The lowdown You need look no further for the perfect, super cosy weekend bolthole. Under two hours’ drive from London, Bailiffscourt ticks all the boxes because you get it all here: countryside, beach, a fabulous spa and great food. Built in the 1920s by the Guinness family using medieval timber and stone collected from derelict 13th-century buildings nearby, the hotel sits within 30 acres of parkland just a few minutes’ walk from Climping Beach on the West Sussex coast.
The rooms The 39 bedrooms and suites are located in a series of buildings including the Medieval House, which is connected to the Thatch House by an underground tunnel. The Court and Coach Houses are opposite the main entrance, while the Gate House and the newer rooms in the Moat House and The Oaks are across the grounds. If you can, do book into Baylies - medieval in style, with tapestries, a four-poster bed and leaded windows, it still feels modern and the massive bathroom has his and her tubs side by side.
Dining The elegant Tapestry Restaurant also has a medieval feel with deep crimson curtains and cream mullioned walls. The menu is English with some French nuances. This is fine dining at its best, and the menu changes according to availability. We loved the Brixham white crab meat with chilli and fresh herb beignets for starters and the roasted monkfish wrapped in prosciutto ham with tenderstem broccoli and butternut squash puree for mains. Do also try the smoked salmon starter if you are fan – it’s smoked and cured on site and delicious. Puds are irresistible even if you haven’t got the space – we indulged in the warm chocolate fondant with coconut and chilli sorbet and cherry compote, which is to die for.
What to do Top of your list should be a treatment in the spa, which is housed in a modern, timber-framed building in the gardens. Choose from a massive range of treatments from British brand Temple Spa. A walk to Climping Beach, just five minutes down a pathway, is a must too, especially if you have brought your four-legged friend with you – dogs are welcomed with open arms here. Arundel Castle is also worth a visit. But best of all, we think, is cosying up by the fireplace with a good book and a pot of tea in one of many homely sitting rooms dotted around the ground floor.
The details Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa, Climping Street, Climping, West Sussex BN17 5RW. Rooms from £220 per night based on two sharing, including breakfast and full use of the spa facilities. To book visit hshotels.co.uk or call 01903 723511.
By Jeannette Arnold