So just by living in the South East, Mr Biscuit and I happen to have a whole range of scenery on our doorsteps. The beach is a few minutes away, the countryside just over the way, and as it happens there is also a rather glorious forest just around the corner.
The New Forest is in itself a rather spiffing day out with a variety of offerings from quaint tea-shops to beholding sights of galavanting horses running over the plains. There is even a go-ape course for the more adventurous adrenaline-junkies. Amongst that lies Chewton Glen- 5* country house hotel and spa, voted 'Best Hotel for Service in the UK' and listed as one of the 'World's Best Hotels' by Conde Nast Traveller readers in 2011.
It's impressive drive approaching the hotel itself reminded me of an Austin novel, imagining my coach steadily galloping towards an impending ball or gala, for the house itself is vast and impressive in magnitude. Simply elegant, and quite frankly, just luxurious.
Something that you might take note of if you yourself wish for a spot of Chewton Glen decadence, is the valet parking. This is something we completely missed and were quite dis-heartened we did not utilize as it all adds to the exclusive nature if the retreat. The sweet gentleman who came up to our car mentioned that we didn't have to drive ourselves into the car-park and then offered to take our bags, and actually looked quite sad that we politely said there was no need- Mr Biscuit already sighs heavily when carrying my gloriously flowery overnight luggage set- no need to inflict that on another man.
Upon arrival we were greeted courteously and with great attention. The real VIP treatment that every guest can expect at this hotel. Awaiting our suite to become ready, the splendid reception and various lounges and bars more than rested our weary feet (driving does become a strain on the ankles don't you know?), and an open log fire with a cuppa is splendid on a cold January afternoon.
The Master-man Ready Suite is a master suite within the variety of rooms on offer at the hotel. At 70m2 it has sweeping views across the grounds and golf course from it's own private sun terrace, and a lounge separate from your beautifully decorated bedroom and classically tasteful bathroom.
It is here that we found our luggage already conveniently stored and Champagne in an ice bucket eagerly awaiting our arrival.
Now this suite certainly is something to toast about. It's antique finishing-touches compliment a modern yet traditional look that certainly makes it quite fabulous. It's comfortable though with the decor giving it a homely feel that made us relax instantly.
There was a stonking great fly in the room however....but turns out I actually let it in myself. Definitely says something that the only thing I can post as a downside is that there was a fly in our room, and I guarantee that if I had asked for help from reception- they would have obliged with removing said fly. Instead I watched Mr Biscuit dance around with a magazine (complimentary magazine none the less!), flapping at it like a loon. This provided additional entertainment alongside the gourmet chocolates, juice bar, expresso coffee machine, and televisions in the lounge AND bathroom.
Now readers will know that this blog continues to review beautiful luxury beauty and skin-care products, and this wouldn't be a luxury hotel if it didn't provide luxury toiletries. But it is....and it did. REN products in fact- and they are just marvelous. I might well rant about them in a separate post. It is these products that continue to be complimentary across to the Hotel's spa.
The Spa is beautiful. Utterly gorgeous in all it's splendor. It is possibly the best equipped spa I have encountered at a hotel, with not only the usual pool and sauna/steam rooms and gym, but also a considerably vast hydrotherapy pool and outside hot-tub. It is an ideal spot to relax on your afternoon settling in to your well deserved break. Indeed we were so relaxed that we almost forgot that we should really get out and get ready before dinner. I know they are accommodating but I am sure that even they would frown upon some drenched swim-suit clad guests sitting down for dinner in their newly designed restaurant area.
This area of the hotel where you dine is the famous Vetiver. Vetiver is spread across 5-separate rooms that blend into a single uniform contemporary design with great attention to detail. Not only can you dine privately in their wine room, but the menu is so varied that it caters for a wide variety of tastes and pocket-sizes.
The A La Carte dining menu is what we sampled from across 3-courses. The Wine list is impressive, and some walls are adorned surrounding you showcasing the wonders of their collection. We noted the tasting menu also, a gorgeous 5-course delight that would send any foodies into seventh heaven, with complimenting wines recommended by the sommelier.
Our starters of dressed crab salad and scallops with a curried celeriac side were immaculately presented and arrived with such diverse yet interestingly accenting flavours, it is difficult to comprehend how this restaurant is not Michelin starred. My main of lamb tagine, a personal favourite, was melt in the mouth and succulent, whilst my partner serenaded his excellent cut of steak with a selection of ooh's and ahh's.
