Our in-depth review of Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa will help you decide whether you should book this gorgeous Sussex coast escape.
Bailiffscourt by numbers:
- Around 4,500 people are searching for Bailiffscourt each month
- Bailiffscourt has won accolades for its sensational spa
- Bed & breakfast is from £250 and includes spa access
- 39 rooms set within 30 acres of gorgeous grounds
- This is a woman&home approved hotel
This popular West Sussex hotel garners almost 4,500 searches each month on Google, making it one of the most sought-after hotels in the south. It’s hardly surprising either – Bailiffscourt has a fascinating history, an exceptional restaurant and a stunning location right behind the beach at Climping. But what’s so special about it, and should you book it?
Our Digital Travel Editor Lottie Gross stayed at Bailiffscourt to scruitinize every detail. She’s sampled the restaurant, explored the spa and even delved into the history of the property to give you an honest, in-depth account of the highlights at Bailiffscourt. Here she reveals why this is a woman&home approved hotel.
Bailiffscourt Hotel and Spa: a comprehensive guide
W&H star rating out of 5: 5
Bailiffscourt exudes cosy, country house charm without skimping on the luxurious touches. Service is seamless and always with a smile, and its facilities are only topped by its gorgeous location on the West Sussex coast.
What’s the hotel’s vibe?
On first glance, this Bailiffscourt looks less like a five-star hotel and more like a well-lept small-holding where you might find sheep or goats grazing on the grass. Set amid manicured lawns, Bailiffscourt isn’t just one building, but several small houses interconnected by footpaths and even underground tunnels.
The intrigue doesn’t stop there, either – the hotel has an ancient feel, with enormous, heavy wooden doorways, leaded windows and medieval-style stone staircases. But this collection of pretty, golden stone structures was in fact built in the 1920s – more on that later – and so any expectations of history are something of an illusion.
With an old feel to it, the hotel does well to eschew a stuffy nature and instead feels like a warm and welcoming place to kick off your muddy hiking boots or let down your wind-whipped hair. Inside these seemingly old structures, is a fantastic luxurious hotel, with an exceptional restaurant and a warren of cosy lounges and fireplaces where afternoon teas and aperitifs are served at your whim.
In a word, Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa is dreamy. But it comes at a cost, of course. The spa is free to use for hotel guests, but if you haven’t booked a dinner, bed and breakfast rate, your meal might set you back a few extra pounds (three courses start from around £50 per person). Drinks in the bar aren’t cheap either, with a glass of local sparkling wine or a gin and tonic costing over £10.
What makes the setting special?
Any hotel with access to a beach gets our vote, but Bailiffscourt has so much to offer beyond its seaside setting. The buildings themselves tell a fascinating story of 20th-century folly and fancy. Despite looking and feeling medieval throughout, these houses were constructed in the 19th century and are a superb example of salvage and restoration.
Its original owner, Lady Moyne – wife to Walter Guinness, of beer fame – had a penchant for medieval architecture, and so when building Bailiffscourt she instructed her architect, Amyas Phillips, to salvage as much genuine medieval and historical material as possible. The result is a mish-mash of 20th-century construction with medieval elements, from fireplaces to windows to doorways. It’s a glorious ode to times gone by.
Add to all this the fact that Bailiffscourt has a great restaurant, lovely lounges for post-walk gins and a brilliant spa, and you’ve got a truly exceptional hotel.
What are the bedrooms like?
In keeping with the medieval vibes, bedrooms are fit for both ancient and contemporary royals, with gorgeous antique furniture and four-poster beds, plus the modern amenities you’d hope for in a five-star property. Think rain showers, double sinks and luxury tea and coffee making facilities with homemade biscuits.
Owing to the unusual layout of the hotel, the bedrooms are all quite different. We stayed in a Climping room in the main house, which had a gorgeous roll-top bath and a lovely walk-in rainshower. There was a table and a pair of armchairs for relaxing in the room, and the bathroom had glorious Temple Spa toiletries.
Top tip: book the best room in the house
All of Bailiffscourt’s bedrooms are beautiful, but if you really want somewhere cosy to retreat to, ask for a room with a fireplace. It’ll come with a fire starter kit too, so you can spend chilly evenings warming up by the flames.
