Park House, Bepton

Work was completed in July 2009 on a new luxury spa and extended accommodation at the boutique Park House Hotel, located south of Midhurst, in West Sussex.

This beautiful hotel is set in extensive grounds in the foothills of the South Downs, in the newly formed South Downs National Park and within a Conservation Area Village. It has been owned by the same family for over 60 years and over that period has been a focus for leisure and country pursuits for visitors to Polo at nearby Cowdray Park, shooting on the local estates or enjoying the stunning countryside and just relaxing.

The hotel needed to provide spa facilities to enable it to compete with the very strong local destination hotel market, to upgrade its existing facilities and to increase its bedroom stock.

The spa building is divided into two sections, the first comprising pool, reception, pantry, office and fitness area, set in a large green oak truss barn and its outshots. The walls are mixed stone and brick, using locally quarried stone form the Cowdray Estate. The extensive roofs are clad in hand made clay tiles. Viewed from the South Downs and in a Conservation area it was important that the building was of the rural vernacular to be deliverable.

The luxurious, travertine lined, high specification pool barn with its 15 metre pool leads onto a mezzanine relaxation area, accessed via a spiral stair overlooking the countryside. The stair turns around the signature piece for the whole development, a unique marble drum shaped shower carved from a 23 ton block of Carrara Arabescato marble, sourced, selected and designed by the practice. The shower is more sculpture than facility, despite its practical use and draws the attention immediately of the guest as he or she enters the building, creating a memorable and iconic feature.

The other section comprising locker rooms, four treatment rooms and further relaxation space, is constructed of local stone, set 1.5 metres into the slope and linked to the reception area by an oak lined stair and lift lobby. The “green” flat roof is planted with a mix of seventeen locally found grasses and wild flowers.

Internally, there are many pieces of furniture specifically commissioned and designed by the practice, including reception desks, display cabinets and a nail bar.

Externally a terrace leads down through new landscape to an outdoor pool and changing facilities looking directly onto the fields and woods beyond.

The additional bedrooms are located in the replacement of an existing cottage on the site. Built of brick, stone and dark timber boarding, the building is very much in the local vernacular in form and appearance. The side hung casement windows complete the cottage picture, but with the addition of French doors from most rooms onto terraces on the ground floor and oak balconies on the first floor.

A fine new landscape draws all the elements together to complete one of the areas best kept secrets, a South Downs gem.

The main contractor on this project was Lampard & Partners