Spa and Suites Okendon Manor, Cuckfield



The new build 2000m2 spa and suites designed by the practice, opened at Ockenden Manor at the end of 2011. The new development is located within a long derelict walled garden, home in the Victorian period, to accommodation and workshops for the gardeners tending what were in those times extensive ornamental gardens, greenhouses and kitchen gardens.

We received the following email in January 2013 from someone who clearly loved the building which for us is most gratifying to hear that our designs have given pleasure to the user.

“ I am staying in one of the spa rooms at Ockenden and the whole place is outstanding, I am not an architect or a designer, just a paying guest but I really like the design and functionality of the building, its a blustery week in January but even now it feels great to be so close to nature, wherever we are in the complex there is so much natural light and splendid views in all directions. thank you. “

The Spa is in the grounds of Grade 2* listed 17th century Ockenden Manor Hotel in West Sussex owned and operated by Historic Sussex Hotels. The site is set on the edge of the village of Cuckfield, within the conservation area, but outside of the Settlement Boundary of the village.

The steeply sloping site is enclosed on three sides with 18th century walls rising up to 5.5metres in height. The only view into or out of the site is to the west through a mature deciduous tree screen onto fields and woodland.

The multi layered building, much of which is set into the slope, is of a very contemporary design and is planned around a series of terraces stepped into the slope.

The architecture is simple in form and restrained in its use of a limited pallet of high quality materials and detailing. This principally inward looking development, reflects the containment and limited aspect of the walled garden itself. Transparency is a repeating theme throughout the building, allowing in natural daylight and providing visibility from all of the related pool areas, providing separation but not isolation.

The proposed use of the site is for peaceful activities, with the emphasis on low key leisure, fitness and well being. The spaces created, both internal and external and the design of those spaces in every detail, reflect a sense of peace and tranquillity, at one with the immediate pastoral setting.

At main roof level there is a private garden serving six large, exclusive and high specification luxury suites, each individually designed, providing additional hotel accommodation, directed principally at the spa guest.

In addition to the aesthetic and the mood of the proposals, there is an environmental principle, one that addresses sustainability and renewable sources of energy, making full use of what is available naturally.

Concurrent with the spa, substantial works were undertaken to the historic hotel building itself, to provide new kitchens, laundry, staff facilities, a new dining room and a new conservatory extension.

This is the third of Historic Sussex Hotels destinations with which we have been involved with a spa development. Ockenden Manor will give guests from all around the world, as it has always been popular with overseas visitors, an even more memorable visit.