Fifty Years of Chewton Glen By Isabel Donnelly
One of The Luxury Channel’s very favourite “staycation” hotels is Chewton Glen, on the outskirts of the New Forest, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.
Chewton Glen is one of the UK’s top hotels for a reason. Featuring an award-winning restaurant, world-class leisure facilities and luxurious accommodation, Chewton Glen is the perfect destination for romantic escapes, relaxing getaways, corporate events or even for a girl’s getaway, which is what we managed to do on a wintry Hallowe’en day.
Despite its classic heritage and old-world charm, Chewton has always been ahead of the curve. Its founder, Martin Skan, had zero experience as an hotelier when he bought the property, but he had plenty of experience as a hotel guest, which he put into practice when he made the then-revolutionary decision to put an en-suite bathroom into each bedroom. Chewton was also the first country house hotel in Britain to have a Spa, and the first to feature treehouses as suites.
Since then, Chewton has won countless accolades that are true testament to the team here. Recent awards include Executive Head Chef Luke Matthews winning Executive Chef of The Year at the Hampshire Life Food & Drink Awards 2015, and the Spa was voted third Best UK Hotel Spa 2015 by Conde Nast Traveller (on that note, the Spa itself offers particularly indulgent experiences, all in the location of this world-class retreat). Chewton has also been awarded International Five Star Standard 2016-17.
The awards speak volumes about what a wonderful retreat this really is. Surrounded by acres of nature, and just minutes from the beach, this is a very tranquil setting that enables one to simply get away from it all. Understated luxury is what this hotel is all about, giving you a home-from-home feeling when you stay.
My girlfriend and I stayed in a Junior Garden Suite with a separate bedroom and balcony on the floor above. Our suite was decorated in muted colours with velvets and fine wools placed on the beds, with comfortable deep-seated sofas. What more can a girl ask for, other than an enormous bathroom, crisp white linen sheets, huge white bath sheets and soft dressing gowns? Just what we needed on a cold, blustery evening.
Chewton Glen boasts a famous literary link through the fact that Captain Frederick Marryat stayed for periods during the 1840s, gathering material for his famous novel The Children of The New Forest (Marryat’s brother George in fact owned the property from 1837 until 1855). Today, many of the rooms have been named after his novels and the characters in them.
The perfect balance between celebrating heritage whilst keeping up-to-date is definitely what makes Chewton a holiday destination of choice. New for 2016, for instance, is the Strictly Fitter, Stronger Luxury Retreat weekend on the 8th – 10th January. A luxury health-boosting fitness weekend run by Strictly Come Dancing stars Ian Waite and Camilla Sacre-Dallerup, this is definitely one to book onto to lose those extra Christmas pounds!
However, for a far gentler start to the New Year, the Spa at Chewton Glen is a must! Offering the ultimate in relaxation, the facilities include a 17 metre indoor swimming pool, a hydrotherapy spa pool, an outdoor whirlpool, aromatherapy saunas and crystal steam rooms, all designed to help you really unwind. If you feel like you want to be a bit more active, then the purpose-built dance studio and tennis centre (with indoor and outdoor courts) are worth paying a visit. We tried the hydrotherapy pool which has has nine different areas including three single person loungers and swan neck pipes. We found the water blissfully warm and the jets comfortably powerful.
Of course, one can’t come to a hotel without sampling the cuisine! Spread across five rooms, including the wonderful Wine Room and newly constructed Summer House, The Dining Room offers settings to suit all dining occasions and times of the day, from light lunches to wine tasting dinners. The menu is English at its core. We chose a favourite, lemon grilled dover sole with locally sourced fresh vegetables – simple but with enough cosmopolitan flair to tempt even the fussiest diner. Delicious!
We were particularly intrigued by the Wine Room, which is both a working cellar and private dining area. Glancing through the wall of wine bottles carefully arranged for the enjoyment of guests, the cellar is illuminated by wine cabinets that contain some wonderful wines. This is not a pretentious cellar but a fun space either for private parties or wine tastings. Chewton holds regular Saturday night open tasting sessions available to all guests staying at the hotel, which provide an opportunity to taste an assortment of varied and interesting wines from around the globe. Cheers!
We wish the staff who make all their guests feel so special a very Happy New Year and a successful 2016.
In the meantime, it’s nearly Christmas Day! Are you still in need of that important Christmas present? Take a look below at some of the perfect gifts available….
For Ladies That Lunch
Treat all of your friends and family to lunch this New Year. Banish the January blues with a three-course lunch for only £26.50 per person. The perfect gift to give on Christmas Day, something to enjoy even after the festivities have finished!
For Those Who Have It All
Give the gift of Chewton Glen this Christmas. From an indulgent champagne afternoon tea for two to a monetary gift voucher for them to spend on whatever they choose, why not buy that someone special a gift voucher this Christmas?
For The Ones You Want To Impress
Buy them something different this year. Find out about Tiff Needell’s fast-paced Grand Prix racing career or listen to classic West End songs being sang to you over a delicious four-course dinner. Whatever their interest, there is a special event at Chewton Glen to suit everyone.
For The Ones You Love Best
Unsure what to buy that loved one that already has everything? Give them the gift of a spa day at Chewton Glen. Enjoy a breakfast box on arrival, selected treatment, lunch, refreshments and full use of the spa and leisure facilities. The perfect start to the new year!
For more information, visit www.chewtonglen.com.