Having visited one of the Exclusive Hotels, Pennyhill Park, I really looked forward to my visit to the 5 star South Lodge Hotel in Horsham, part of the same hotel group. From looking at the photos, I could not wait to explore the beautiful manor house as well as the 93 acres of surrounding land but being the foodie that I am, a visit to The Pass, their 3 AA rosette award-winning restaurant was the part I anticipated most.
My husband and I checked into the hotel and were staying in the Earl of Athlone suite. One of my favourite moments of a hotel visit is when I step into the hotel room and explore all it has to offer.
This room had everything you could wish for and felt undeniably grand yet also homely. I loved the tasteful furnishings, colour scheme and larger than life curved tv screen above the fireplace.
The room also featured a very modern bathroom and an elegant roll top bath I could not wait to relax in after a long walk around the grounds.
Whilst out exploring the grounds it felt like we were very far away from the city even though it is less than an hour’s journey by train to London. Whilst on our walk it was great to go and see the developments of the new luxurious spa being built for spring 2019.
Exploring the house there were some wonderful rooms but my favourite by far was the room where afternoon teas were hosted, as pictured. A quintessential English tea experience in modern, cosy and elegant surroundings.
In the evening we visited The Pass restaurant for dinner where guests can look straight into the open plan kitchen as their dishes are being prepared.
I really loved this element of the restaurant and enjoyed how the chef’s all took turn in coming to our table to explain our dishes.
We opted for the 8-course tasting menu and were very much looking forward to the experience. Talented Head Chef Ian Swainson and his team delivered an exceptional foodie experience with exciting dishes like the smoky texas bbq pork rib with a pistachio crumb and caramelised honey bourbon barbeque sauce.
Duncan our sommelier was incredibly welcoming as well as knowledgeable and selected beautiful wines for us throughout the evening including a wonderful Gruner Vetliner from Austria.
An unexpected show stopper of a dish was the kimchi sponge with peanut sauce, spring onion and roasted rice. Very unique in both textures and flavours and unlike anything I'd ever come across before.
Then my absolute favourite plate was thin slices of lean rosemary smoked pigeon which was cooked with smoky red pepper pieces of charcoaled meringue.
At one point I went over to the open kitchen to view our next course being assembled. It was the Kombu aged duck breast, consommé, carrot and ginger puree and looked like a piece of artwork in the meticulous attention to detail of each element.
The desserts were incredibly creative too and I especially enjoyed the delicate apple, sprayed gold with rosemary cream and granola.
The final dessert allowed for your creative juices to flow as you were given a palate of edible paints and paintbrushes to paint whatever your heart desired onto edible paper. A brilliant way to finish such an imaginative and interesting dinner experience.
For breakfast we ate in a room overlooking the South Downs again and I really admired how the hotel really makes the most of its countryside views. The breakfast is a buffet style but you can also order a choice of freshly made dishes from their menu, I ordered the pancakes with bacon and maple syrup which were wonderful.
In terms of events, this could be the perfect venue for an offsite or conference with twelve bright meeting rooms, several with their own terrace, a video conferencing suite for upto twenty delegates and of course the option of exclusive hire for larger events.
It was a brilliant stay at the South Lodge Hotel, I only wished I could spend the entire week there. I really look forward to returning once the new spa has opened as the photos and plans look incredibly luxurious.
South Lodge Hotel,
Tel. 01403 891 711
Hotel photos courtesy of Exclusive Hotels Group, food photos all my own