I love a good spa weekend. It’s the perfect tonic for truly relaxing after a hectic work week. What’s more it’s even better if I can escape London without having to embark on a massive journey to find a bit of solace. So, Bedford Lodge Hotel and Spa in Newmark (located less than an hour and a half train journey from London) was the perfect place for a bit of R&R.
Set within three acres of secluded gardens and adjacent to some of the most famous paddocks and training stables in the world, this 4-star spa hotel has an on-site restaurant and an award-winning luxury spa.
The hotel is contemporary in style and the rooms are typical of what you’d expect from a 4-star hotel – quite plain but with everything you need for a short stay, including complimentary Molton Brown toiletries. The real highlights of the hotel are the cracking cuisine at the 2AA Rosette Squires restaurant and the superb ESPA spa, which combined provide the perfect weekend escape.
The Spa at Bedford Hotel
Heralded one of the best spas in the east of England, this award-winning ESPA spa complex is a chic retreat. A muted colour palette of creams, sage green curtains, bleached wood floorboards provides a restful atmosphere.
Before we settled into our spa day, we started with lunch in the spa lounge. Lunch options include afternoon tea (with or without champers), and other light bites such as sandwiches and salads. We opted for the Eggs Benedict with Parma ham and a Coronation Chicken wrap, which were both nice.
After lunch, my husband and I each made our way to spa where we’d spend the next couple of hours relaxing before our treatments. The spa area has a vitality pool, sauna, steam room, and a relaxation room with a selection of comfy loungers and two welcoming lounge beds with draping over them, which lend a beachy feel to the décor. To help while away the hours, there are also a variety of magazines to enjoy while you wait for your treatments.
Outside, there is a small hot tub that can comfortably hold four people. As it’s very warm inside the spa, popping outdoors to feel a cool breeze on your face as you bubble away feels fabulous. On the rooftop, you can also view the neighbouring paddocks with the horse residents poking their heads over the stable doors.
Our spa treatments at The Spa at Bedford Hotel and Spa
After our lazy spa day, my husband and I went our separate ways for our spa treatments. My husband enjoyed a 60-minute personalised massage (£70) and I had the 60-minute personalised facial (£65), which starts with the therapist examining your skin to determine the best products for your individual needs. I selected my favourite scrubs and oils from the selection and they were used throughout my treatment.
During the hour-long treatment, my skin was steamed, massaged and moisturised. I also had a neck and head massage, which was so relaxing I fell asleep! There are a variety of spa packages to choose from, depending on the treatments you’d like to indulge in, whether it be a bridal weekend, a romantic retreat or simply a day for a bit of ‘me time’.
Dining at Bedford Hotel – 2AA Rosettes Squires Restaurant
Squires is a contemporary restaurant located within the hotel. Here guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in a classy environment.
The charcoal and dove grey dining room with its tapestry print arm chairs, large palladium windows and smartly dressed waiters is the perfect place to enjoy a sophisticated meal. Diners are spoilt for choice with two menus to choose from – the ala carte menu and the daily menu, ensuring that even picky eaters are certain to find something they like.
The cuisine at Squires
We started off with an amuse bouche of raw trout and caviar - compliments of the chef – which was a great start to our meal.
For our starters, my husband went for the mussels in garlic white wine broth, which were salty and garlicky with a bit of creamy goodness from the broth. I opted for the sweet potato ravioli with sage butter, which was gorgeous - each bite was a perfect little parcel of joy.
For our mains, the waiter recommended the Scotch sirloin and the Dover sole, which didn’t disappoint. The sirloin was superb and was served with a homemade béarnaise sauce that was seriously moreish and generous portion of hand-cut fries. The whole Dover sole arrived deboned and was light and flaky and accompanied by a rich butter sauce, which added a bit of flavour.
Although the dessert offerings looked amazing, we sadly didn't have enough room in our bellies to indulge (that’s got to be a first), so we gave it a miss. Next time, we'll ensure we save room! After dinner, we went to bed pleasantly full and tired after such a restful day.
The following morning, we headed down to Squires for our breakfast. I’m a huge fan of breakfast and the breakfast offering here is wonderful. Guests can graze from the continental spread which includes freshly baked croissants and pastries, fruit salad, thick yogurt with fresh fruits, cold meats and cheeses, cereal and a variety of fruit juices. I also ordered scrambled eggs and sausages (they were fab) and the full English that my husband tucked into also looked delicious.
Throughout our stay service was welcoming and friendly in all aspects of the hotel from reception through to the wait staff and the spa attendants. We thought the evening turn down service was a nice touch and they even brought me peppermint tea upon request, so I could enjoy a relaxing cuppa before bed.
This is a great place to visit if you want to feel pampered while enjoying great good and fabulous spa services without a long jaunt from London.
The Crab & Lobster features four double bedrooms (standard and deluxe), plus a cottage with two double bedrooms. I stayed in room number one directly above the restaurant. The first thing I noticed was the thick carpet and I couldn’t resist taking off my shoes to feel the sensation under my bare feet. The room is finished to a high standard with a comfortable bed, a mismatching deep sofa, tub chair and a bureau. There is an exposed beam almost in the centre so, I made a mental note to try not to clash with it. Sadly the opposite happened and I had only been drinking tea!
The room overlooks Pagham Harbour, a nature reserve, which I could have observed for many hours; but the long journey had made me sleepy so, I drew the thick curtains for 40 winks before my friend Jo arrived. The snooze in the darkened room did me wonders, even though I could faintly hear the hum of the diners below. However, a good night’s sleep was assured without the sound of cars or any other noise.
Feeling suitably hungry after my nap, I bounded downstairs and back into the pub. The snug room with its rich colourful upholstery gives a contemporary vibe to an otherwise ancient place. The low ceilings, warming fireplace and snug seating arrangements around the bar adds to its charm.
The menu, as the pub name suggests, makes good use of locally caught seafood by nearby Selsey fishermen; but there are also meaty dishes like Char grilled Premier Scotch Reared Steak and Pan Roasted Fillet of Pork wrapped in Serrano Ham. There is also a specials board to order from, which changes daily, and wine lovers can rejoice with a list so long it resembles an encyclopedia.
Sadly, I was unable to make room for a whole dessert, as I was stuffed from all the homemade bread and squid I had for a starter as well as the fish of the day I enjoyed with delicious seasonal greens. Though, when my friend's Stem Ginger Treacle Tart with Clotted Cream Ice Cream arrived, I was happy to help her finish it! Light in texture (and made on the premises), it provided a sweet ending to the meal.
The next morning, the waft of breakfast - especially the bread - had me jumping out of bed quicker than normal and I headed down to the dining room to munch on a small selection of cold food such as Dorset cereals, freshly cut fruit and yogurt while I waited for my cooked breakfast to be delivered. The fishy theme continued with smoked salmon and mackerel, but I opted for the fresh bread with scrambled eggs.
The Crab & Lobster is a restaurant where both visitors and the community mix in total harmony. The service was superb, efficient without being intrusive, and made me feel like I was in the company of old pals, so much so, that I am already planning a return visit. Perhaps this time in the summer so I can explore the peaceful surroundings of this part of the world.
A night’s stay for two at the Crab & Lobster on BB basis costs from £175. A night’s stay for two in Crab Cottage on BB basis costs from £290. Main meals in the restaurant start form £16.75, starters from £6.75 and desserts from £7.25.
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