Live like a queen for a night at The Spread Eagle
PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 August 2017
Zoe Paskett is pampered like a queen at The Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa, trying out their new signature treatment
This is Queen Elizabeth I’s wig room” is a sentence I didn’t think I’d hear on a weekend spa trip – or ever, really. But here we are, being shown to the Queen’s Suite in a countryside hotel that is most certainly fit for royalty.
The Spread Eagle Hotel and Spa sits in the Sussex market town of Midhurst, right in the heart of the South Downs. Dating back to the 1400s, it’s one of the country’s oldest coaching inns and with the low ceilings, beams, open fireplaces and slightly wonky floors you can definitely believe it.
It has a bucolic charm that many have tried and failed to replicate.
When those wonky floors have been walked by Queen Elizabeth I herself, why would you want to change anything?
As I sit in what is essentially a well-lit cupboard accompanied by the ghost of Good Queen Bess and her wigs (and, apparently, Guy Fawkes, Admiral Nelson and Shakespeare), I’m wondering why I don’t have a room like this – perhaps because I don’t have any wigs. Or extra space in my London flat.
A stay in this hotel and spa, only an hour away on the train or a couple of hours in the car, is luxurious to say the least. The suite has a four poster bed, squishy armchairs, a free standing bathtub with eagle feet and its own lounge area, and that’s not to mention the view out into the quintessential postcard worthy streets.
On arrival, my companion Felix and I decide to suss out the surrounding countryside before my spa treatment and come upon the ruins of Cowdray manor house and its beautiful walled garden.
When it comes to my spa treatment, Felix takes off on a run to explore further (see sidebar), while I engage in a much more worthy activity of lying down for ages.
The treatment I’m receiving is the spa’s new signature South Downs Soother – an hour and a half of decadent pampering with Temple Spa products. My therapist Vanessa brings me a cup of white apricot tea to drink while my feet are bathed, before moving me to the heated waterbed for my detoxifying body brush. I’m then fully covered in Glorious Mud and wrapped up from neck to toe.
In case my face feels neglected, I’m treated to a full facial, cleansed, toned, lotion-ed, serum-ed and lathered in a truffle mask, which is without a doubt the most lavish thing I’ve had on my face, made with black truffles, gold and diamonds – yes, diamonds. At this point, everything gets a little hazy as Vanessa massages me into a stupor. The next hour passes as I fall in and out of dozing.
When it’s all over and I’ve been peeled out of the wrap, I sit in the relaxation room with a glass of Sussex sparkling wine, reading and letting the moisturising lotions soak into my skin.
In the evening and after a delicious and utterly filling dinner – the twice-baked Sussex cheddar soufflé is the best I’ve tasted, and my Parma ham wrapped Hake is tender and meaty – I can’t resist sinking into my bubbling, eagle-footed bath before drifting off to dreamland in the traditional four-poster bed.
Up bright, early and refreshed, I’m trying out the spa’s gym facilities for a pre-breakfast workout – they’ve got all the essential equipment and it’s just metres away from a few lengths in the pool. After that, I’m sure I deserve the full English I devour.
A night at the Spread Eagle is enough to revitalise me – there’s just something about country air, sparkling wine and walking in the footsteps of a monarch that makes you ready to face the week.
After this weekend, I have a new mantra: if it’s good enough for Queen Elizabeth I, it’s good enough for me.
The South Downs Soother signature 90-minute treatment is £102. Treatments at The Spread Eagle Spa start from £49 for facial and massage treatments; Spa days from £129 for a Mini Indulgent Spa Break. Overnight stays at The Spread Eagle from £119 per room per night based on two sharing, B&B, with full use of the spa.