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Alexander House and Utopia Spa – A Luxury Hotel in the Heart of West Sussex

alexander house and utopia spa

On a cold and typically wet Bank Holiday weekend, a few friends and I were glad we had booked ourselves into the Alexander House and Utopia Spa for the day. Set in 120 acres of mature gardens in West Sussex, the House itself dates back to the 17th century and is a grand Jacobean Manor House where Mary Shelley once lived.

Alexander House is a 5-star luxury hotel, featuring 57 luxurious rooms and suites, all with a blend of contemporary design and historic charm. The hotel has multiple dining options, including the fine-dining AG’s Restaurant, which focuses on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, and a more relaxed dining experience at Reflections Restaurant.

Alexander House & Utopia Spa

a corridor with stone flooring and spa entrance
Entrance to the Utopia Spa

However, we were there purely to enjoy a day at the Utopia Spa. The Spa sits in the centre of Alexander House, turning right after walking through the grand reception and down a stone-clad corridor with pillars. We were warmly greeted by a large reception area, complete with free tea and coffee, flap jacks and staff ready to hand over our bath robes and towels for the day. I felt instantly relaxed.

We chose a £180 package which included 6 hours of use of the spa facilities, an hour massage and afternoon tea in one of the restaurants. We instantly headed downstairs to the changing rooms to jump in a hot tub after a 40-minute drive in the pouring rain. You know, that kind of English rain that seems to permeate your skin and can be hard to shake off.

Utopia Spa Facilities

a swimming pool with white columns and a waterfall
The main pool at Utopia Spa

The main indoor pool is surrounded by white columns with a waterfall feature flowing into it. It was a soft and calming atmosphere, which was complemented by the elegant columns and a subdued colour palette.

Next to it is a large bubble pool, with private little “booths” that many couples were enjoying. It was a bit of a squeeze for us 4, and we managed to ruin the serene scene when one of the powerful water jets (for massaging your back, I think!) started suddenly whilst my friend was sitting directly underneath.

There are sun beds and chairs around the pool area, but unfortunately, because it was extremely busy (being a Bank Holiday Monday), there wasn’t anywhere to put our towels, or to sit down and relax. So we decided to head outside to the hot tub, in the never-ending downpour.

Outside

an outdoor hot tub with cypress trees lining a path

Now, on a warm Spring day, I could imagine the outdoor area of the Utopia Spa would be a very pleasant place to be. There is a stone path, surrounded by Cypress trees, leading down to the hot tub which gives it a wonderful Mediterranean vibe. At least, I can imagine that’s what it would feel like if the sun was shining.

a barrel hot tub in trees

We ran to the hot tub and jumped in. It was cold. Okay, we thought, maybe it just needs a little time to warm up. So we persevered and laughed whilst the rain came down vertically. Next to the hot tub, there is a barrel sauna, lots of sun beds and a BBQ area. We didn’t last long before we decided to head back indoors.

Sauna

There is a sauna in each changing room, so we spent a good half an hour there. I’m not sure how I feel about Sauna’s in separate male/female changing rooms. Great if you’re there with friends, not so great if you’re there as a couple. Although, after spending 6 hours in a Spa with your spouse, you might be glad of an escape… 🙂

Relaxation Rooms

the relaxation lounge at Alexander House

There are 2 relaxation rooms at the Utopia Spa. Armed with a latte, I headed in there with a book, but as we were the only people in there, we ended up having a good natter instead. Time sped by and before we knew it, it was 1 pm and time for our treatments.

Treatment Rooms

The treatment rooms are upstairs from the main reception. There are lots of seats where you can wait until you’re called up to a treatment room. I went with the Oskia Indulgent Face, Head & Shoulders Ritual and I highly recommend it. I’m not normally a huge fan of massages, I hate awkward silences and find I make nervous chatter, but my masseuse was fabulous and I felt totally relaxed.

You can choose numerous different treatments such as;

  • Oskia Luxury Body & Face Ritual
  • Utopia Hot Stone Massage
  • Swedish Massage
  • Indian Head Massage
  • Oskia Warm Oil Massage
  • Reflexology Treatment
  • Manicures and Pedicures
  • Temple Spa Body Scrub

Feeling completely rested, we headed back to the relaxation lounge, where one of the Alexander House Staff brought in some Mango Sorbet. We knew time was ticking, and I wanted to use the facilities again, but I thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet and time out.

Afternoon Tea

a room with bright pink sofas and a chandelier
The Drawing Room

We decided to have afternoon tea at 3 pm, once we had used all the facilities and got showered and dressed. You can have afternoon tea in the Spa itself, still wearing your robe, but I wanted to explore the Hotel a little more and enjoy a quintessentially British scone with cream and jam in the drawing room. We weren’t disappointed.

We were seated by a bay window, looking out onto the gardens, and were greeted by a waitress to take our drink orders. I went for a latte, whilst my friends settled for a glass of bubbly.

afternoon tea with cakes

The afternoon tea consisted of a three-tier cake stand, with mini cakes, sandwiches with cheese and pickle, ham and mustard and trout, and the all-important warm scones with clotted cream and jam. There was more than enough for all of us to share and after stuffing ourselves with cake, we asked for a cake box to take home what we couldn’t eat.

I managed to drop a custard flan on the floor and my friend laughed out loud, spilling her herbal tea all down her pink top. It was at that point that we decided we’d had a wonderful day and it was probably time to call it a day and head back to our husbands and kids.

a grand hallway with piano

We had a quick nosey around the rest of Alexander House and the gardens before we headed home. My favourite part had to be the grand staircase with piano, and the private bar with a huge inglenook fireplace at the back of the luxury hotel. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to spend time in there on a cold winter’s day with a roaring fire.

sofas around a large inglenook fireplace
seating areas around a large bookcase

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Alexander House and Utopia Spa. As with most places, there will always be a few things they could improve – lack of seating in the spa on a cold, wet day (although, as I said earlier, we did choose one of the busiest days to go), and perhaps turn the temperature up a bit on the hot tubs and saunas.

Alexander House and gardens.

I will definitely go back, but would probably opt to stay in the hotel as well to get the full experience. It really is a bit of luxury in the heart of Sussex.

If you fancy checking out our other posts about Luxury Hotels, see below.

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