The Park House Hotel at Bepton is a very well-kept secret, and until recently was only really well-known amongst the elite Polo fraternity, who use it when competing in the major tournaments at Cowdray Park, at nearby Midhurst, a tradition begun by the O’Brien family, who have owned Bepton house for over 60 years.
Since the days of the 3rd Viscount Cowdray International polo players have been encouraged to stay here whilst visiting England to take part in the Summer polo season at Cowdray Park. Michael O’Brien had himself been a keen polo player whilst living in India and his wife, Ioné, loved the game as well, so their close connection with the Cowdray family and Estate began soon after they arrived in West Sussex.
The hotel today is still owned and run by the 4th generation of the O’Brien family but has come a long way since the 1940s. It is now under the direction of the grandson, Seamus O’Brien and has been rebuilt and transformed into a contemporary luxury hotel with a wide range of country house facilities. However the ‘home-from-home’ atmosphere remains and is very much in evidence around the hotel with small touches throughout reinforcing this philosophy. Families, children and their guests are warmly welcomed, as are their pets.
Park House is quintessentially a small English, country house hotel, originally built as a farmhouse set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Located in the county of West Sussex in the heart of the new South Downs National Park, its very beautiful and truly peaceful rural location offers an unrivalled experience. The hotel is surrounded by excellent walks, including the famous South Downs Way, and there are riding schools and popular shoots nearby.
There are twenty-one luxury en-suite bedrooms, twelve of which are in the main hotel building and the other nine, in three separate cottages – Polo Cottage, South Down Cottage and Bay Tree Cottage. Nearly every room has spectacular views out across the hotel’s beautiful gardens and grounds and the rooms themselves are stylishly and elegantly furnished and appointed, as one would expect from a hotel of this standard. Click here to see Park House Hotel suites and rooms.
Within Park House, one can relax and unwind in the large and welcoming drawing room in the main hotel building which looks out over the lawns from its large bay window. Morning coffee and afternoon tea can be taken here and for the winter months, when outside pursuits are restricted, there are the more gentile distractions of a large choice of board games on hand and a welcome fire.
Moving through from the Drawing Room to the hotel’s Dining Room and adjacent Conservatory – which also looks out over the garden and croquet lawn – one takes breakfast, lunch and dinner here and enjoy the superb British cuisine created by the Executive Chef and his team.
Wherever possible, locally sourced produce is used, together with herbs and salads from the hotel’s kitchen garden. The menus change on a regular basis to reflect the seasons and available local produce. The expansive breakfast spread is particularly impressive and sets one up for the full day of adventure ahead.
Hotel guests can also relax and enjoy a drink in bar which overlooks the grass tennis courts and bowls lawn and has distant views of the hotel’s par 3 golf course. In keeping with the ‘home-from-home’ style, the well-stocked bar is run on an ‘honesty’ basis with guests writing up their own drinks. The walls of the bar are adorned with photographs reflecting the hotel’s long history, its polo playing guests and celebrity visitors.
Bentley Continental GT W12
posing in the Manicured Gardens and Grounds of The Park House Hotel and last but not least Lance who is responsible for their immaculate condition
The extensive beautifully kept grounds offer endless entertainment and pleasure. The hotel is set within ten glorious acres comprising a traditional English country garden complete with rose walk, ponds and rolling countryside to take a leisurely stroll in.
For the more energetic, there are two excellent traditional grass tennis courts, a large croquet lawn, a bowls lawn, a six-hole par 3 golf course and an outdoor swimming pool. The ‘games’ can be continued in The Barn, which is a beautifully renovated traditional Sussex barn which looks out over the beautifully kept gardens, by making use of the upstairs snooker room.
One could imagine the fun one could have with a group of friends or amongst family members competing for a prize at the end of a very energetic day partaking in the extensive ‘games’ on offer.
And to follow or as an alternative to the other pursuits, there is the Spa – completed at the end of 2009. The hotel has a superb luxury Spa named, rather cleverly, PH₂0 Park House. Its facilities include a stunning 15 metre indoor swimming pool, featuring a marble entry shower and a jacuzzi. Its luxurious facilities and exceptional service are of a standard rarely seen in the South of England. Having had a 55 minute aromatherapy massage I can only endorse this statement. There is also a gym with the very latest equipment, saunas, steam rooms and a foot spa, and four individual treatment rooms, one of which is a double, for a wide range of therapies. The beauty therapists use ESPA products and treatments. Click here to take a look at this exceptional Spa.
Park House is well situated being just a few miles from the historic market town of Midhurst, only 50 miles from Central London and 10 miles from Haslemere and there is a frequent rail service to London Waterloo. It is also well located for easy connections to London’s two international airports, Gatwick and Heathrow, and the Eurostar to Paris and Europe can be picked up from London or the Ashford terminal in Kent.
I am loathe to advertise the existence of this little gem of a hotel, nestling at the foot of the South Downs, and surrounded by wonderful parkland, but if you are looking for something really different in a hotel you must try the Park House at Bepton, because it is one of the best hotels of its kind, and it ticks all the boxes for me!
Park House Hotel, Bepton, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 0JB
T: +44 1730 819000
F: +44 1730 819099
Park House PH2O Spa
T: +44 1730 819020
Rebecca Coonan, Manager of The Park House Hotel