Contributor/ Alexander Larman
Best Known For
One of England’s best-known luxury hotels, Chewton Glen has prided itself on providing exemplary service and comfort to its guests since it first opened in the 1960s. However, even the grandest of establishments needs to reinvent itself occasionally, and so the recent opening of the hotel’s treehouse suites, designed by Martin Hulbert at a cost of £7 million, has given the property a shot of style and class that proves that even this particular grande dame can still cut it with the younger pretenders to the throne. It comes as a relief to find that everything else is still firing on all cylinders as well.
The Good Stuff
Guests at the treehouse suites (which come in various shapes and sizes, all luxurious) experience a sense of comfort and relaxation that has a good deal to do with the New England-esque feel of the design. Set outside the main property (reached either by foot or by a regular ‘courtesy buggy’), they are a symphony in light and dark wood. Purposefully designed for those who crave their own space, they’re equipped with all the comforts you could imagine (from a miniature kitchen to an outside hot tub) and are situated in the wilds of the New Forest – or at least, as close as part of Chewton Glen comes to wildness. A particularly nice touch comes in the morning, when a copious breakfast hamper is delivered, silently, into a hatch in the suite. It becomes very easy to think about never leaving.
Anecdotally the treehouses have been attracting a younger, more design-conscious crowd that the well-heeled, well-blazered inhabitants of the main hotel, but the peaceful and stylish atmosphere seems to attract an eclectic mix, albeit of a well-heeled nature. A-list visitors seeking to get away from it all are regulars, although of course the staff are far too discreet to name names.
Inside the Hotel – 9/10
The spa here is deservedly famous, boasting two distinct pools and an outdoor one as well, and the spa treatments are just the ticket to revitalise an exhausted body; a deep tissue massage had just the right pressure without feeling too invasive. The restaurant, meanwhile, isn’t pretending to offer haute cuisine, instead sticking to the staples of an upmarket grill or brasserie (scallops with pork belly, steak and so forth), although an unusual take on the lamb tagine hinted at a culinary imagination that could perhaps do with being unleashed a bit more often. The wine list is exemplary, whether by the bottle or glass, and the very friendly sommelier won our hearts by pairing dishes with a selection of small glasses, rather than insisting on an unsuitable bottle to match.
Outside the Hotel – 8/10
It’s a hop and a skip down to the sea through Chewton Glen’s copious grounds, or you can play golf, if that’s your chosen means of passing time. The culinary options nearby are pretty good (The Pig, Lime Wood, TerraVina etc) and if you’re more of an outdoorsy disposition, you can hire bikes or horses and explore the New Forest. Although dragging oneself out of the hot tub is never going to be easy.
Image courtesy of Chewton Glen