What’s the Bailiffscourt restaurant like?
Bailiffscourt’s kitchen cooks up a sensational feast. There’s just one restaurant, but its multiple menus offer the variety of a trio of establishments. The Climping Menu (£53.50 for three courses) features all local produce including seafood and butcher’s meat made just a few miles away. There’s the Sussex menu (£68 for three courses), incorporating the county’s finest produce like scallops and partridge, and the daily lunch menu features mouth-watering light bites like chowder and vegetable risotto (£28 for three courses).
The restaurant itself is set in one room, all wonky walls and low ceilings just like you’re in the medieval ages, and it has an upmarket feel with its white tablecloths and antique tapestries on the walls. It takes on a brighter, lighter feeling in the morning when breakfast is served – there’s a buffet and cooked-to-order options – and there are options for outdoor dining too, either among the rose garden or courtyard.
A spectacularly indulgent afternoon tea is served in the rabbit warren of lounges stretching throughout the main building, and they won’t skimp on the clotted cream.
What’s the spa like at Bailiffscourt?
This award-winning spa is a real treat – and it’s free to use for guests at the hotel. There are relaxation rooms for chilling between treatments, lounges for reading or napping, and an indoor pool. The highlight, though, is the outdoor heated pool. In winter time, steam rises from the waters and regardless of when you visit, you’ll be treated to a swim with the sounds of the ocean crashing on the pebble beach beyond the hedgerows. Not many hotels can offer that.
Treatments are varied, with signature massages and floats from £100, and Champagne and truffle treatments from £132. There are facials on offer, aromatherapy massages and manicures and pedicures for extra pampering, plus a grooming menu entirely for men.
- Mediterranean massage; 60 mins; £106
- Express Power Facial; 30 mins; £69
- Detoxifying massage; 85 mins; £116
- Immaculate Manicure; 55 mins; £59
- Men’s facial; 60 mins; £100
What other facilities are at Bailiffscourt?
Elsewhere at Bailiffscourt you’ll find a gym, fitness studio for classes and a couple of tennis courts for hitting the ball about. Then there’s the gardens. You’ve got 30 acres to stroll around here – ask for a map at reception and follow the lovely woodland walk or cherry tree walk. Plus there’s easy access to the beach (follow the footpath behind the spa) for when the weather is good.
Is Bailiffscourt a good venue for a special event?
Absolutely – Bailiffscourt would be a stunning location for a wedding and the team there really can create perfection when it comes to a special day. There’s an on-site chapel for the ceremony, and the whole place can be booked out exclusively to host you and all the guests.
There are also private dining rooms for special events like birthdays or anniversaries, or they can be used for business meetings.
So should I book it?
If you’re in need of a coastal escape with a difference, book Bailiffscourt. This hotel has tonnes of character, plenty of things to keep you busy and even more places to relax. It’s a true step up from the traditional seaside break.
Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa: key info before you book
- Is it family-friendly? Yes
- Is it dog-friendly? Yes
- Is spa use included? Yes
- Is breakfast included? Yes
- Is there free wi-fi? Yes
Where is Bailiffscourt Hotel & Spa?
Climping in West Sussex is a tiny coastal village in the south of England. The beach here is all pebbles and no sand and is backed by green fields and plenty of footpaths for walking. Bailiffscourt sits right behind the beach – you can hear the ocean from the spa swimming pool – among its own 30-acre grounds.
The nearest train station is at Littlehampton and it’s around 15 minutes in a cab (around £12) from there.
Things to do near Bailiffscourt Hotel
Beyond days on the beach and coastal or countryside walks, there are brilliant pubs and cafes nearby and vineyards you can tour. The quaint market town of Arundel is a gorgeous day out just 15 minutes drive away, and the cathedral city of Chichester is less than half an hour by car.
You could pop to Arundel Brewery for a tour and tasting, or visit the Tinwood Estate where award-winning sparkling wines are created. Plus, Goodwood Estate is 25-minutes away by car, so it’s easy to explore its gorgeous stately home, go to the races or see some motorsports at the track.
All that said, it’s also perfectly reasonable to never leave the hotel at all…