Having arrived, and checked in, what comes next? Checking in. At CHEWTON GLEN HAMPSHIRE this means walking past dozens of adults’ Wellington boots, neatly laid, military order, dull pink, dull yellow and standard green. On past dozens of kids’ floppy toys, all sizes, all beige. Welcome, would you like a newspaper? Yes, thankfully this well-educated establishment has pink ones.
Raymond from France – ‘no-one is perfect’, he says – escorts to the room, through several lounges with lots of working log fires and even more clear glass vases of seasonal flowers from this gorgeous 136-acre estate. Room 72, Beacon, is upstairs in a two-floor block overlooking the croquet lawn. Beacon is about 60sq m total, including a walk-in dressing area (use the table as desk, it has ample sockets and USB ports) and big bathroom (deep tub with instant hot water, double washbasins, double two-head showers).
Beacon is a Wedgwood symphony, shades of blue, and white Wedgwood china – there’s also a Villeroy & Boch fruit bowl. Wall art is framed 18th century fashion plates and croquet-themed cartoons. Appropriately, the French windows open to a balcony, seating for two, and an uninterrupted view down over the croquet. It was a pretty unique and a pretty English view. The whole thing is pretty.
The self-preserving sensible head to the gym for a good post-travel recovery, though frankly watching a youngster leap, both legs together and bent, on up to a 75cm-high box is a bit discouraging. There’s a pool for laps and indoor-outdoor vitality pool-sequence for stimulation. Get out from wellness to be greeted by an eternally-rotating silver ball, above.Walk the grounds, including a watering jungle path to the beach. Inspect the large walled vegetable garden, pristine planting enlightened by shiny silver animal sculptures.
Dinner, main house more formal cuisine or a buggy ride along to The Kitchen, part of The Cookery School. The Kitchen is open-kitchen, which delights the myriad of 8-14 year olds, scrubbed and brushed and well-behaved with their parents (family groups constitute 37% of all hotel bookings here). Metal-topped tables. Red-plaid white linen-look napkins, white noise music from the kitchen. Best sellers are burgers for kids, enormous fish and chips, Pierre Koffmann style, for parents. Alternatives? Try a more-ish rocket, shallot side salad, followed by a simple sirloin, with a glass of Chilean Merlot. All pretty good. Now time for bed.