Ashdown Park Hotel – The Finest of Luxury at the Heart of a Famous Woodland
July 17, 2018
Built in 1815, Ashdown Park’s luxurious neo-Gothic mansion house and hotel certainly is imposing. The estate covers 186 acres with many a hidden treat within.
A charming summer house, a darling chapel and dozens of romantic trails… If you please, you can get lost in your own little fairy-story, because, after all, it’s where Winnie the Pooh and his friends lived! Ashdown Forest is the setting for A.A. Milnes’ Hundred Acre Wood – the backdrop to many an adventure for Pooh and Christopher Robin.
We chose Ashdown Park Hotel in West Sussex as a pre-wedding getaway, a break from the headache of planning. It’s remote, spacious and the fact it’s also a country club gives it an extra luxe vibe.
We arrived on a Friday and from the minute we swept down the tree-lined drive, all green and lush, we knew it was a special place. A formal, hushed foyer greeted us and we were shown to our room with a Bloody Mary not far behind.
The hotel has a range of bedrooms to suit all budgets from deluxe bedrooms to master suites. All are beautifully elegant with country furnishings which are deacadent and luxurious – this is a place for grown-ups with taste. We were lucky enough to be staying in the master suite complete with four-poster bed, a whirlpool bath and stunning views of the forest. And from the cute little teddy bear and delicious chocolate dipped strawberries which greeted us on arrival, to the bathroom which was filled with Molton Brown Products, it was obvious the hotel isn’t shy with its complimentaries either!
The clientele were well-heeled and well-behaved. This isn’t a party hotel – more a place to unwind with excellent wine and to take in the splendid views from the sunny terrace. The staff were impeccably trained: helpful without being obsequious and knowledgeable about the wine cellar, in particular what savings could be had from the bin end selection.
Dinner at Ashdown’s award-winning Anderida restaurant was an elegant affair. The menu was quite classic, in keeping with the rest of the hotel. We had the Portland crab salad with smashed hazelnuts and apple mousse to start. Tasty and flavourful but light enough to save room for the main course.
To follow we had the smoked duck with currants. It was rich and intense – the portion size reflected this – with a lovely crispy skin. No sides were needed as it came with root vegetables and we were determined to fit in some cheese. The maitre’d recommended a full-bodied, earthy Rioja to complement our supper and this was perfect.
As well as fine dining and terrific views, Ashdown Park has a spa and a decent par three golf course. This place easily has enough on offer for a full weekend stay. The spa housed a heated swimming pool, spa bath, gym and a cosy terrace for light snacks. After a few lengths of the pool we decided on Coronation chicken and truffle duck egg sandwiches – with a glass of fizz of course.
To walk off any over indulgence there is miles of woodland to explore as well as a driving range. Ashdown is a popular place for weddings too and we were lucky enough to see one – even getting a peek of the reception area and the stain-glassed chapel before it began. In a few words: envy inducing for this bride-to-be.
The hotel offers packages which range from bed and breakfast to triple A star treatment and a whole events department who’ll gladly take you through their fabulous range of wedding packages – you’ll need about a year’s notice though…
If a restful, relaxed time with some old-fashioned glamour and peaceful surroundings is what you’re after, Ashdown Park Hotel has it in spades. Just take a look at the website if you don’t believe us…
Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Hayley Coyle