The Four Seasons Hampshire is set in a beautifully restored Georgian Manor on a 500 acre estate in the English countryside. At only just over an hour from central London by car and just 10 minutes from Fleet railway station (with a train service to London Waterloo Station four times an hour), this slice of country living is easily accessible to anybody who fancies the guaranteed luxury of the Four Seasons set in the glorious English countryside.
Being my fifth trip to this particular Four Seasons, it was nice to be reminded why I love it so. Driving up the immaculate driveway edged by perfectly mown lawns reminds me I am back at a Four Seasons hotel, where nothing is tatty and everything is seemingly perfect. This great country house sits on the top of a hill and looks down over swathes of grassland and wooded copses. More modern wings have been built onto the house containing many of the rooms, and outhouses have been extended and converted to accommodate a stunning spa and extensive pool, as well as a great gym and kids club.
The interior of this Georgian Manor has been beautifully restored. Marble has been used throughout which gives the place a warm creamy hue. The manor and its various wings are adjoined by enclosed glass walkways with under floor heating – ideal for walking bare foot between the rooms and the Spa. Extravagant flower arrangements adorn the hallways and open fireplaces add atmosphere and warmth. Finally the hotel dog, Oliver, who has won a “best hotel dog” award, (he is very, very lovely), lazes in the reception bringing a touch of home to the place.
For our stay we had a Garden Room which is much the same as their Mews and Heritage rooms except for the view. The Heritage rooms have views across the countryside, whereas my view was pleasant looking down upon the internal courtyard with the Hampshire hills in the distance. The decor I would describe as traditional country house with traditional curtain pelmets, a matching curtained headboard, a chandelier and historic photos of the house on the walls. These rooms are actually in a modern extension of the hotel but are sympathetically designed with the usual Four Seasons super comfy bed, great sound-proofing and a couple of arm chairs for relaxing. In our room there was also a large walk in wardrobe for your luggage as well as the classic Four Seasons bathroom with soaking bath tub and separate glass shower, all finished in marble. All my family had a superb nights sleep for both nights of our stay as both the main bed and the kids bed were so comfortable. At hotels I regularly frequent I allow myself to be a little indulgent, waking up fully rested I like ringing down for breakfast and have it delivered to the room, knowing full well that the breakfast at the Four Seasons Hampshire is excellent, from the kids chocolate milk to their addictive cinnamon flavoured bircher muesli.
The main bar and restaurant at the Four Seasons Hampshire are particularly impressive. Walk down a sweeping and enormous ivory marble staircase, to the uber stylish and modern bar and restaurants. Bar 1086 is decorated in a mix of creams and dark woods, which are complemented by modern chandeliers and fun decor, such as vases holding peacock feathers. There is a stylish fireplace at one end and the seating is a selection of comfortable bucket chairs and sofas. This has to be one of my favourite bars outside central London for relaxing with the excellent Four Seasons service. Your glass will never be empty for long.
Next door, the Bistro offers a tasty menu with local ingredients (the lamb shank and stone bass are highly recommended!) and so plentiful that I couldn’t manage desert. Children are welcomed into the Bistro which adjoins Seasons restaurant. Here you can enjoy a food offering worthy of a Michelin star but in a very relaxed dining atmosphere to the tinkling of a live pianist.
Pool & Spa
The Spa, located in an 18th century stable block, has a large swimming pool leading to an outdoor heated vitality pool. The main pool is a highlight for me. It is huge and enclosed in a large Victorian style glasshouse which is full of light and surrounded by comfy loungers. Kids can frolic in much of the pool, but 2 lanes are constantly roped off for adults who want to swim laps. Adjoining the spa and pool are fitness, tennis, yoga and Pilates facilities.
This is a large estate and you can walk, jog or cycle around the grounds on the hotel’s complimentary bicycles. A popular activity here is archery along with horse-riding, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, falconry. If you want to leave the confines of the vast grounds, you can cycle along the Basingstoke canal or to the cute villages nearby.
Like many Four Seasons hotels, this hotel seamlessly combines a stylish retreat for adults with a brilliant place to stay for children. At this Hampshire outpost you have a super spa, fine dining, country walks and a host of county pursuits like riding, but also have a huge pool, an adventure play park, a great kids club. This means that the whole family can enjoy the indulgent break and unlike many hotels in England, children (and dogs!) are welcome in this luxury hotel.
For me, the Four Seasons Hampshire offers a Downton Abbey style escape with all the modernities and luxuries that a Four Seasons guarantees. This Manor house has had a modern, but sympathetic Four Seasons makeover and I love the result. In fact I have already booked another stay, I can’t wait to head back.