Best hotels in West Sussex 2022: Where to stay for spa retreats and family fun

With the rolling South Downs, beaches and historic villages, West Sussex is the perfect place for enticing getaways. Yet much of the county is within an hour of London. There are plenty of places to stay, from elegant country houses to cozy pubs with rooms. You can opt for total indulgence with the best spas and Michelin-starred restaurants or use your base for coastal exploration or thrills.

Some of the best hotels in West Sussex are:

(Gravetye Manor Hotel & Restaurant)

Location: West Hoathly

Local produce complements Michelin-starred meals at this Elizabethan mansion, once home to a famous gardener. The contemporary glass-walled restaurant overlooks a fabulous array of flowers, some of which end up garnishing the delicious dishes.

The 1,000 hectares of Beyond Gravetye are further delights for horticulture enthusiasts, with Kew’s sister site, Wakehurst, and the National Trust’s autumn color hotspot, Sheffield Park, close by. For a more modest local alternative, The Cat Inn offers elegant rooms and a restaurant awarded a Bib Gourmand in a cozy setting.

Price: Doubles from £315, B&B

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This hotel is full of good food and drink

(Farmer Butcher)

Location: Goodwood

Want to drive a retro racing car or fly in a biplane? The Goodwood Estate sports arena is a paradise for gifts. Golf and skeet shooting are among the non-motorized activities on offer, and the hotel has a spa to soothe tired muscles.

Don’t miss sustainable dining at Farmer, Butcher, Chef – an impressive eatery decked out in retro finds ranging from fire hoses to flags. You’ll need to book well in advance, however, for the spectacular Goodwood Revival of classic car racing, which tops a packed calendar of sporting events.

Price: Doubles from £150, B&B

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The perfect place to spend a summer

(South Lodge)

Location: Horsham

The newest of West Sussex’s best destination spas is a huge, state-of-the-art affair in the historic South Lodge. A “wild swim” option complete with bulrushes is part of its three pools, and an array of other features include a sun deck, herbal steam room, dedicated spin studio, and vegetarian-leaning restaurant. The country-house-style lodge itself sits in 93 acres, and its 88 classically furnished rooms include suites with hot tub balconies.

Price: Doubles from £285, B&B

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Wake up on the beach at Beachcroft Beach Huts

(Beach Croft Hotel)

Location: Felipham

The adjoining hut-like suites at the Beachcroft Hotel have a lot of cheerful beach style. Living rooms with plush sofas and contemporary prints open to decks overlooking the sea. Double beds and bunk beds can sleep families of four, and dogs are welcome with treats.

Beachcroft is directly across from Felpham Beach (two bikes for exploring are included). There is also a small heated swimming pool on site. Alternatively, with day passes you can go big on the Bognor Regis canals from nearby Butlin.

Price: Beach huts from £415 per night, B&B

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Spend a relaxing weekend in this charming hotel

(East Walls Hotel)

Location: Chichester

This antique-filled boutique hotel occupies a Georgian building on a quiet street in central Chichester. Unwind in roll-top baths and hand-carved beds (upgrade to a Honeymoon Suite for a four-poster bed), or have tea in the walled garden, but save time to explore. Chichester Cathedral is a stone’s throw away. You can also walk to the famous Chichester Festival Theatre, from where productions often relocate to the West End.

Price: Doubles from £189, B&B

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Treat yourself to local seafood during your stay

(Crab & Lobster)

Location: Sidlesham

As the name suggests, locally caught seafood is the star of this gastropub with rooms. The attention to detail in the kitchen is matched in the elegant bedrooms where original beams add character. There is also an on-site chalet for families. Just beyond the gates, watch out for egrets – the Crab & Lobster is perched on the edge of Pagham Harbor Nature Reserve. Sandy West Wittering beach is a few miles away, where you can hire the pub’s ‘Betty’ beach hut.

Price: Doubles from £220, B&B

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Explore The Pig Vineyard

(The Pig in the South Downs)

Location: Madehurst

If you’re looking for a country getaway with Instagrammable features, The Pig’s newest hotel is calling your name. Rooms are spread across a Georgian main house, stable courtyard buildings and secluded shepherd’s hut-style ‘carriages’, many with views of the South Downs and the hotel’s nascent vineyard. The Greenhouse Restaurant highlights ingredients grown in the vegetable garden or sourced within 25 miles. Pretty Arundel with its medieval castle can be explored nearby.

Price: Double from £155 room only

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Treat yourself to afternoon tea at Ockenden Manor

(Ockenden Manor)

Location: Cuckfield

Heritage room or contemporary spa suite? The choice is yours at this ivy-clad Elizabethan mansion with a separate treatment complex. Admire views of the South Downs from the formal dining room or the stunning glass-walled swimming pool as you contemplate your next indulgence – perhaps a massage paired with local sparkling wine.

The village of Cuckfield is near Haywards Heath suburban station. Several wineries, National Trust sites and the bustling town of Brighton make day trips easy. Ockenden also has two sister thermal properties; historic post house The spread eagle to Midhurst and the madness of the sprawling countryside bailiff’s court near the seafront of Littlehampton.

Price: Doubles from £232, B&B

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This chateau has historic charm with a modern twist

(Amberley Castle)

Location: Amberley (near Arundel)

Can you imagine sleeping behind a portcullis and playing croquet under the ramparts? At Amberley Castle, you can live out those royal fantasies. Dating back to the 12th century (Henry VIII is among the ancient visitors), it feels part hotel and part Hogwarts. Think lattice windows, tall chimneys, and armor. Fortunately, the bathrooms are luxurious and modern.

The dinner is formal, creative and top notch. For a more relaxed indulgence, afternoon tea can be taken in the courtyard before historic diversions like falconry and archery. Practically, the village of Amberley has rail links to London and locally to Arundel and Littlehampton.

Price: Doubles from £285, B&B

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Richard F. Gandhi