Our June FAM trip was held at the stunning South Lodge Hotel last Friday. South Lodge marks the third property from Exclusive that have hosted Eventprofslive for FAM trips and South Lodge sure did impress us.
We arrived on Friday for a 3.00 pm check-in with time to relax in our rooms before we had afternoon tea on their stunning grounds. Afternoon tea is a bit of tradition here and they certainly do it well. There were some pretty impressive teas on their list with everything from chocolate tea to white raspberry and peach. The cakes, scones and sandwiches weren’t bad either. My favourite were the scones! After a bit of events related chat we had a cake tasting competition with two of our members going head to head for the win. We had to have a sudden death round with a tie on the question “which restaurant has three Michelin stars” being the question that gave us the winner. The answer was The Fat Duck and our winner received a lovely gift from South Lodge.
After our afternoon tea we had a bit of time in our rooms before heading off to “The Pass” for an interactive canape session. The Pass is a three AA Rosette restaurant where Chef Ian Swainson serves up some pretty amazing culinary creations. This would be an amazing idea to have as part of your event for small groups and I think groups of up to 15 I think would work best. Chef talks you through, step by step, each of his dishes and lets you pass them around at the end. They really were stunning both visually and taste wise. I loved this part of our FAM trip and felt quite privileged to be part of it.
After our interactive canape session, we headed off to the wine cellar which was also very impressive. Whilst in the cellar you can be guided by their sommeliers or you can go it alone, sampling the different wines available. The cellar works by buying a card from reception with a monetary sum on it where you use it to try the different wines which cost different prices depending on the type and size of the glass. The 16 wines on offer are held in their state-of-the-art machine that ensures the wines are always maintained to their peak and served at the perfect temperature. I also spied some wonderful looking cheese boards as well and can’t wait to go back with the husband to give those a try. The cellar would work well for a small group for tastings or, to use it for tastings and dinner as there is a wonderful dining table that would accommodate up to 20.
Up next was the site visit of the stunning property which has 75 perfectly appointed suites and rooms with most having those spectacular views over the South Downs. The meeting spaces at South Lodge are unique in that they are all contained in the same area which makes it ever so easy for us Event Managers. The largest room will fit up to 170 with the smallest 16. All the meeting rooms have natural daylight which is wonderful. As a bonus and an exclusive energy stations to keep guests going throughout their day are wonderful.
After the wine tasting it was time for dinner where we had our own private room and had a lovely meal and a lot of chat. Drinks at the bar (for some until 3.00 am) to wrap up the day and then off to bed in our lovely rooms. Waking up to that amazing view over the grounds was truly special. South Lodge really is a stunning property and I would definitely recommend it for away days and retreats. Only 10 minutes from Horsham rail station and only 50 minutes from London Victoria, it is perfect.
We had such a wonderful time on our FAM trip and I can't wait to go back! if you need any further information on South Lodge or Eventprofslive, please contact us.
Michelle Rees is a Events Advisor for a London Law Firm
Kate is a Events Manager for a London Law Firm