Roger St Pierre enjoys a wonderful setting for upbeat eventsMid-way between London and the South Coast, the hidden valleys and glorious upland heaths of the Ashdown Forest are justly recognised as ‘An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.
Amid all that wonderful scenery stands stately Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club, an outstanding venue offering a raft of corporate event and incentives amenities.
Ease of access is essential for a smooth-running event and this 106-bedroom property, although set in deepest Sussex, is in close proximity to the M25 and London Gatwick Airport is within an hour’s drive, given a fair wind.
Within the estate’s 186 magnificently maintained private acres, delegates enjoy the manicured lawns, secret gardens, carp-filled lakes, tinkling streams and enticing woodland trails – a magical environment in a region that inspired AA Milne and his adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin.
As well as a highly rated and beautifully landscaped par-3 18-hole golf course, features of this outstanding resort include four jogging trails, two all-weather tennis courts, a putting green and croquet lawns.
Today the epitome of a classic English country house hotel, this unfailingly welcoming venue started life in Victorian times as the home of a religious order. These ecclesiastical beginnings are evidenced by the gracious neo-Gothic arches and exquisite stained-glass windows that remain to this day.
While down the years many extensions and alterations have been undertaken, such works have always stayed loyal to the spirit of the property, which the long- since-departed nuns would still clearly recognise as their former home.
There’s a magical panoramic view from the multi award-winning Anderida Restaurant but attention is more likely to be focused on the plate, because the creative cuisine, based on superb local produce, attracts the eye as surely as the palate. The spacious terrace is a perfect stage for pre-dinner sundowner cocktails, weather permitting, - or how about rising early to watch the deer grazing on the lawns?
Roaring log fires in winter, sun-filled rooms in summer help make this an all-year-round resort. The 106 individually styled bedrooms and suites – some with four-poster beds – are elegantly comfortable, replete with all the modern conveniences that would gain a five-star rating rather than the present four, if only its Grade 2 listing would allow a lift to be installed.
Drawing rooms are equally sumptuous and perfect for one-on-one business meetings and networking. In addition to the main house accommodations, there are 12 air-conditioned Fairway Suites, developed with the corporate market specifically in mind and located next to the country club, where the Fitness Studio amenities include a large indoor heated pool, a sauna, steam rooms, spa bath, a gym and the latest cardiovascular equipment and resistance machines.
The award-winning salon offers a wide range of health and beauty treatments featuring Kirstin Florian and VitaMan products.
Ashdown Park boasts 16 fully equipped meeting spaces, along with syndicate rooms of various sizes. The baronial Richard Townley Suite can host banquets for up to 150 guests, while smaller private dinner functions are held in the Jacob Henniker Suite. Additionally, exclusive use of the Robert Heath Suite and the adjoining Fairways Suites accommodations can be arranged.