Dessert again did not disappoint, as the Chewton Glen Bumblebee consisting of honey sponge and orange sorbet was worthy of a painting, let alone Mr Biscuit's cheesecake to which was exclaimed to be the 'best cheesecake he had ever tasted'. We never had to wait for our glass to be empty for the attention to detail and excellent service is impossible to fault. Indeed, where service charges are included, there is no need to worry about tips- in fact they are simply not allowed. This is followed suit across the whole hotel. Tipping here is just not acceptable as you are reassured that the price you pay before always has it included.
Arriving back at our room we found our suite prepared for a comfortable night's sleep. Sheets turned down, water set at the bedsides, and lights dimmed. Perfect worry free ending to a beautiful evening leading to a stress-less night of sleep.
Breakfast is also served in the restaurant, and after our wake-up-call of a glorious cup of tea brought to our room with our choice of Newspaper (request this the day before on arrival- also includes delicious mini-muffins!). Opting for the continental buffet we were really pleasantly surprised by the variety of options available. It's a far cry from the slightly hard croissants and cold toast you normally expect. Enter delightfully fluffy Danish's and home-made pain-au-chocolat alongside a selection of breads nestling amongst the cheeseboard and fruit selection, and freshly prepared granola yogurts accompany a plate of different hams. Sat in the sunshine of the restaurants conservatory area, we enjoyed views whilst nibbling the fresh toast and tea being served to us. Sheer bliss! I only wonder if there is an option to have this as room service, as often breakfast on a relaxing weekend is best served in bed!
A busy day to come we opted to relax after breakfast back in the room as we had a late-check out of 12pm, allowing us to leisurely get ready for our spa afternoon we booked in to enjoy before our journey home. Packing done the reception kindly stored our bags and we headed to the pool area to await our call for the beauty-treatments. Mr Biscuit wondered over what I had in store for him, a massage incidentally, as in all his bearded wonder I did ponder as to how much point a facial would be.
His full body 60-minute massage was just what the doctor ordered (quite literally perhaps as back issues do pester him) and with an hour of deep tissue kneading and relaxation, he emerged blissfully and full of amazement at his masseuse Jill. She considered his problem areas and concentrated her efforts at pushing out the knots and pointing out key tension spots. Where the stress of his aches often leaves him tired, he was simply jubilant and re-energised.
My Ananda facial utilizing the natural products from Ila was amazing. I could just leave my comments at that but I feel obliged to elaborate.
Heres the official description-
Our Ananda facial, created by ila-spa, has been voted the 'number one' treatment in Organic Spa Magazines 'Top Ten Natural and Organic Facial'. This healing and reviving treatment brings deep feelings of bliss and peace, as well as beautiful skin! The facial techniques used open up the energy centres on the face working with the blissful higher energy in the body.
Now it just so happens that that day I had the cold-from-hell. Fully congested and prone to awake-snoring, yet I was told that this facial would relax and perhaps rid me from my snot-filled yucky-ness. The facial concentrates on massage and the chakras, utilizing gorgeous floral oils and luxurious cleansers. I never seem to fully relax during facials as I am too keen on knowing what is going on and what products are being used, but this time I clearly needed the rest and it was just so peaceful. The combination of moisturizing and hair and scalp-massage was enough to send me to sleep........until I woke myself up snoring. Luckily my embarrassed apologies were laughed off and I was gently guided to the relaxation room to meet my Mister, and we reclined in their chairs happily reading magazines until we were ready to face the blustery wind outside once more.
As you probably have noted, the facilities at Chewton Glen are excellent. Alongside the spa and restaurant, there is a lovely golf-course which I am assured is quite superb (not being a golfer myself!), AND........
- Outstanding Croquet Lawn
- 4 Tennis course (2 indoor) with on-site residential tennis professional
- 130 acres of jogging trails and walks
- Mountain Bikes
- Beach Walks (15 minutes through the hotel grounds to the sea)
- Outdoor heated Swimming Pool
- Clay Pigeon Shooting
- Duck Herding
- Apache Buggy Racing
Good grief! Certainly enough to keep you busy, and if your hotel visit buddy fancies buying you a present, there is even a boutique shop on site for that perfect gift!
Chewton Glen is a venue that can provide an extensive range of options for your event or occasion. From a simple retreat, to a spa-hen-weekend, to your wedding day, it can be hired for all or part of your day- even with the option to hire the whole hotel for exclusive use!
More details about the hotel and spa as a venue, or to have a look at the range of room options, are on their beautifully designed site www.chewtonglen.com .
Thus all I can say is- enjoy, relax, and be happy, on your special visit to Chewton Glen........