Stay Here: Four Seasons Hotel, HampshireBy Angelica Malin
How often do we get actual peace and quiet? Uninterrupted, pure, serenity. In London, it rarely happens – even in the comfort of my own home, I can hear sirens screeching, babies crying, my mother listening to Jeremy Kyle – there’s never really a moment of peace. And, sometimes, even, my London-ness stays with me, far outside London. I’ve found myself in the countryside, surrounded by sheep and grass and blue skies, and actively stressing out how about relaxing it was and whether, in fact, I was relaxed enough.
It’s the same problem you face when getting a massage – somehow, as humans, when we’re told to chill out, we do the exact opposite. I think the Four Seasons in Hampshire is the only place I’ve found real, true serenity – a sense of calmness that allowed me to sleep for hours on end, not worrying about work, or the future, or my curly hair, and just be. What a place. What a weekend. If you’re looking for an exceptional mini break outside of London, here’s what you need to know:
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire: What to Expect
The first thing you’ll notice when you drive in, is the sheer beauty of the place. The Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is quite a marvel to behind – a restored historic Georgian manor house, a striking, attractive building, full of charm and character. You’ll be surprised such a place exists so close to London – the Four Seasons is a mere hour-drive from central London, and 35 minutes from Heathrow. It’s also in one of the prettiest parts of England – Hampshire is undoubtedly one of England’s most lovely counties, perfect for a weekend break.
There’s lots to do in the surrounding area. You can visit Winchester Cathedral, the capital of Anglo-Saxon England, and admire this beautiful Gothic cathedral. For foodies, there’s the Hampshire Farmer’s Market, where you can enjoy locally produced fruit, vegetables, meat and fish – and taste some of the best local jams and honey around. For literary lovers, you can visit Jane Austen’s home, in the village of Chawton, and discover the house where she wrote Sense and Sensibility! It’s a lovely little spot for afternoon tea and cake, too. And if that’s not enough excitement, you can pop down to the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill – a 35-minute drive from the hotel, you can take a tour to discover the 300-year-old mill, and, of course, taste some great gin.
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire: The Accommodation
The hotel feels incredibly personal, due to the caring staff and fantastic service, but actually it’s rather large. There’s three adjoining wings to the Georgian manor house which makes up the Four Seasons – and a range of room categories. There’s 133 rooms in total in the hotel, including 22 luxury suites, which all have a similar look and feel – reflecting the elegance and splendor of the Georgian era. You won’t be disappointed; all of the rooms have the most beautiful view of the English countryside, and you’ll be greeted by spacious bathrooms and tip-top quality amenities. Think: the comfiest beds you’ve ever slept in, with down duvets and pillows, thick bathrobes, super quick WiFi (not that you’ll want it), complimentary newspapers, HD TV and movies on demand. The rooms are the height of luxury and comfort, I’ve never experienced anything like it before.
There’s something for everyone – the rooms range from Grand Manor Room, which sleeps two, to Royal Suite, which can sleep six adults. In the most basic room (and I use that term lightly), you’ll find beautiful views of the Estate, as well as stunning bathrooms with the most beautiful free-standing marble baths. In the Grand Manor Room, the full marble bathroom is really the star – somewhere you want to spend all day in. The Royal Suite is an elegant, two-bedroom suite on the ground level of the Hotel’s West Wing. It offers a living room, fully furnished dining room for up to six people, and a balcony for sunset views. The suite comes with two full marble bathrooms, which you won’t be able to resist Instagramming. Heavenly.
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire: The Facilities
The spa is really where it’s at here. I mean, you don’t come to the Four Seasons and not try to totally chill out, right? The hotel is basically begging you to do so. The hotel’s spa is stunning; located in an 18th century stable block, the spa has created a range of quirky, fantastic spa experiences, using world-famous brands ESPA and Sodashi. Their indoor swimming pool is fantastic – perfect for serious workout – and they’ve got lovely indoor sunbeds for reading the weekend papers and chilling out, before nipping into the sauna and steam room.
The treatments are the spa are sublime. For a facial, try the Swiss Perfection facials – they are tailored to achieve a younger, smoother and naturally radiant complexion. For an amazing massage, the ESPA-based massages are sensational, using ESPA techniques and body oils for a personalised treatment. For something really special, you need to go on a Spa Journey – imagine sipping a vitamin-filled smoothie, whilst enjoying an herbal foot massage, then choose from three rejuvenating spa journeys – Luxury, Cherish, and Seclusion, which include lunch and full use of the facilities. There’s also great Spa Days – you can customize your own spa day with a choice of therapies, a two-course lunch and use of the Spa facilities.
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire: The Food
The food. Oh boy. The food. There’s a range of dining options at the hotel, from Seasons Restaurant, their fine dining establishment, to Bar 1086, which is a more casual affair with bistro food. In the summer, you can even order a gourmet picnic lunch to enjoy in the surrounding beauty of Dogmersfield Park, where the hotel is situated.
Seasons is really rather special – a restaurant that focuses on the bounty and beauty of nature’s produce, the restaurant plays very close attention to using only the finest produce, and you can really taste it in the food. Think daylight cascading through French windows, framing the glorious views of Dogmersfield Park, whist you can feast of fresh fish and great wine with their French-European menu. For dinner, start with the Garden Salad – it sounds simple, with textures of Autumn vegetables – but the additional of Goat’s cheese mousse, beetroot foam and rye crumbs is delicious. For main course, you must try their fish – the halibut with crab, cauliflower purée, smoked dumplings and fennel oil is a taste sensation. And no meal is complete without pudding, of course. The dessert to try here is the Bramley apple crumble. It’s been deconstructed, but actually works really well, with green apple foam, cider jelly and vanilla ice cream, the flavours are utterly divine. Let the sommelier pick you out a nice bottle of wine and consider your night made.
Breakfast the next morning will amaze you – ensure you make time for it, after a nice long swim. The breakfast features Hampshire delights, such as free-range, roasted tomatoes, chestnut mushrooms and sausage, as well as lemon and ricotta pancakes, which are light and fluffy like clouds, with maple syrup. Wash it all down with a great freshly-squeezed juice and fantastic cappuccino, the perfect start to a day exploring Hampshire.
The Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire couldn’t be more wonderful. Everything, from the staff who greet you when you step out of the car, to the wonderful facilities, fantastic food and beautiful surrounding area, is the perfect blend to make your weekend away. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, an anniversary or birthday, this is one hotel you simply must visit.