The Perfect Respite In The New Forest By Eadaoin Kelly

Eadaoin Kelly books into Chewton Glen in Hampshire to recover after holidaying with the extended family.

Perfect respite

With several demanding family events ahead of us, my better half had decided that there was only one way that we were going to get through the week – with the promise of pure indulgence firmly installed as the light at the end of the tunnel. It was with determination that we therefore arose at 6am, after a grueling few days of screaming children (someone else’s) and forced fun on the packed beaches of Penzance, we made a dash for what promised to be a tranquil and luxurious 24hrs on the edge of The New Forest.

Pulling into the 130-acre grounds of Chewton Glen in Hampshire, our stresses of the last few days evaporated. As our car was whisked away, we were given a warm welcome – this warmth and attentiveness was to be a recurring theme of our visit – and shown to our beautifully appointed suite. Every detail had been thought about, from the latest technology all discreetly tucked away behind artful screens to the spacious balcony with views over the croquet lawn. At this privately-owned hotel and spa, you immediately know that a huge amount of attention to detail has been lavished everywhere, a sure sign of an attentive management team.

To ensure that all the tensions of the familial visit were washed away, we booked into the spa for an afternoon session. Looking through the extensive menu of treatments – it says that it would take a week of non-stop treatments to get through them all! – I settled on the full body massage while the other half opted for the back massage….heaven!

Back to our room to chill out and then get ready for dinner – we enjoyed champagne and chocolate on the balcony to the calming knock of mallet on ball from below us on the lawn. At dinner, we selected from the Menu Gourmand in the elegant dining room where the ever-attentive staff catered to our every whim with a great knowledge of the wines, menu and local produce throughout the five courses. The food was clean and delicious, the only sticking point was the Slow Poached Anjou Pigeon with sautéed foie gras, pumpkin and sorrel, not a dish we were used to, and although we were reassured that it was meant to be eaten cold, we didn’t see the appeal! The Champagne and Strawberry Jelly Terrine with Chewton Glen elderflower sorbet was so refreshing – overall, a very delicious experience.

After the most comfortable night we have had in ages, we dragged ourselves to the indoor pool (there is an outside one too), before a scrumptious buffet breakfast that contained the freshest local produce, where we made a number of trips so as to ensure we tasted everything!

After over-indulging at the breakfast table, we sauntered down to the beach, to work off our over-expanded waistlines. A very refreshing 20-minute walk through the woods and then onto the stunning Jurassic Coastline was just what we needed.

A fantastic respite from the hectic family holiday and the perfect battery-recharger before heading back to the bright lights of London. Well done other half on picking such an idyll!