WORDS BY SAMANTHA SAMPLE, BE NATURALLYOU
Celebrating the “we’re getting married” excitement, my boyfriend and I thought it a MUST to escape for a weekend of peace, tranquility and indulgence. Where to go for this weekend escape to enjoy such a special occasion? Chewton Glen of course!
If not only for the drive through the historic New Forest National Park to see the unique landscape of ancient woodland, heather-covered heath and free roaming ponies, our holiday had already begun once we reached this spectacular wilderness area. The perfect beginning to what would become a truly memorable weekend away.
Chewton Glen is a luxury country house hotel and spa, only 90 miles from Central London by car, set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside on the edge of the New Forest National Park, and just a few minutes’ walk from the sea. From the minute we arrive to the moment we reluctantly make our departure it’s clearly evident why Chewton Glen was voted ‘Best Hotel for Service in the UK’ and listed as one of the ‘World’s Best Hotels’ by Conde Nast Traveller readers in 2012.
When making our booking, we were asked some common questions about our food preferences and if it was a special occasion. Of which we replied, yes, and yes. Questions like these I’m used to being asked, but very rarely are they taken to heart with such fine detail like they were done so by the staff at Chewton Glen.
Upon arrival, our room has a fabulous bunch of “Congratulations” balloons, and a bottle of champagne for us to enjoy. Simple touches, but so very much appreciated to help set the scene for our celebratory weekend. Why not go overboard in moments like this?!
So, next to mention is the suite …. hmmm… lets just say that we were tempted to move in permanently. As I unpack my little case, I have a giggle about the thought of our suite being about 3 times the size of the apartment I used to live in, at Bondi Beach. Yes, I think we’ll be more than comfortable here for the weekend. And then there’s the sweeping view of the grounds and parkland from our private balcony terrace. The ideal location for our pre-dinner champagne at sunset!
Irrespective of how beautiful the scenery may be, I’m always an eager beaver to stretch my legs after a car journey, so we decide to explore the grounds, and make our way down to the beach – just a quick 10 minute walk from the hotel. What a joy to have sunshine kissing my skin and to see the ocean! Ahhh… I instantly feel at peace. Nothing beats a walk by the water with the fresh sea breeze washing away all the cobwebs of being perched on my butt for a couple of hours in the car.
After an hour and a bit on our feet, we hear the calling of our bottle of fizz so it’s back to our private balcony terrace for some champagne sipping and a laze in the late afternoon sun, with feet up, catching up on the latest books that we’re reading.
Not long after… our tummies start to rumble so we retreat to our monstrous bathroom to get all dolled up and then head down stairs to Vetiver Restaurant. And there again we’re presented with yet again another beautiful surprise – as the waiter handed us the menus, I open up to a complete vegan menu. Turning to Shaun, I ask him, this couldn’t be a vegan only restaurant surely? To which he replies, when making the booking, he mentioned that we were both vegan. It’s little things like this that REALLY impress me – when someone takes the time to give a little thought to each hotel guest individually. Well, Chewton Glen most certainly give that little extra thought with every fine detail. And here I have a confession to make … with all the excitement of being swept away in the romance of it all, I completely forgot to take mental note of what we were eating so I could share it with you here, but please know that every mouthful was absolutely positively 100% delicious. Vegan cooking at its finest! I did remember this though … wherever possible, they source ingredients locally, including wild mushrooms, asparagus and soft fruits from the New Forest.
Breakfast is the same again, tailored to our vegan desires, and scrumptious!
Sunday is our day to be pampered at the award winning spa – voted ”In the Top 10 of UK Hotel Spa’s” at the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine Reader Spa Awards 2011. Having a love for the ila-spa range and an even bigger love for massage, I’m booked in for the ila chakra well-being (pure bliss) treatment. Being a complete glutton for massage and spa visits, I’m extremely fussy when it comes to judging a body treatment. I’m not interested in someone slippery sliding oil over my body with gentle flowing movements. I can easily do that at home. When visiting a spa, I like to experience something deep, which sends me off to a far away fluffy cloud, and that which requires a therapist with a solid understanding of the body and energetics. Again, I’m seriously impressed with the Chewton Glen spa experience. If only I could pocket my therapist and take her home with me, for it was an incredibly healing 2 hour where not only did the knots in my back get loosened, but the chakra balancing was very much received with gratitude as well.
Had I been here for a few more days their award winning Ananda Facial would have been next on my list to indulge in. Created by ila-spa, the Ananda Facial has been voted the ‘number one’ treatment in Organic Spa Magazines ‘Top Ten Natural and Organic Facial’. This healing and reviving treatment is supposed to bring deep feelings of bliss and peace, as well as beautiful skin! The facial techniques used, open up the energy centres on the face working with the blissful higher energy in the body. Yes please!
After a meet up at the Spa café where we happily top up on freshly squeezed juices and salad, it’s soon time to make our departure. What a fabulously indulgent, relaxing, hedonistic, romantic, peaceful and oh so memorable weekend. We’ll be back for sure!
Other activities that Chewton Glen offer: pilates, yoga, tai chi, dance and aerobic classes, mountain bike trails, crouquet, tennis courts, golf course and more.
A must to check out: recently after our visit the new Chewton Glen Treehouses were finished. Built high among the trees of a secluded valley within walking distance to the main house / hotel, each Treehouse offers ultimate seclusion and all the luxury you’d expect from Chewton Glen with floor to ceiling glass providing panoramic forest views and flooding suites with light.