A couple of weeks ago, my husband surprised me with a weekend away for my birthday to Chewton Glen, in The New Forest, on the South Coast of England. It’s a hotel I’ve heard great things about and have always fancied a stay there. So I was very excited and surprised to find out we were going for two nights.
Chewton Glen is, according to their website, “a privately owned luxury Country House Hotel & Spa, recognised as one of the UK’s finest hotels set in 130 acres of picturesque grounds”. On arriving at the hotel, it definitely lived up to its description, coming from London, you are given instructions from the M3/M27 to miss the busy New Forest roads and as you drive up through the grounds, the first thing you see are the room balconies overlooking the beautiful gardens.
The hotel has something for everyone in the family, it prides itself on being family friendly, with a kid’s club and plenty of activities within the hotel, let alone being in The New Forest and close to the beach. They can arrange mountain biking (they have bikes available for use) and horse-riding, there’s a 9 hole golf course, tennis courts, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, croquet, shooting and archery, falconry and duck herding (!) and apache buggies. As well as play stations, a full DVD library, all day food, wellington boots lined up to use, walking and jogging trails within the hotel grounds. For those looking to relax and unwind, an award-winning spa, hydrotherapy pools, well equipped gym and exercise classes including yoga, pilates and aqua fit are available. In fact, if the above isn’t enough to keep you occupied, I am sure the staff would be able to assist with anything you are keen to do!
What the website doesn’t tell you (unless it’s there somewhere and I couldn’t find it) is that dogs are welcome to stay too, they aren’t allowed in the main house, but you can stay in a Treehouse with your pampered pooch. And let me tell you, your pooch is pampered as are you, in such beautiful surroundings! The treehouses are set away from the main hotel, in a woodland area making them secluded and peaceful.
They have their own concierge and inside are stylishly appointed with a wood burning stove in the lounge, a comfortable bedroom, the king-sized bed facing out towards the woods, a stunning bathroom with the biggest bath ever (I felt like I was in a boat!) a walk-in shower and underfloor heating.
Everything has been thought of, on arrival there were mini cakes and cookies for us and doggie bowls and a bed for Barney. There is a kitchenette area with fridge, coffee machine, kettle, toaster and microwave with all the snacks and drinks complimentary.
Oh, and did I mention the hot tub on the decked terrace which runs the length of your treehouse? I’m not sure my husband could have picked a better birthday treat for me, walking into the treehouse was definitely a ‘wow’ reaction.
There are buggies to take you from the main hotel to the treehouse, but it really isn’t that far, although our treehouse was the first one, I suspect if you were down at the far end (there are 12 treehouses), you might want to use a buggy, especially at night, because you are in the woods. Taking Barney out for his bedtime pee, we heard an owl and Barney stumbled across a badger (I’m not sure who was more surprised, me, Barney, or the badger, I’ve never seen a badger before) it was growling a warning to Barney to go away, which we did pretty quickly!
For my birthday evening, we had dinner in the restaurant. We were picked up by a buggy (due to high heels!) and had a drink in the cosy, wood-panelled bar with the log fire roaring, before heading into the restaurant. The restaurant in comparison to the bar, is open, light and airy (part of it is a conservatory), I found it to be a bit chilly but my husband was very comfortable with the temperature. The food was delicious and the service was OK, they were particularly busy that night with a private dinner function for 120 taking place, however we were more thrilled by the ‘hamper hatch’ in the treehouse. Staying in the treehouse is supposed to be secluded and a hideaway, so you really don’t encounter too many people and whilst there is room service, it comes in the form of a hatch. Your breakfast arrives in a hamper through the hatch, so you aren’t bothered and I promise you won’t be disappointed with the selection, obviously there isn’t a full cooked breakfast, but there’s everything else you could think of. What is great is that as much of the food as possible is either sourced from the hotel kitchen garden, (which is amazing, I’d love to replicate a smaller version) or locally. We also tried the dinner hamper (my husband gave a big thumbs up to the fish pie) sadly, we didn’t have time to try out the pizza hamper or the afternoon tea hamper!
Barney, the clever boy that he is, booked me an ‘in treehouse’ spa session, the ‘Tree Top Tranquility’ treatment and oh, it was blissful and relaxing. The therapist listened to my request for a very light pressure, I loved having the treatment in the treehouse, rather than having to walk over to the spa, it was so personal and peaceful.
All in all, we only scratched the surface of Chewton Glen, 2 nights just isn’t enough to get the full experience, we didn’t even use the pool, just glanced at it from the spa cafe.
What the website can’t convey is the level of service that the staff give you, from arrival, the staff are attentive and helpful, nothing is too much trouble. All the staff, we encountered, were polite, make you feel special and were so welcoming to Barney, but more importantly they all seemed happy in their work, proud to be working at Chewton Glen.
Was there anything we didn’t like? Only a small suggestion for the treehouse, although the seating area is very stylish and looked fabulous, it wasn’t snuggly and cosy. The sofa, although deep and filled with cushions, had scratchy material, wool I think, and the cushions are feather stuffed, sitting on feathers poking through isn’t comfortable. After a long walk back from the beach, what you need is something to sink into and an armchair to curl up in with a good book, unfortunately the sofa and the armchairs didn’t offer that. I know I sound very picky, as I said, only a suggestion!
All this wonderfulness doesn’t come cheap, but for a special occasion this stunning hotel, its beautiful grounds and friendly professional staff, won’t disappoint. For January, we were lucky with the weather, but come rain or shine, you will be hard put not to enjoy yourself, whether you want to relax, rest and rejuvenate or full on activity, Chewton Glen offers it all.
Their mission is; “To make every guest want to return”, well I’d say, mission accomplished!
Visit Chewton Glen’s website, click here.
Or head over Pinterest for more pictures of Chewton Glen and the Treehouses (click here)