Inside the stunning Sussex countryside hotel providing ‘the height of luxury’ for its guests
Ashdown Park Hotel and Country Club has more than 100 guest rooms spread across the main house, its east and west wings and in the Fairway Suites, just 200m from the main building.
And with a country club and two options for dining on site, it is the perfect place for a romantic getaway, family trip, or spa break.
The venue is set within a huge 186 acres of woodland and grazing land, giving guests the opportunity to see free-roaming wild deer, explore running trails and pathways and generally appreciate the beauty of the forest and the hotel.
The Ashdown Forest is thought to be the inspiration for the Winnie The Pooh stories written by A. A. Milne, and the hotel pays tribute to this with a display of artefacts.
My husband and I were kindly invited to experience an overnight stay in this pretty part of East Sussex – and from the moment we arrived it was clear this was a special place.
The house is stunning and when we walked into the reception, we could instantly feel the country charm. As we checked in, a bride and her bridesmaids were getting ready a wedding in the hotel’s chapel. The concierge told me the hotel is a popular choice for couples to get married in, and I can see why. There are picture-perfect nooks and crannies everywhere, and the whole place feels luxurious and comfortable.
It was a real treat to find out we had been given a master suite – the hotel’s top class of room – but there are nine classes of room to suite every budget.
To book a stay, visit the website.
The buildings are deceptively large and it was a reasonable walk to our room, but it was totally worth the wait. I felt like giggling when I walked in, as it was absolutely massive. It’s easily the biggest bedroom I have ever been in, and probably the nicest, too. Master suites are approximately 55-65sqm, so basically you could do laps of them and get an awesome workout (but I don’t advise that – you’re here to relax!).
The suites are also very well-appointed, with comfortable seating areas, a view of the lake and lawns or parklands, large bathrooms – many with jacuzzi baths, tea and coffee-making facilities including a Nespresso machine and plenty of Molton Brown toiletries.
We could happily have stayed in our room for the entire stay, but we wanted to use the country club and forest spa. Available for all guests staying at the hotel, it is open seven days a week from 7.30am to 8pm, and has a gym, pool, jacuzzi, restaurant and beauty rooms, as well as a relaxation room which can be used by anyone having a treatment.
The pool is a great size for doing lengths, and while the jacuzzi isn’t huge, we still had a relaxing time in there and made a few friends (hello to the lovely couple from Dorking there for the wedding – sorry we didn’t get your names)!
If you’re more a fan of relaxed dining, The Forest Brasserie offers lovely views over the hotel’s golf course as well as a menu offering salads, burgers and pizzas, among other things.
We had dinner booked in the hotel’s main restaurant, Anderida, but before that we relaxed in our room before enjoying a couple of drinks in the bar.
Ashdown Park also has several comfortable period lounges where you can enjoy drinks or an afternoon tea, all of which have views over the grounds.
At our reservation time, we were given a lovely table by the fireplace in the restaurant (which, as it was relatively warm, did not need to be lit on the day we visited) next to the pianist. I could happily not have talked to my husband for the whole meal, as I enjoyed the music so much. It created such a wonderful atmosphere and really elevated the whole dining experience.
And the food at the 2 AA Rosette restaurant was top-notch. Executive chef Tony Sanders has created a sumptuous menu full of dishes comprised of locally sourced ingredients. He said he focuses on getting the most of of his chefs, the produce and the stunning location, and it really shows on the plate.
Our starters of baby beetroot salad and walnut crumbed soft goats cheese packed a punch, while my husband couldn’t get enough of his harissa-rubbed lamb rump main course. My roasted courgette ribbons served with broad bean risotto made for a delicate but somehow still hearty dish.
And then there were the puddings. Our sticky date pudding and chocolate brownie with orange sorbet and cherries were so delicious. I could have eaten a bucket-full of either, but it’s probably best for my waistline that I didn’t!
We enjoyed a really comfortable night’s sleep in our giant king-sized bed, and in the morning I enjoyed another swim at the country club. I’d really recommend getting there for opening time, if you’re up early enough, as I had the pool and spa to myself for quite a while. It was such a tranquil start to the day and really set me up for the breakfast.
It’s served, buffet-style, in the Anderida Restaurant. In the light of day, you really can appreciate the stunning views from the restaurant space over the lawns and parkland. Tea and coffee is served to your table, and there is also fresh juice on-tap. We both enjoyed a full English, as well as fruit and pastries. It set us up for the whole day, and everything was so tasty.
We were so sad to have to check out after such a dreamy stay in this countryside paradise. So, before heading back to reality, we had a little look inside the gorgeous chapel completed with beautiful stained glass windows, and a little walk around the grounds.
It was the perfect end to a fabulous stay. We couldn’t fault anything, from the accommodation to the helpful staff. We really do hope to be back back again soon.
*The trip was gifted, but a dinner, bed and breakfast stay for two starts from around £270.