We are blessed with many fine hotels in the UK. All the 5* chains are well represented in all major cities. But we also have a wealth of boutique and Country House hotels and each is unique and characterful. The New Forest is beautiful and mostly unspoilt and it also has hotels which reflect the area’s style and culture. Hotel TerraVina is one such hotel.
Hotel TerraVina has a reputation for quality and is recognised as one of the best hotels in the area – and in this case it’s well-deserved. It’s impressive in an accessible fashion. It’s whimsical rather than intimidating. One seems to enter a private home – but a home owned by folks with impeccably good taste and a flair for cosy.
Owners Gerard Basset and his wife Nina purchased the hotel, conveniently close to Southampton, in early 2007. They spent months renovating, using the evident high skills of local craftspeople. This hotel is reminiscent of the best of similar accommodations in California or even Oregon wine country. There are wine connections aplenty and you can learn more in the TerraVina Restaurant review here.
A swimming pool tempts the travel-weary
There are lots of public spaces but all are intimate and well proportioned. The restaurant is renowned, and leads off to a covered terrace ideal for afternoon tea during the summer. The gardens are fringed with mature trees, and a swimming pool in the corner tempts the travel-weary tourist, and children who aren’t weary at all.
There are charming design details here and perhaps that’s no surprise, as Nina has had a career in hotel hospitality. She knows what works. TerraVina Dogs lounge on every bed but won’t need walkies as they are stuffed and act as Don’t Disturb notices for the staff or as door stops. The rooms are individually designed and all are well-appointed. Bathrooms are luxurious with tubs complete with rubber duck. The toiletries are local and hand-made from organically-grown lavender, and are eminently stealable, although there might not be much left after a brace of long and lingering hot baths x 2. Our room had the advantage of a totally private roof terrace with a view over treetops. Nothing skimpy here, just acres of space complete with loungers and associated outdoor furniture.
A classy snuggle
Yes, there are all the usual entertainment and technology features but it’s the calming ambiance which will assure a return visit to this country haven. So many hotels mention the quality of their beds and I have never noticed any difference between those and my own, purchased from a favourite Scandinavian home-goods store. But Hotel TerraVina presented a bed in which to sink, in which to wallow, in which to snuggle. Yes, that’s it! This hotel is a classy snuggle and the hospitality equivalent of soothing music, good book and soft sofa.
Food is a huge element, or should be, of any break away, and breakfast is not only an important but an eagerly anticipated meal. Once again the owners have a finger on the pulse of their guests. The menu is classic but the brekkie aficionado will note the inclusion of soft-boiled eggs and soldiers! That touch alone should convey the sensitivity and wisdom of both Nina and Gerard Basset. A simple gesture, but summing up the hotel in general. This is a fun display of polished yet natural cachet with delicious flourishes, and I am already planning the next trip.
174 Woodlands Road
Phone: +44 (0)2380 293 784
Fax: +44 (0)23 80 293 627
Hotel review by Chrissie Walker © 2018