Every time half term holiday rolls around, be it the February or October break, I find myself wishing we were going away for a few days. Occupying a teen who doesn’t yet have as much independence as she would like can be pretty challenging and I find that being somewhere different generally makes the whole thing a lot easier.
This October we were insanely excited to be invited to stay at the Four Seasons hotel in Hampshire for a couple of days… and when they said we could bring Biscuit too, there was much joy in the OS household. She’s such a huge part of our family that going away with her is something I’ve really come to love.
We packed our bags and headed off on the Monday afternoon. With the weather just having taken a turn for the colder and the trees in their full autumn glory, I felt we were about to experience the very best season of all at the Four Seasons.
Located in Dogmersfield Park (a bonafide Biscuit approved location), the hotel is just off the M3 near Hook, meaning it’s the perfect short hop from London. Carry on further down south and you’ll be heading towards my patch of coastline and the New Forest.
I’d been hopefully anticipating a grand sweeping driveway and that was exactly what awaited us as we drove sedately up to the hotel.
Faced with one of those moments where I was tempted to recite a version of “It’s not that bad having a mum who’s a blogger huh?” to H, I decided that on this particular day I might just be pushing my luck a step too far.
If in doubt, I find that saying nothing is the best strategy when you’ve already teetered on the brink of teen hormone hell that day!
All previous at-home dramas were forgotten once we checked into our executive suite to find iced sweet treats, spacious rooms, a huge bed (I called shotgun pretty darn quick on that as we’ve been know to loose out here before), and the marble bathroom of my Instagram dreams.
Said iced treats were quickly consumed, bags were unpacked and a round of sniffing every possible corner was undertaken in earnest by Biscuit.
Whilst the rest of the family went to explore the grounds and ingratiate themselves with just about every single guest and staff member with their waggy tail and crazy smile (I’m fairly sure this part was only applicable to the dog), I headed off to capture some of my favourite details around the hotel….
a country hotel with a grand, relaxed vibe…
I would imagine that Four Seasons Hampshire is popular with both international tourists seeking something special as part of their trip and UK families who relish the idea of an indulgent getaway treat.
It’s luxurious but with a really lovely laid back atmosphere. The fact that your family dog is catered for and made as welcome as possible was such a big plus point for me.
At various points throughout our stay we were greeted by Oliver, the resident, stately black lab who fairly quickly had Biscuit pegged as the over-exuberant female that she is.
What is it they say about dogs and owners??
Families are so well catered for here with plenty to keep kids of all ages occupied. For the grown ups there’s The Spa with an amazing gym, swimming pool, treatment rooms and the adjacent Café Santé as an additional dining option.
For the younger contingent there are board games and books available in the library, tennis courts and an entire separate games cottage that H declared to be the coolest thing EVER! Yes – it had an Xbox and a Playstation as well as the obligatory air hockey and table football.
And let’s not forget the hotel’s own fully equipped equestrian centre where a half term hobby horse tournament took place during our stay.
As well as cycle hire, clay pigeon shooting and croquet, there’s also a high and low ropes course. A somewhat reluctant Mr OS was harnessed up and hanging about on this the next day at the request of H… and this from a man who does not like heights!
Downtime, dinner and dog sitting
After some downtime (a glass of champagne in the bath for me, reading for Mr OS and “My own TV on my sofa bed with access to snacks from the mini-bar!!!” for H), we enjoyed an amazing dinner in The Wild Carrot restaurant.
The vibe in here reminded me of that of a New York brasserie and it would be a crime not to mention their seasonal based selection that supplemented the main menu… currently dedicated to the truffle. All I’m saying is Truffle Pappardelle… with a little extra grated truffle. Hello Heaven!
And whilst we enjoyed a leisurely family dinner which seems to be a rare treat these days, Biscuit was off with the hotel dog sitter, making friends with yet more staff and anyone else who happened to make brief eye contact.
The next morning the dog had us up bright and early so Mr OS took her for a morning stroll around the grounds as the sun was coming up. There’s a stack of dog towels in reception and wellies on loan for the humans… they even get wiped clean for you as you walk back in.
This is a hotel that truly has every fine detail nailed down to perfection!
We did breakfast in two shifts so as not to leave Biscuit alone in the room – whilst I’m fairly sure she would’ve been fine, I wasn’t prepared to chance it. H accompanied me on my shift and proceeded to take full advantage of the breakfast buffet as only a hungry teen with hollow legs can do.
All the more energy to drag your dad around the ropes course before departing for home!
Current room rates start from: £445 per night.
Various packages are available and rates vary from bed and breakfast through to one that includes £100 credit towards spa or any outdoor activities. It’s worth keeping an eye on the offers page for discounted offers and room upgrades.
The hotel operates a dog-friendly policy providing beds, food and a dog-sitting service if needed.
Due to the central location of this hotel, there’s a number of places nearby to visit including Southampton, London, Winchester, Guildford and Alresford. A lovely American couple we spoke to a couple of times (read: Biscuit had smiled at them and wormed her way into their affections), were even heading off to visit Stonehenge!
Checking out… and the tail is wagging so much it’s just a blur!
Disclosure: Our stay at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire was complimentary and in return, I’m very happy to share details of our trip with Online Stylist readers.
I would definitely recommend this for a luxurious, family getaway treat!