Chewton Glen, Hampshire
CHEWTON GLEN: HAMPSHIRE
Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Chewton Glen, which is currently the Best UK Holiday Hotel 2014 as voted by Conde Nast Traveller.
On a wintery Tuesday morning, my Mum and I were very excited for our visit and were looking forward to trying out their much talked about spa and relaxing in the countyside. We caught the train from London to New Milton which took around an hour and a half and was a pleasant journey through the New Forest. On arrival we were collected by the hotel in one of their cars and Chewton Glen is only a 5-10 minute journey from the station.
Located in its own picturesque grounds (130 acres to be exact) and on the edge of the New Forest National Park, it is wonderfully secluded and as soon as we arrived we knew we were going to have a relaxing stay. We were a little early and our room wasn’t quite ready so we enjoyed a pot of tea with homemade biscuits, reading the complimentary magazines in one of the lounges. With comfortable sofas, roaring fires and lovely views of the grounds, the lounges were the ideal place to enjoy a quiet moment.
After our cups of tea, were shown to our room which was on the 1st floor right near the spa, which was handy since we had massages booked for early afternoon! Our suite was huge with a lounge area with a sofa, armchairs and a coffee table as you entered and then the bedroom and bathroom, which had a separate toilet, bath and walk-in rain shower. There was also a small balcony with a table and chairs on which looked out over the grounds off the lounge area. It was a lovely room decorated in purples, browns and creams and featured an iPad that could be used to explore the hotel, read extra information and even book room service.
We both had massages booked in the afternoon and I had a Manipura Full Body Treatment (£99 for 60minutes) and my Mum had a Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage (£50 for 25minutes). The Manipura massage was something new to me and used both Himalayan Salt Scub and Hot Stones during the massage and was incredibly relaxing focusing on the full body but also the whole stomach area. After our massages, we spent some time in the pool areas including the Hydrotherapy Spa Pool, which had six different massage treatments in the one pool and it was fun trying them all out. We also lounged on the comfortable sun loungers reading magazines in our robes around the swimming pool before heading up to our room to get ready for dinner.
On arrival we were very kindly given champagne, chocolates and a fruit basket in our room and the champagne was the perfect accompaniment whilst getting dressed up for dinner that evening! Situated by the restaurant is a cosy bar area with sofas and a roaring fire and we enjoyed a glass of wine in there before going through to our table, which was by the window looking out to the garden. The restaurant was stylishly decorated with smart black chairs, crisp white tablecloth adorned tables, impressive lighting and floral displays. Each table setting featured a Chewton Glen rabbit napkin holder which was very cute and was a nice touch.
The menu was quite vast with a large selection of both starters and main courses and it was difficult to decide what to order but to start, I chose the Skate Cheek Tempura with Soba Noodle Salad (£16) and my Mum opted for the Ballontine of Duck Liver, Sauterne Puree, French Bean and Truffle (£23). The skate cheek was cooked perfectly and the delicate fish worked well with the crunchy tempura batter. The Soba Noodle Salad had strong ginger, soy and sesame flavours and it worked well with the fish. The Duck Liver was smooth and creamy and came with delicious sweet brioche toast.
For main course, I decided on the Fillet on the Bone (£35) with Green Peppercorn Sauce and ordered some Triple Cooked Chips and Tenderstem Broccoli, Chilli and Almond (both £4) on the side. My Mum chose the Roast Darne of Monkfish, Fennel Puree, Brown Shrimps and Confit Lemon (£26) with some Mashed Bintje Potatoes (£4) on the side. I’d never eaten fillet on the bone before and the meat was very flavoursome and the green peppercorn sauce had a good amount of spice to it. The monkfish was a very healthy portion and was extremely fresh and zesty with the lemon and fennel and the shrimps were cooked perfectly.
After a little breather we ordered pudding and opted for the Chocolate Fondant, Salted Caramel and Calvados Ice Cream and the Strawberry Pavlova with Basil Sorbet (both £10). The fondant had the perfect texture and literally melted in the middle and worked well with the apple brandy and salted caramel. The pavlova was presented beautifully and the crunchy meringue was filled with just enough vanilla cream. The basil sorbet was probably the best sorbet I’ve ever eaten and was delicate and refreshing and complimented the strawberries perfectly. We also enjoyed a bottle of Prosecco with our meal (£35) which came in a delightful bottle and wasn’t the normal supermarket variety!
The next day we enjoyed breakfast in the restaurant with the sun shining through the large windows and despite a menu with hot items available to order, we decided to stick with the continental breakfast as there was so much choice. Along with the pastries, baguettes and toast, there were cheeses, ham, charcuterie, fruit, yoghurt and cereals including delicious homemade granola, yogurt and berry pots.
After breakfast we popped a pair of the hotel’s Hunter wellies on and enjoyed a walk around the grounds in the sunshine. The hotel really does enjoy such picturesque surroundings and it is a wonderful haven of relaxation away from the normality of every day life. We had a wonderful time - thank you Chewton Glen!
Dotty Dishes was a guest of Chewton Glen.
Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, New Milton, New Forest, Hampshire, BH25 6QS.