Wickwoods Country Club
PUBLISHED: 00:24 28 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:06 20 February 2013
Wickwoods, the country club, hotel and spa is in the middle of investing more than two million pounds on improving its facilities. Lee Goossens, one of the owners, told Simon Irwin that it is a vote of confidence in the future of the club.
When Wickwoods was still a country home it was sold at auction at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton in 1954. The particulars described it as being situated in a delightful sylvan setting close to Brighton and the South Downs. This is as true today as it was back then.
Lee Goossens, who is directing the development of the business on behalf of himself and his fellow partners, has a long association with the club.
I first came to Wickwoods when I was about 12. My aunt worked here in reception.
Now 47, Lee originally bought Wickwoods in 2000. He and his wife Vanesa had used the club for their construction firms Christmas parties for eight years before buying it.
Over a four year period we took Wickwoods from a loss-making, run-down business to a well presented and profitable success, although at that stage we never had the financial backing to realise the clubs full potential.
In 2004 they sold the club and almost immediately regretted the decision. However, the new owners couldnt make a go of it and so Lee and his wife, together with a consortium of business partners, were given a second chance.
Wickwoods was in very sorry state when we bought the club back. An immediate injection of one million pounds was required and we are committed to investing a further million over the next couple of years.
We want Wickwoods to be the premier boutique country club, hotel and spa in West Sussex.
As well as being completely refurbished, the club now has a new contemporary bar area, a suite of treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art spa complex, consisting of a hydro pool, steam room and sauna. At the time of going to press Wickwoods was a month away from opening its latest project, a new state-of-the-art gymnasium and exercise studio.
There are yet further plans for new changing rooms, an extension to the pool, indoor tennis courts, a woodland power-walking track and 12 more hotel bedrooms.
Lee said that the decision to invest had not been taken lightly in the present financial climate.
These days people are increasingly conscious of the importance of maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle, seeing this as a necessity rather than a luxury. They also want to be able to socialise and relax with other like-minded friends and family.
Wickwoods offers an ideal environment in which to pursue these goals and we are finding that, despite the current economic conditions, there is a very strong demand for membership.
Members can work out in the gym, swim, enjoy a game of tennis or just sit back and relax before retiring to the bar or bistro for a drink and a bite to eat.
Lee said: If you want to host a family event or special celebration, whether it be a wedding, an anniversary or a birthday, the clubs fabulous function room and spacious landscaped gardens provide an ideal setting.
If you have friends visiting from outside the area what better place to put them up than in your own club!
Wickwoods has seven well appointed and individually designed bedroom suites for which, as with all the clubs services, members receive preferential rates. If you want to buy your partner a special gift then there is a choice from a range of treatments, tennis lessons and personal training packages. The club regularly hosts dinner dances, discos and balls.
Other plans for the future include a Wickwoods members benefits scheme with discounts for members at other local businesses.
Localism is a common theme at the club, said Lee.
Our electricity and phones are routed through two Worthing-based firms, Dual Energy and 24 Talk.
We use neighbouring food suppliers such as Swains Farm Shop as well as local butchers.
Our laundry is done by Horsham & District and our printing by Storrington based A Local Printer.
All the refurbishment and building work is being undertaken by Hunters, our own construction and development company which employs only local contractors such as PHB, DG Pool & Leisure, CJ Electrical and All Weather Roofing & Construction.
Given the economic background it feels great to be giving something back to the community.
We are also involved in sponsoring a wide range of local causes and fundraising events. Sponsorship is a win win as it helps raise Wickwoods profile whilst supporting the neighbouring communities that are supporting us.
Lee summed up the immediate attractions of the club thus: Our staff are friendly and professional and the facilities both well appointed and up-to-date. We are very accessible and offer free parking.
All in all the club delivers a high quality product at a sensible price. In fact, Wickwoods is that rare thing: A genuine affordable luxury. www.wickwoods.co.uk