; there’s lots of wood used throughout and the spa itself has a Scandinavian feel about it. I bet Americans love it here; it’s got just the right mixture of being really old but having modern service and facilities.

7Y6A2522-(2)This is an ideal place for a reeeaaallly long weekend. Apart from its grounds, Bailiffscourt is located very close to a beach and the spa facilities on site make it a perfect place to just kick back and unwind – you’re miles from pretty much everything.

There are a few places to eat within the hotel grounds, from the smart Tapestry restaurant, which serves exquisite food in amongst its medieval architecture, mullioned windows and tapestry-hung walls, to the fireside snuggle of afternoon tea, and the dinner we had in the restaurant the night we stayed was extremely well-considered and delivered; beautiful food.

For those of you who like to know about food, I had hot foie gras on toasted brioche with rhubarb chutney and pea shoots, followed by John Dory with Jerusalem artichoke puree, truffled gnocchi and chard, topped with a quail’s egg; and – god help me – a light and gracefully-made pear tarte tatin with butterscotch sauce.

It was as lovely as it sounds – a gentle approach with some very well rounded flavours – the chef here has a sophisticated touch. There’s also an outside courtyard which is a stunning place for breakfast, although only in the warmer months.

it also has a helipad – in fact whilst we were making the most of the late summer sun in the outdoor infinity pool there were not one but two helicopters there, and we watched one rising from the grounds and circling around above us.

Very exciting it was. So exciting that we had to go and have a massage to calm down. And the therapists at the spa really know what they’re doing. Worth noting are the extraordinary massage beds we had – filled with heated water!

The treatment I had was called a ‘Drift Away’ and I really did. Not sure if the water beds are a feature throughout all the treatments but it’s really worth trying.

Actually it’s worth going to Bailiffscourt for the spa alone; there are two pools – inside and out, two bubble tubs – inside and out; plus steam room and café, and plenty of comfy loungers round the poolside.

2007-11-27-09.39It’s an utterly heavenly escape from the hustle of the real world and I could very easily spend a week there. It was mercifully free of children when I was there on a Sunday overnighter – and before you start, I don’t hate kids, I even have one.

But in a spa when you’re trying to relax? No thanks. I don’t want to know who can hold their breath the longest or who can leap furthest into the pool. I just want them to not be there.

If you wanted to get away from the rat race, kick back and relax in beautiful surroundings, eat amazing food and enjoy a relaxing but invigoratingly warm Jacuzzi outside in the fresh air, this is the place for you.

There’s good Wi-Fi on site, but not great phone signal and very patchy 3/4G – but my advice would be to ditch the phone and relax. Float away in the pool and forget the outside world for a bit.

Prices start at £299 for a dinner, bed and breakfast package in a standard room, with full use of all the spa facilities; but it’s well worth signing up for their newsletters as they do frequent special offers. The link can be found on their website.

Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa
West Sussex
BN17 5RW

About Sam Harrington-Lowe
As the managing editor Sam is responsible for all the Title publications and works diligently to develop the brand and support relationships with all partners and clients. She runs things with her dedicated PA Ms Alice Pickle Pug