There are so many pockets of the UK that feel like untapped riches when I'm lucky enough to stumble upon them. One of those being Chewton Glen, a quintessentially English, privately owned luxury Country House Hotel & Spa on the fringe of the New Forest boasting 72 rooms and suites in total with 14 of them being luxury Treehouses, for a one-of-a-kind experience. I recommend the Treehouse Loft Suite, suspended 35 feet above ground with an outdoor hot tub on the terrace deck.
Wow, sounds the business Carl, but don't bury the lead, how many variant bottles of wine do they have on their wine list? The answer? 1900. But we'll get into their fine dining momentarily.
The train ride down to Chewton Glen splinters the campestral fields of New Forest and if you've not left the city melee for a while, you'll be forgiven for being mildly over-awed by some of the endless, almost other worldly views of this idyllic retreat. With over 130 acres of woodland, gardens and parkland the Chewton Glen estate extends to the edge of the New Forest National Park and down to the Solent coastline.
Formerly the hotel was family owned before being sold to private owners who were previously long standing guests, with a long-standing love of the hotel. It hasn't lost any of the essence of a family owned hotel, reflected in the sophisticated and personable service available to residents 24 hours a day. No better feeling than ordering a couple of cocktails to the room after a long day of relaxing in the spa.
The Spa exudes decadence with 12 treatment rooms and 17 metre swimming pool which is overlooked by three towering windows that stretch from floor to ceiling. These windows overlook some equally impressive Corinthian columns before a picturesque view of the grounds. There is a sauna and steam rooms, nail Studio, hydrotherapy pool and hot tub. Though it's worth noting that the sauna and steam rooms are in the changing rooms which might be a little disappointing to any couples looking to share a romantic tub.
The Dining Room has delicious meals that range from the typically English to the totally cosmopolitan. Breakfast was served in a partitioned tray full of muesli, Greek yoghurt, fresh and dried fruit, coulis and granola, croissant and pain au chocolate. It's incredibly indulgent with a plethora of pots of homemade Chewton Glen jam to choose from. The expansive dining space gets plenty of natural light thanks to its gazebo-esque glass apex ceiling.
For dinner I enjoyed two of the four tapas inspired starters - the gin and lime tempura battered shrimp and the wood grilled sourdough served with an aioli which tasted like the rouille that is served with bouillabaisse. Some serious Fleming stuff going on there.
Talking of Fleming, this felt like my own little Goldeneye; a picturesque retreat where I could distill my thoughts, decompress and unload my mind onto paper. An idyllic escape pod, romantic and adventurous. An added bonus is Highcliff Beach which is a short 15 minute picturesque walk from the hotel where dogs are allowed and it has the most amazing sunsets.