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Four Seasons Hampshire

The one bad thing about the idyllic Four Seasons Hampshire, says Olivia Allwood-Mollon, is having to leave

The credentials

A stunning Georgian manor house set in acres of idyllic Hampshire countryside. Boasting its own lakes, tennis and croquet courts, riding stables, spa and shooting ground, the hotel has enough to occupy even the most restless of guests.

The brand-spanking new restaurant, Wild Carrot is named after the dainty white wildflower found plentifully in the fields that make up Dogmersfield Park, the hotel’s estate. Overseen by executive chef Dirk Gieselmann working closely with restaurant chef Adam Fargin, Chef Dirk’s signature dishes reflect his culinary journey and experience and sit alongside Chef Adam’s contemporary take on British classics.

Created with acclaimed designer Martin Brudnizki at the helm, Wild Carrot is distinctively British in design. Offering rolling countryside views framed by beautifully large floor-to-ceiling windows, the spacious dining room exudes a stylish yet relaxed feel. Alongside the restaurant, The Bar at Wild Carrot features an exceptional menu of classic cocktails and artisanal concoctions, inspired by seasonal ingredients and the intriguing history surrounding Hampshire and the Hotel’s estate.

Sleep

Our room was directly above the entrance of the main house, with a vast, exquisitely comfortable bed, high-ceilings and marble bathroom with free-standing tub and views of rolling hills and lakes as far as the eye can see.

As with all Four Seasons hotels, we slept brilliantly on billion thread-count Egyptian-cotton sheets, and given our own way would have stayed in bed forever. The rooms are beautifully designed and decorated, traditional – with all the mod cons, huge opening windows and perfect climate control.

Dine

Wild Carrot has a large yet brilliantly curated menu – traditional dishes with a contemporary twist, such as the sharing beef Wellington with rich mushroom duxelle, cabbage and truffle sauce, or the Surrey beef gourmet burger, with blackberry chutney and caramelized onions in a brioche bun. They also have a very impressive selection of wagyu steaks

The layout includes intimate, cosy booths, or larger wooden tables with comfortable leather sitting. The rolling countryside views are framed by large door-to-ceiling windows. And there’s an additional open kitchen bar where you can actually interact with the chefs whilst they cook your favourite dishes. For those wishing to dine al-fresco, Wild Carrot features an open terrace in the style of the traditional English garden, draping with green foliage and delicate lighting.

Our meal was fantastic. I opted for the salmon tartare with crispy poached egg, watercress and lemon crème fraîche, £12, followed by a rare wagyu sirloin £68 with an off-menu mixed salad. The steak was tender and juicy; flavoursome as they come. If I were to have any complaints at all, and really I don’t, it would only be the lack of options such as sautéed spinach, or broccoli or green beans as a side. The only almost-green option was teriyaki pak choy with sesame seeds, £4, which I didn’t sample.

Beloved Boyfriend (from here on out BB), opted for the burrata with heirloom tomato, rocket, aged balsamic, grilled garlic ciabatta and pine nuts, £16 to start. Most of which I ate as it was even better than my salmon. He followed this with the salmon fillet with whisky and vanilla cured lemon crust, sautéed pak choy and teriyaki sauce, £27, which, having prohibited me from touching, I hear was delicious.

Breakfast at Wild Carrot was also fantastic. I opted for eggs Florentine with buckets of coffee and several delectably moist croissants on the side. BB had sausage, bacon and eggs with granary toast, and lashings of freshly-squeezed orange juice – also faultless.

The hotel also has spa café – Café Sante serving lighter options and a more casual Library drawing room café-cum-daytime-restaurant, which does fantastic club sandwiches served with the best French fries this side of Paris.

Who goes there?

A fair share of international and US guests trusting the familiarity of the Four Seasons brand, couples craving a weekend out of town, and many families trailing well-behaved and well-dressed progeny. Locals also pop in for the day to visit the top-notch restaurants, spa and activities on offer.

Out & about

The surrounding area is idyllic, but why anyone would leave the extensive and brilliantly maintained grounds is beyond me. The hotel is only an hour from London, traffic contingent; so international guests might use it as their base if they want the England experience with the odd jaunt into town. I believe a train to London is only around half an hour, but you feel as far from the city as humanly possible.

The worst thing

Leaving.

The best thing(s)

Taking a long leisurely bath after breakfast with views stretching out across the sweeping hills and valleys below.

The Georgian architecture really does it for me, and the hotel is full of original features, invisibly brought up to date for ultimate comfort.

The pool and spa area is amazing, with a glass–walled pool with vaulted glass roof leading onto the warm outside hydrotherapy pool, via a swim-through exit. In summer there’s a sunbathing deck filled with loungers, sombreros, sun-waiters (to bring you sun-cream and chilled cucumber water) and outside bar with on-lounger table service.

The Wild Carrot’s décor is spot on. Soft banquette seating contrasts with slick clean lines and a brilliantly tonal colour and lighting scheme. I also have a thing for The Library, the casual-dining restaurant with tables outside.

And as if it could get any better, the hotel is also dog-friendly, with miles of safe off-road walks, its own resident labrador and the option of a dog bed in your room. My pug was in paradise.

The details:

Bed and Breakfast in the Grand Manor King Room based on two people sharing, £530
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, Dogmersfield Park, Chalky Lane, Hook, RG27 8TD; www.fourseasons.com/hampshire

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