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Chewton Glen

Chloe Reeve enjoys a moment of luxury at Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa in the picturesque New Forest

Set within 130 acres, Chewton Glen is a five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel situated on the edge of the enchanting New Forest. This former 18th century Manor boasts seventy-two rooms and fourteen luxury treehouses set within a private woodland. There is an attractive nine-hole golf course and an award-winning spa with twelve luxe treatment rooms. The hotel is also home to the renowned James Martin Cookery School – the very same of Saturday Kitchen fame and Chewton Glen is part of the Iconic Luxury Hotels Collection, which also includes Cliveden House in Berkshire and The Lygon Arms in The Cotswolds.

We are warmly greeted by the staff in the ornately decorated plum-coloured hallway. Sarah, leads us up the main staircase, past a series of grand, looming portraits and into…


… The Masterman Ready Suite, which comprises three substantial rooms and a view of the grounds. There’s a wrap-around roof terrace with loungers and arsenic-coloured wooden shutters that zing against the ancient red brick.

The main space is vast, roughly the size of our London flat and the decor straddles themes of ‘understated luxury’ and ‘country house chic’. Muted tones meet 19th century hunting scenes in gilt frames- there are large blingy mirrors and an ample walk-thru wardrobe. The bathroom is enormous with a separate shower and loo. There are ‘his and hers’ sinks with pear scented Noble Isle products and the piece de resistance… a television mounted in the tiles beside the bath.


We didn’t know what to expect in the restaurant. The website is (as I soon discover to be ‘The Chewton Glen M.O’) infallibly modest, so I’m pleasantly surprised when the food is exceptional. We start strong, with a burrata doused in pink peppercorn and caramelised onion paired with house-baked bread. Natasha, the sommelier suggests a deeply fragrant caramellised Tokai to compliment the creamy mozzarella.

Our waiter Jonny, is utterly charming and possibly a little psychic – because when our mains arrive, we realise we’ve been subtly guided towards combinations of our favourite things. Mine, a pearlescent filet of Halibut with Smoky Taramasalata and an unctuous warm tartare served upon a bed of spinach. My husband has a Grilled Rib-eye with Peppercorn Sauce and chips. It’s a beautifully marbled piece of meat and he’s thrilled with the cook, which manages to unite the often disparate worlds of ‘perfect char’ and ‘medium rare.’ And Natasha is back with another recommendation, this time for a Montenegrin red which she affectionately calls her ‘Sunday Roast Wine’. It’s perfect.

For dessert, my husband is on his own rather, because I can’t eat another thing. But Jonny‘s recommendation, which hasn’t let us down thus far, is for the Pineapple Carpaccio. I warn him that I’m not a pineapple person –  but this isn’t about me – so we proceed. The offending pineapple is hidden under a divine passion fruit espuma that’s sort of like a fruity zabaglione. There’s a sesame seed brittle, micro coriander and a perfect quinelle of coconut ice cream. It’s kind of like a Piña Colada on a plate and turns out to be the perfect ending to an exquisite meal.

Breakfast at the hotel is served in the main dining room – but keen to make sure we’ve utilised the suite to the max, we opt for room service in our own private sitting room. On offer is a comprehensive list of cooked and continental options. I have an Avocado Toast with chia and sun-dried tomatoes – my husband chooses the Full English Breakfast which comes with a perfect fried egg and nicely seasoned high-quality sausage.


I’m very lucky to experience one of Chewton’s signature facials that includes some deliciously scented products from Natura Bissé. My skin feels fabulous for days after – it’s clearer, smoother and the products I use as part of my daily routine seem to absorb better.

My husband (who has been complaining of neck pain for so long that i’m developing one of my own) has a 30 minute hot oil massage which is by all accounts, just the tonic.


The spa is palatial. The swimming pool has towering ceilings, Palladian pillars and painted in a crisp white, is reminiscent of a Roman bath. Rattan loungers beside the pool create a fantastic spot to while away an afternoon.

The gym is extremely well equipped- with a large selection of weights, Technogym treadmills and rowing machines. Even though we’re only there for one night, I’m proud to say that I put it through its paces and emerge feeling ready for the day and extremely smug.

There are saunas, steam rooms and even a foot spa, but we opt for the hydro pool… a series of different experiences harnessing the power of air and water to relaxing effect – it’s a wonderful way to recover after a workout.

Out and About

On the second day, we kit ourselves out in a pair of the hotel’s wellies and brave the mizzle for a walk to the beach. It’s a delightful twenty minute amble that takes in much of the grounds and The Chewton Bunny Nature Reserve. The unassuming footpath delivers you to a rugged but panoramic section of the coastline that would be incredibly peaceful, were it not for the now dramatic weather that turns our brolly inside out. Consider the cobwebs well and truly blown away!

In a Nutshell

Chewton Glen, which opened as a hotel in 1966, is defined by its ubiquitous sense of ‘traditional luxury’. From the moment we arrive, the delightful and experienced staff, ushered us towards a state of deep relaxation – where nothing is too much trouble and anything is possible. There are nods to ‘old-world’ levels of hospitality, personalised service that is subtle and unintrusive. And upon departure, when its raining, the manager even offers to fetch our car –  and honestly, I’d have let him, if it wasn’t full of wet coats and empty crisp packets.


A night at Chewton Glen starts from £460ppn.

Chewton Glen, New Forest, Hampshire, BH25 6QS