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Trying out a new Park House Hotel wellness treatment

PUBLISHED: 12:54 10 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:54 10 June 2019

The pool at Park House Hotel and Spa (Photo by Matt Sills)

The pool at Park House Hotel and Spa (Photo by Matt Sills)

MATT SILLS

Simone Hellyer tries out one of Park House Hotel and Spa's new wellness treatments on an overnight stay

Nestled in the South Downs and close to historic Midhurst, Park House Hotel and Spa is perfectly located for those who want to escape the stresses of everyday life.

Park House was home to Ioné and Michael O'Brien until they transformed it into a hotel in the 1940s. It has been run by the family for three generations since. Perhaps it is because of this family connection that the hotel retains a home-from-home feel, which is amplified with cosy soft furnishings and an informal atmosphere.

I took my sister along for a night's stay and to try out some of the new treatments at the on-site spa. After a near miss with some deer on the drive up, we arrived in time to enjoy cocktail hour in the hotel's lounge and take in our surroundings. The main house is home to a large lounge, conservatory and the hotel's restaurant. Our large twin room was in one of the two detached cottages next to the main hotel. There is also a secluded six-bedroom detached house with a large garden and outside dining terrace that is a mile away from the rest of the property.

Our room was decorated in a country cottage style and came with a sun terrace that offered lovely views of the hotel's gardens and surrounding fields. It was also very conveniently located right next door to the spa. Guests at the hotel are free to use the spa's facilities during their stay, which include a well-equipped gym and a 15m indoor pool and hot tub decorated with beautiful mother- of-pearl tiles. Outside there is a golf course, a croquet and bowls lawn and heated outdoor pool. It was still a tad cold for outdoor pursuits on our visit, so after a quick freshen up we headed to the main house for dinner.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, while afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the drawing room or outside when the weather is playing ball. The executive chef at Park House uses locally sourced produce where possible to create seasonal menus throughout the year. Upon arriving at our table we were treated to a complimentary amuse-bouche of pea soup with a pastry top. We both opted for scallops for our starter, which were theatrically served in their shells and sealed along the sides with pastry. We both stared dumbfounded at the dish for a few seconds before figuring out how to get to the scallops within. Despite our earlier near miss with the deer we were both looking forward to some Sussex venison for our main, but it was not available on the day. Instead, and feeling adventurous, we both plumped for the hare wellington. I'd temporarily forgotten that wellington generally tends to feature yet more pastry, but I was too keen to try hare for the first time to let that stop me. For me, dessert was a melting chocolate pudding, while my sister opted for a selection of cheeses.

Weighed down by pastry, we retired for the night and enjoyed a sleep that was only disturbed by birdsong in the morning. We rose early to enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast and make use of the spa's facilities before our pre-booked treatments.

The spa has recently introduced four wellness therapy treatments to its menu that use carefully selected products to target skin-related side effects caused by treatments and strong medication. On the new treatments spa manager Maeva Imber says: "We are delighted to be the first spa in Sussex to be offering these specialist wellness therapies and to be working with one of the world's leading skin care specialists for the benefit of our members, clients and anyone who would like to experience their healing properties."

I opted for the Phytocare Baobab Body Ritual, which included a full body exfoliation, soft touch body and scalp massage with baobab oil. Cold White Onyx ritual stones are used on the face during the treatment and are said to relieve headaches, nausea and sensitive or irritated skin. Hot Obsidian stones are used on the body to boost blood flow and improve the oxygenation of tissue. The treatment is suitable for people who have had oncology treatment or who have been using strong medication that may have caused skin conditions like extreme dryness, irritation, radiodermatitis (caused by radiotherapy), hyperpigmentation, sensitivity and sallow colour. I sometimes suffer with hyperpigmentation because of psorasis, so I had high hopes of this treatment giving my skin a pick-me-up. The products certainly did make my skin feel smooth and well-nourished, while the massage and hot stones helped me to de-stress.

Other wellness therapy treatments are a Rose and Harmony facial, Aloe and Mint Cooling body treatment and Calming Hand, Foot and Scalp treatment. My sister opted for a treatment using a melted candle as the oil for a full body massage to both hydrate the skin and relieve tension. Afterwards it was declared to be cocktail hour again, so we headed to the conservatory to have one for the road.

The Wellness Therapy - Phytocare Baobab Body Ritual is £95 for 90 minutes; the Caudalie Fleur de Vigne Candle Massage is £70 for 60 minutes; accommodation starts at £165 for a standard B&B; parkhousehotel.com

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