November is a strange month. Not close enough to indulge in Christmas celebrations and yet the late summer evenings are a faint memory. In need of something to look forward to before the New Year, I decided to book a night at the renowned, 5 star boutique hotel – Chewton Glen. A luxury country house hotel and spa set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside on the edge of the New Forest, Chewton Glen is also just a few minutes’ walk from the sea.
A lot has been said about this award-winning hotel – I’ve read it’s the perfect setting for a romantic escape and, more recently, it has become increasingly popular with families. I decided to see what it would be like if I took one of my friends for a girly weekend away. In under two hours, we were in the middle of the New Forest, away from the grey skies and traffic in the city. From the moment we stepped inside, I knew we were somewhere special. The fire was lit, the grand piano was playing and guests were enjoying Bloody Marys whilst reading the Sunday papers – perfection!
There is so much on offer at Chewton Glen. Set within its beautiful acres of land is a golf course, a croquet lawn, tennis courts and a great selection of walking and mountain biking trails. Clay pigeon shooting and falconry can also be easily arranged. But the long list of facilities doesn’t take away the fact that this place is more of a boutique home than a hotel.
We checked into a newly refurbished suite with two interlinking bedrooms. Wow, what a dreamy room – spacious and stylish with a sort of “Hamptons” feel about it. Within a few moments, we were in our robes and off to the Spa. The decadent swimming pool and impressive hydrotherapy pool is a calm oasis – exactly what I needed and better than I had imagined. The spa menu is designed using Linda Meredith and ILA products, offering a wide range of treatments from rehydrating oxygen facials to holistic body therapies. I was booked in for a personalised facial, where the therapist discussed my lifestyle and habits before choosing what specific products to use.
The Linda Meredith skincare range has been developed to deal with skin problems and not skin types, with all of the products working to increase hydration levels and helping to slow down the ageing process. My facial focused on the fine lines around the eyes, general dehydration and the congestion around the T-zone area. After my 60 minutes of pampering, the results were instantly noticeable – my skin looked relaxed and rejuvenated. Not surprisingly, the Spa at Chewton was voted in the Top 10 of UK Hotel Spas at the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine Reader Spa Awards 2014.
All too soon, our dinner reservation in the hotel’s Vertier restaurant had crept upon us so after a quick aperitif at the Red Bar, we sat in the restaurant ready for dinner. The room was surprisingly large and modern in decor with an impressive wine collection and private dining area. We spoiled ourselves with oysters and champagne, and freshly-caught scallops followed by delicious salmon with hollandaise for main course. The focus on seasonal ingredients and creative cooking was obvious. The restaurant lived up to its wonderful reputation – spectacular food with great service (especially the sommelier).
Soon enough, my super-king bed was calling – I was a lot more tired than I realised. Was it the effects of the relaxing spa, the wine during supper or the country air? Either way, I had the best night’s sleep I’d had all year at Chewton Glen.
Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa
New Milton, New Forest, Hampshire, England BH25 6QS
Tel – +44 (0) 1425 275 341