Its not so easy to write a review for Chewton Glen as I've been coming here for the last 46 years! I've known CG longer then any other similar establishment and it has been a corner stone of all of the major events in my life. I've had my 21st here and numerous birthday celebrations before and indeed after that. My wedding reception in 1977, the divorce party in 1994! Numerous business deals have been agreed and indeed celebrated here. Therefore, I think that I'm at least knowledgeable about this unique hotel.
The hotel has evolved considerably since the Skan family effectively started it's remarkable journey and its fair to say that CG has had its share of ups and downs along the way. A recent visit for an unexpected Sunday lunch, has given me an insight into just how far its latest evolution has taken this english institution.
On arrival you go through the gates and proceed down the long and delightful delightful drive. The original entrance is now the tradesman's entrance. Martin moved it to its present location because the old entrance is opposite a static caravan park! I haven't been to CG for about 9 Months (for dinner) and in daylight, its apparent how much the grounds have matured of late. The parkland style grounds have always been a pleasure to walk in; or just to look at, from the comfort and warmth of the Spa windows on cold mornings.
You soon become aware of the change in surface on the drive way, which it turns out, is to accommodate CG's latests development - the Tree Houses. You are also aware of the limousine style golf buggies, which scurry hither and thither, ferrying guests to and from their retreats, complete with Hot Tub/Jacuzzis. For a moment I reflected on what Martin and Trevor's (Skan) Mum and Dad would have made of this new development? But never have I seen the hotel so busy and yet it still manages to maintain its grace and country house charm.
We were warmly greeted at the main door and the lady was expecting us - nice touch. Then off to the bar for a very good Bloody Mary (£10.00) and my partners Vodka and tonic (£10.50) The nibbles were very good indeed, much better than the ones encountered on my recent trip to Mr Ramsey's Mayfair establishment, Pétrus. Which according to this website, is the number one eatery in London!!! - don't get me started - just read my TA review, herein.
The staff are unfortunately no longer familiar to me, but nevertheless still have the traditionally expected efficiency and attentiveness. You are not left for too long before someone asks if they can help you. Keeping in mind, this was Sunday lunch and the hotel, restaurant and bar were very busy. This is not to say that the amount of people, was unwelcome or intrusive. Judging any establishment at a Sunday lunch time, is perhaps were you will see any cracks - none appeared, which has not always been the case over the years at CG.
We chose from the Sunday menu of the day: £39.00 per Head
My starter was half a dozen Carlingford Oysters - note no surcharge. They were quite the biggest Oysters I have eaten in a very long time - delicious!
A nice touch here, fellow oyster lovers, was that not only had they been perfectly shucked, they had also been completely loosened from their respective shells, which was not the case recently, at a famous seafood grill in Piccadilly; (another favourite eatery of mine) and indeed I shall tell them the next time I go there how CG presents their oysters!
My partner chose the tomato and mozzarella tart, which I also tried and indeed was epic! - beautifully fragranced with just the correct amount of basil. This was a truly memorable dish.
For our main course: I chose the loin of beef, with all of the trimmings: This was served from the trolley with Yorkshire pudding et al - medium rare and topped off with a terrific horseradish sauce. This really was a very good dish, beautifully served and presented. If I was being very critical, I would say that it could have been warmer. Perhaps the plates could be hotter,, The beef was accompanied by a delicious rich gravy (jus)
My Partner ordered the corn fed chicken, served with morel mushrooms: again this was delicious and I would have gladly chosen the chicken on any subsequent visit.
Finally, a strawberry parfait with marinated strawberries and apple tarte tatin - both were delicious and indeed the parfait was perhaps the better choice after the beef?
Wines: A bottle of White Vigneros Buxy Montagny 1st Cru - Chardonnay (£50.00) and with the beef a 175ml glass of Astoria Vini Merlot (£10.00) Very good accompaniments, these were my personal choice. On reflection I may well have asked the sommelier to offer us an alternative/s, which I do on a regular basis, when eating at such noble establishments. But both of the wines were delicious and very well served.
After our lunch we elected to take our mint tea in the main lounge area. A table was reserved for us and on arrival we were treated to beautiful petit fours etc. all of which were served professionally and looked as good as they tasted. This rounded off perfectly, a very much enjoyed lunch time tip to CG.
The Skan era at CG came to close in circa 2006, they provided and will long be remembered for the platform that is todays CG. In particular, Martin and Brigitte were assisted along the way by such Hotel management "names" as Peter Crome (now of Skibo Castle) and Robin Hudson, who founded Hotel du Vin. Andrew Stembridge the current managing director was perhaps the least known, when he got the job towards the end of the Skan ownership.
In my view; what the new owner (in conjunction with Andrew Stembridge) has done is to take CG to the next level. They both should be congratulated on achieving that difficult and no doubt expensive evolution. What we now have is a very slick well run 5* hotel. Perhaps some of the homespun quaintness of the Skan era has been lost? But what is now at CG, is a very professionally run hotel indeed, that has lost nothing of its charm and delivers a product that people spending this sort of money to stay overnight require and demand. Martin Skan always saw CG as the weekend retreat for wealthy clients already staying in the swanky London hotels and needing to get away from London for a weekend. CG is now, at last, very much able to deliver just that and more.
I enjoyed my trip down memory lane and I'm sure that you will too. Well Done and thank you. "The Chewt" is in very safe hands indeed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- An English Original. Chewton Glen is a luxury hotel and spa set in 130 acres of Hampshire countryside on the edge of the New Forest National Park and just a few minutes walk from the sea.12 new luxury treehouse suites now open. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chewton Glen Hotel And Spa
- Chewton Glen Hotel New Milton
- Hotel Chewton Glen
- Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa New Milton, Hampshire, UK