Spread Eagles is former timbered coach-house in the historic Sussex town of Midhurst with walls that have been standing for around 700 years. It still retains delightfully creaky stairs and interesting nooks and crannies that harbour old manuscripts, antiques and even a suit of armour – all testament to its longevity.
Indeed, the lounge-cum-bar and restaurant has a lovely original inglenook fireplace and old oak beams from which linen covered pudding pots hang. Inside are Christmas puddings, some dating back 200 years – it’s the hotel’s yuletide tradition that guests are given two Christmas puddings, one to eat and the other to leave dangling until their next visit.
Over the years, the hotel has been frequented by Elizabeth 1st, Nelson and even Shakespeare, and has acquired enough heritage to be awarded plenty of poetic licence to be as quirky as it likes.
There are only 37 bedrooms some located in this warren-like format where some corridors have creaky floorboards, and bedrooms have heavy wood doors. In contrast, the new section, including a pleasant conservatory and pretty spa has a contemporary look and feel.
Couples looking for a little bit of time out and to explore the nearby Sussex Downs – or perhaps a quiet hen party who would enjoy the spa.
Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining room or the conservatory. Lashings of morning light brings the conservatory alive and sitting there reading the papers with a cup of coffee is quite delightful. There is a cooked full English breakfast available and various muesllis and pastries. I opted for a simple but well-blended porridge, which in my view is always the sign of a good hotel.
The standard room I stayed in had pretty prints, high four-poster bed that I had to climb onto to get into, wood floors, heavy doors, antique furniture and spacious bathrooms.
The Queen’s suite is quite delightful, named in honour of Queen Elizabeth 1st who stayed here in 1591. It is the only room with its own wig cupboard (and may be the only one left in England) with a mirror, seat and wig stand. To get to it though, you walk through a guest lounge which when not is use is all yours.
Although compact, there is the Temple Spa whose Scandinavian good looks, hot tub, sauna, jacuzzi offers a space to relax. The 16 metre pool has vaulted glass and wood roof means you can see the sky while you backstroke. Of course there are treatment rooms for facials (I had the windows of the soul treatment for tired eyes) and massages.
Incidentally, parking is free.
The hotel has a really convenient location in the heart of Midhurst and I was delighted to find the town and the Cowdray Ruins and the Weald and Downland open air museum within easy reach. For those interested in racing Goodwood Racecourse is close by too.
Wi Fi Available
Yes it’s free.
Value for money
Spot on value.
From £119 for a standard double.