Wake up in morning, main-floor suite 31 of Chewton Glen Hampshire. Look out over the terrace at the almost-December grounds of this 130-acre estate.
31 is named Midshipman Easy, for another of Captain Marryat’s books, written in 1847 and immortalised later in Carol Reed’s 1935 film starring Hughie Green, Margaret Lockwood and Harry Tate.
To the gym the moment it opened, at 0630 – they even have designer Antonio Citterio’s futuristic joggers, and a Kinesis and a Power Plate. I am by myelf, the gal and machines. To the pool. To the adjacent vitality areas. To shower, to be yet more clean. To breakfast, to try yet more of that delicious bread.
This is breakfast the way it should be, with French-bottled and local-open yoghurts, and figs and yummy prunes (pitted, of course, as they should be at such a luxury hotel).
The international cold cuts balanced very-English ‘perfect’ hot dishes brought from the kitchen – the kipper (smoked herring) was judged to be ‘best-ever’.
On a day like this, a gal needs a bair of wellies (Wellington boots) and a row of Hunter’s awaits.
I am taken on a hike. The hotel’s owner, the very forward-thinking Ian Livingstone, is building an acre-size walled garden, for apples and pears and plums, and mulberries and much much more (54 varieties in all). First cropping, it is said, will be in 2013.
But before that, July 2012, sees blooming of six Treehouse Suites. Staying in treehouses is obviously a big rage – see the four-room Treehotel in Sweden. Even dining up in the trees can be special – see the two-person treetop-set dining pod at Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood (your waiter comes by zip-trek).
At Chewton Glen, six gigantic metal frames are already rising, 12 feet up out of the ground. Each will hold a pair of one-bedroom suites, with wide decks and hot tubs.
Expect all-glass walls, and cathedral ceilings, bathtubs looking into treetops and above-bedroom semi-secret eyries, for kids. Imagineers Blue Forest did the Basil’s Bar pop-up restaurant last summer at The Goring, London (where Kate Middleton overnighted before becoming Duchess of Cambridge). Breathtaking, cannot wait.
The gal padded back, through autumn leaves, thinking even at the top you can never rest on those proverbial laurels.