The best hotels in the New Forest
The Four Seasons Hampshire
Just a short drive from the New Forest National Park, The Four Seasons Hampshire might not strictly be inside the New Forest but it has made quite the name for itself among well-heeled capital-dwellers who want to tread that elusive line between being on the precipice of adventure with the stable support of luxury behind them. And, sitting on 500 acres of lush countryside just a 50-minute drive from London, this restored, 18th-century manor – once actually mentioned in the Conqueror’s Domesday Book of 1086 – sits right in this sweet spot. Not many 18th-century country manors, however, have a modern, sprawling spa with a 14-metre indoor pool, a vitality pool, a thermal suite and a ‘relaxation house’. Day trips into the New Forest, horse riding excursions, clay pigeon shooting and boat trips can all be organised via the concierge, while evening trips consist of flip-flopping down the spiralling wooden staircase toward the signature restaurant, the Wild Carrot, with its red-leather bar, brushed-copper shelves and bold and bizarre collection of whiskeys and other spirits which are used to create equally as bold and bizarre cocktails using seasonal, local ingredients.
Rhinefield House Hotel
Affectionately referred to as the ‘jewel of the forest’ by those who know the area well, Rhinefield House Hotel fills a grand and gothic Tudor manor house, full of spindly corridors, secret rooms and imposing halls. A wild horse-clad, ornamental drive winds guests through the ornamental ponds, fountains, terraces and Hornbeam maze on the grounds, toward the steeply pitched roof and red brick chimneys of the main property. The garden’s piste de resistance though, at least for guests looking to unwind, is the ornate outdoor swimming pool, surrounded by a sun deck and the various arms of the palatial hotel. The Alhambra dining room, a replica of the Granada-based palace, is also worth visiting in its own right, peppered with Persian onyx, Venetian glass and intricate mosaics. The charming villages of Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst, with their bustling high streets, are close by, as is the Beaulieu Motor Museum and Lymington on the coast.
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