Solo Travel: The Spread Eagle Hotel, Midhurst
After months of being at home with my family and a summer devoid of travel and our usual 2,500-mile road trip through Europe, I wanted to get away for a few nights on my own. With foreign travel still out of the question I opted for a few nights away in the UK.
First stop was The Spread Eagle Hotel in Midhurst. Cosy, calm and unpretentious, this hotel is part of the Historic Hotels of Sussex group, which includes The Spread Eagle Hotel, Ockenden Manor and Baliffscourt Hotel. Dating back to 1430, the hotel is one of England’s oldest coaching inns. It’s such a peaceful spot where you can relax by the pool, explore the Cowdray Estate and rummage through the lovely vintage and secondhand shops in the historic town of Midhurst.
Dinner for one
Bedrooms are characterful, cosy and well appointed, with comfy beds and fluffy pillows. Guests can relax in the communal areas dotted around the hotel and dinner is served in the charming dining room complete with inglenook fireplace. If you like Afternoon Tea as much as I do, book in advance as it’s a popular spot. The food offering is excellent with chefs using local produce from a whole host of Sussex suppliers. After dinner, make sure you have a nightcap in the atmospheric wood-panelled bar.
One of the hardest things during my stay was sitting on my own for dinner while couples, families and friends socialised together around me. I desperately wanted them to know that I had actually chosen to be on my own but didn’t want to announce it across the dining room. So I quickly finished dinner and retreated to my lovely bedroom to drink wine and watch a film without having to wrestle the remote control off a family member. Bliss.
Another huge drawn of staying at The Spread Eagle is the spa. Small and perfectly formed, there’s a beautiful heated indoor pool that’s big enough to do some morning lengths before breakfast, housed underneath a Scandinavian-style vaulted ceiling. Guests can also enjoy the jacuzzi spa pool, fitness suite and a spa treatment in one of the treatment rooms. I had one of the best massages I’ve ever had here. Unlike some spa hotels that can feel a little clinical, The Spread Eagle succeeds in providing a relaxing sanctuary that feels like you could be staying in someone’s private country home.
A midweek spa break for single occupancy costs around £259. That includes a contemporary, cosy double room, freshly cooked breakfast, delicious three-course dinner and £50 towards a spa treatment using Temple Spa products. Staff were so friendly and helpful and the hotel felt like an oasis of calm on my solo trip.
Get there early and leave late to make the most of the pool and walking in the South Downs National Park – there are lots of good walking and cycling routes right on the doorstep. Or just do absolutely nothing.
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