Growing up in the New Forest I would expect the views of the countryside to become embedded in my memory, however it’s a pleasant surprise that each time I return, I am taken aback by the sheer beauty of this magical place. With vast stretches of untamed forest playing host to herds of wild horses, the New Forest truly is the perfect place to escape and unwind from the hustle of the city. Chewton Glen offers the charm of the New Forest, with that little bit of added luxury.
Chewton Glen is a luxurious and quintessentially English country manor house, nestled in the forest. This magnificent building dates back to the 18th-century with much of the traditional, distinctive features remaining as part of the hotel’s design scheme. Think oversized, elegant white windows with cascading layers of rich, vibrant fabrics and pristine landscapes boasting beautiful flowers. There’s also a croquet lawn and a delightful stone terrace where you can look back and envisage a plethora of lords, ladies and other distinguished folk sharing a delightful afternoon tea.
The exterior is very much preserved in 18th century tradition, but inside has a surprisingly modern, and comforting feel. Still lavish in design, the décor is sultry, seductive and contemporary, combining old-school elegance with stylish modern furnishings. We relax in the lounge for an afternoon tipple and marvel at the grand wooden staircase, tall ceilings and open stone fireplaces, stylishly contrasted by bold striped sofas, mirrored wall features and sumptuous scarlet walls – always surrounded of course by those spectacular countryside views.
Chewton Glen has a range of plush rooms and suites and an exclusive selection of romantic, secluded Treehouse retreats. Each room is laden with amenities – flatscreen TV, stereo, huge comfy beds, white fluffy dressing gowns and a generous collection of indulgent toiletries that are too tempting to leave untouched!
Our suite is cosy, with a homely feel, and the décor is classic country with a modern twist. We also have a private terrace with breathtaking views of the hotel’s pristine lawns. A natural theme runs throughout, with a bold feature wall painted in a sumptuous deep mauve. Mirrors and artwork adorn the walls and upholstered armchairs are conveniently dotted around the room, ready to rest weary feet.
The bathroom is sleek and elegant with neutral mosaic tiles, a huge mirrored wall space and a separate oversized shower and deep bath to sink into after a hard day’s pampering at the spa.
The spa and treatments
With 10 treatment rooms, six hydrotherapy spa pools, an indoor and outdoor pool, among other pampering treats, it’s not hard to see why this award-winning winning spa is so popular.
To start, we sit and relax in the hydrotherapy pools for an hour. Each pool offers different treatments ranging from vibrant all-over body massages to localised pressure points of the body such as the neck or back, with deep, vigorous massage techniques that really loosen the muscles. Afterwards, there’s just time to do a few lengths of the 17-metre indoor pool before lunch, in the spa.
It’s informal and buffet-style, with everyone tucking in in robes and slippers. Choose from a selection of sandwiches, paninis and salads from the à la carte menu or opt for the buffet selection which includes cooked meats and fish, quiches, jacket potatoes, fresh salads and tortilla wraps, as well as a couple of indulgent desserts. A buffet plate including dessert costs £20.
After lunch I have the signature Chewton Glen back, neck and shoulder massage. The therapist worked wonders by easing the tension in my upper back using vigorous pressure techniques. I felt pleasantly relaxed, even though the pressure was forceful, and felt the benefits almost immediately. My back was under much less strain and I found my flexibility had improved significantly. The nourishing essential oils left my back supple and my skin invigorated and beautifully soft. Visit www.chewtonglen.com/spa/spa-treatments for a full list of spa treatments.
How much does it cost?
Prices range from £295 for a standard room up to £1,580 for a top-end suite. For a full list of room prices visit www.chewtonglen.com/rooms. For a more secluded and nature-inspired stay, the elegant Treehouse suites start at £700, for a full list of options visit www.chewtonglen.com/tree-house-suites.
What else is there to do?
If you can drag yourself away from your robes and slippers, there’s a wealth of countryside pursuits to take advantage of, either organised by the hotel, or further afield. The hotel boasts tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a golf course and even clay pigeon shooting if that takes your fancy. Highcliffe-on-Sea is a beautiful, secluded beach just a short walk away from the grounds. Walking and mountain-biking trails within the New Forest are also a great way to explore the area, and directions are available from reception. See www.chewtonglen.com/hotel/activities for more information.
Chewton Glen is located on the edge of the New Forest National Park and within easy reach of Christchurch, Bournemouth and Southampton. The hotel is about 90 miles from central London by car or 1 hour 30 minutes by train from London Waterloo. The closest train station is New Milton, which is just a five minute car journey to the hotel. Visit www.chewtonglen.com/hotel/hotel-directions where you can download driving directions to the hotel from London, Bristol, Bournemouth, Bath, Dover, Southampton and Portsmouth.