Hilton Avisford Park
My guest and I had chosen a beautiful sunny Sunday to make our arrival at the resplendent Hilton Avisford Park. Our journey took us through sleepy Sussex villages and beautiful South Downs countryside to arrive at the former prep school that’s now home to the Hilton, just outside of Arundel. In fact, we were close enough to the town to see the town’s infamous castle in the distance, the turrets of which we glimpsed as we turned off the main road into a leafy lane that led along a winding driveway towards the imposing white building with it characterful sash windows and powerful, architecturally impressive facade.
With it’s fountain, modern sculptures and pretty garden, the first impressions here are great; the building is impressive, but the views beyond are the real ‘wow factor’ as the golf course, which envelopes the building, gives way to Sussex countryside at its finest, with score of wild rabbits and a few neighbouring sheep thrown in for good measure.
Swiftly checked in, my guest and I immediately headed back outside, keen to make the most of our (often limited) British summer and headed straight for the sun-drenched terrace at the rear of the hotel. With its rattan sofas, seats and dining tables; giant parasols and views across the garden, the terrace is the ideal outside dining and lounging space, and to really make the most of this, there’s a ‘Summer BBQ’ every Thursday , Friday and Sunday (weather permitting, of course). Guests can choose from a tempting selection of dishes such as BBQ Pork Belly with chilli and cola glaze; Jamaican Jerk chicken; or the popular Terrace BBQ Burger with chorizo, jalapenos and onion rings, all served with a selection of hot and cold side dishes and sauces as well as the chef’s (extra hot) salsa! And all for just £15 per adult and £5 per child. Aside from the BBQ, there is a comprehensive selection of salads, sandwiches, grills, pasta and light bites from the terrace menu.
Happily ensconced on our cosy chairs with a glass of rosé, it was from the latter menu that my guest and I opted to dine from, and soon after, our cutlery and sauces were delivered in a pretty white picnic basket, which only adds to the al fresco Sussex country ambience. After a few minutes of blissful birdsong, our dishes were served: a delicate grilled Salmon fillet for my guest, and a perfectly cooked fillet steak for me, both served with crisp fries, roasted cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and rocket, and with a huge dish of beautifully fresh warm garlic butter sauce. Not one to pass up dessert, especially when in such lovely surroundings, we also opted to try the lemon meringue with raspberry salad and the Eton mess sundae, both good options for a summer menu and the perfect end to a sunny day.
Keen to make the most of all the facilities, my guest and I decided on an early start and were more than happy to sample yet more food heading straight for the plentiful buffet breakfast that many guests had raved about the night before. With an abundance of options – hot English breakfast buffet, cakes and pastries, cereals and continental selections – there really is something (and more!) for everyone.
From here, we headed straight for the leisure club, but rather than make use of the gym and indoor pool we had a better treat, heading back over the terrace and gardens to the mint-green gates that house the heated outdoor pool. Relaxing on our comfy loungers in the early morning sun and taking a dip for a few morning lengths was the perfect start to the day. Continuing with our relaxing theme, we headed back to the leisure club for our spa treatment: an Elemis facial for my guest which left her skin refreshed and with a great healthy glow, and a back and shoulder massage for me – a blissful way to start the working week.
Aside from its beautiful location, stunning views and great food, it has to be noted that the Hilton Avisford Park’s true secret to success is its staff; from the time we arrived until the time we left, both myself and my guest were made to feel welcome by a close-knit and friendly team for whom nothing was too much trouble. Notable mentions of course for Millie in the spa, Zeba in the leisure club, Jo in the restaurant, and Georgia on reception, but for me the real star of the show was Tom from the food and beverage team, who, ever the professional, was able to deal with anything thrown at him with a natural ease and enthusiasm; he is a real credit to the hotel.
With a range of special events, dining treats, conferences, weddings and spa options, this family (and dog!) friendly hotel caters for all.
HILTON AVISFORD PARK, ARUNDEL
01243 558 306 I