My family and I just spent the last few days of 2022 in the English countryside, soaking up the fresh air and rawness of a British winter at the majestically yet cozy Four Seasons Hotel, Hampshire which is only 40 minutes from Heathrow airport and just 1 hour away from London by train, making it a great country escape and a spellbinding city break.
The main Four Seasons hotel building is a stunning Georgian manor house which dates back to the 18th century and is surrounded by endless, rolling 500 acres of beautiful and very quintessential English countryside. As we entered the grounds through the main gate and moved down the winding road leading to the main manor house, we spotted a very regal horse and carriage ready to take guests around the property. It was so lovely to see and really a warm welcome for what was to come over the next 4 days of our stay.
In typical Four Seasons hospitality you are greeted at the door by the FS team including my friend and General Manager Mr Andrew Harrison. But this warmth and personal touch was not just reserved for me as I noticed Andrew welcomed all the guests to the property, reconfirming that famous Four Seasons motto and ethos: “Luxury is Four Seasons Love Language”…
As you enter the manor house, on the left is the drawing room/lounge with wood paneling and a large fire place – think Downton Abbey furnishing, a fire place and reception in the foyer and to the right the bar and afternoon tea dining area.
The Manor house has an extension which provides more rooms and suites, the dining area and takes you to the wonderful Spa and swimming pool.
We stayed in a wonderful one bedroom suite with a sofa bed in the living room. There was ample space for a family of 5, which was super comfortable. As a lot of my clients request a 2 bedroom suite, I went to see the Royal Suite which was absolutely stunning. Two large bedrooms with ensuite and walk in wardrobes, a dining room, kitchen and the largest living room I have ever seen, I lost count of how many sofas, ottomans and chaise lounges where in this room. The entire suite opens up onto a large terrace with a dining table, perfect for al fresco dining in the summer months as the sunsets across the vast open fields. This room in particular and also the other suites are perfect for some of my family clients that travel in big groups and want to stay together in hotels that cater to large families.
The beautiful spa offers many treatments and is home to the swimming pool and vitality pool along with Sharkies reef pool for the young kids (don't worry they are located separately so if you don't have kids, enjoy the tranquility of swimming in silence.)
There is a gym, however I clearly didn't visit it, with the beautiful grounds on offer, it was a morning run across the fields which satisfied the soul!
With an array of indoor and outdoor activities to keep the entire family busy, it doesn't matter what the Great British weather is like, you and your family will surely be kept busy.
Kids are given a Four Seasons passport on arrival in order to collect stamps of where they have been and what activities they have participated in with the grand prize at the end being a special gift on departure.
Equestrian – on the grounds is a beautiful riding school, however if you’re not into horse riding, I would still recommend a visit to the stables to meet the ponies and horses. As mentioned earlier you can also enjoy a horse and carriage ride around the property.
Meet the Alpacas who were just the cutest – 4 in total all around 1.5 years were so adorable. You can also have a private meet and greet with the owls and falconry.
Keeping with the winter theme you can enjoy ice skating or play archery. When its not the winter season, you can enjoy cycling around the property, clay pigeon shooting, croquet, tennis, fly fishing or simply take in the array of birds. There’s also a high wire obstacle course including zip lining which is always so much fun for kids.
If you simply just want to go for a walk then grab a pair of wellington boots and explore the grounds. Don't worry the hotel has all shoe sizes from kids to adults so let the kids splash away.
During our stay, the hotel arranged a local Pantomime to perform Aladdin for all the children, which went down very well with all the young hotel guests.
Kids For All Seasons
Through the immaculate gardens you will find a beautiful cottage which has been designed as the kids club – “Kids for all Seasons” The young children have many activities on the ground floor while the older kids have a fully equipped games room upstairs.
There’s also an outdoor climbing/ activity centre to keep the kids busy in the summer months.
Afternoon Tea, which is served in the library, looked amazing and was busy every day – so pre book to avoid disappointment.
The main restaurant is Wild Carrot – it serves a wonderful buffet breakfast and every evening a delightful dinner incorporating a theme from around the world (while we were there we were transported to back to the Middle East and India). Theres also an a la carte menu if you are not in the mood for a vast spread. Kids 5 years and under dine with the compliments of Four Seasons.
Off Piste is a pop up restaurant influenced by Mr Harrison the hotel GM which is located in the hotel grounds inside a tepee serving a Swiss inspired menu featuring a selection of charcuterie boards and cheese fondue!
Every single one of my Four Seasons write ups in the many FS locations I have been to around the world always contain the words: thoughtful luxury, personal touch, feeling of a home away from home, immaculate, personalized service, that unique Four Seasons vibe etc. Four Seasons Hampshire was no different and what made this Four Seasons so unique in its own indelible way was that it combines the raw rustic feel of an English countryside experience with an authentic luxury stamp and that special Four Seasons luxury standard. It is a perfect family retreat and a great escape from city to the countryside while also serving as a dazzling alternative London base at any time of the year - especially for my Emirati and GCC clients who regularly visit London and struggle with appropriate accommodation options in the busy city.
PS. When you are planning to stay at any Four Seasons Property, don't forget to download the Four Seasons app in order to craft and personalize your stay - make any pre bookings you require and personalize everything you desire in your room for a more comfortable and relaxed stay.
Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpobjcWMIQo&t=5s
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