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Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa, Arundel, West Sussex
Stay at an enchanting hotel close to the sea, with medieval-inspired architecture and décor that transports you to another time. Unwind in the award-winning spa, take a dip in one of the two pools, dine in the wood-panelled restaurant and take a stroll around the grounds. There's a croquet lawn if you fancy a round or two, perhaps in the company of one or two of the resident peacocks.
Rooms available from £280 per night
There's a scrubby beach nearby at Climping, but your best bet is Littlehampton's sandy beach, a short drive away.
Visit nearby Arundel; its castle includes a Norman keep and you might even catch a battle re-enactment during school holidays.
By car: Bailiffscourt is 2 hours from London, 1 hour from Brighton and 2 hours 40 minutes from Bristol. There is free parking for guests.
By train: London Victoria to Littlehampton takes around 2 hours. From there, the hotel is a five-minute taxi ride. Book trains to Littlehampton.
CHARACTER & STYLE
There's plenty of history and atmosphere here: think stone arches, heavy beams, creaky doors, lattice windows and tapestry hangings. It's a bit of a mishmash but attractively so. The spa is in a beautiful modern building.
Staff are relaxed and friendly in both the restaurant and spa welcoming. There are croquet, short tennis and football areas in the grounds - and even a helicopter landing pad. The impressive spa has indoor and outdoor pools.
- Two swimming pools
- Tennis courts
- Beach access
- Free parking
- Breakfast included
- Room service
The hotel welcomes dogs at a rate of £25 per night per dog (up to two dogs per room) and recommends booking a Climping room or higher. They stay in the room with you and are allowed everywhere except the spa and restaurant. You can dine with your dog in the Courtyard or Rose garden or in one of the lounges.
There are more traditional rooms with heritage features, reached by stone staircases, whilst other rooms are more contemporary, yet with traditional décor.
Classic & Cosy, Climping, Climping Original, Sussex, Feature Four Poster, Baylies
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with tub, Temple Spa products, bathrobes, satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, phone, tea and coffee tray with homemade biscuits, hairdryer
FOOD & DRINK
There's an emphasis on local ingredients. Dinner, served in the wood-panelled dining room, looked the part but was not a highlight of our visit. The best dishes (from the Sussex menu) came at a supplement to the half board rate. The afternoon tea looked delicious.
The restaurant: light bites, fresh pasta, cream teas and a classy European dinner menu. Open daily for dinner, 6.30-9pm. Three courses £54.50. Lunch 12-3pm, afternoon tea 12-6pm.