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“Country getaway--tranquil escape or kid-filled stay--depends on when you visit”

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Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Dogmersfield
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles CA
Level Contributor
170 reviews
106 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 825 helpful votes
“Country getaway--tranquil escape or kid-filled stay--depends on when you visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 2013

As a getaway from my week-long London getaway, I booked one night here online. I first heard about this hotel on a show on the Tennis Channel about tennis-friendly places around London. I booked a Friday night stay, which turned out to be on the cusp of the hotel's transformation from a tranquil midweek escape for adults to a raucous child-centric weekend getaway for London families. Actually, the week after my stay was a half-term holiday for kids, so the entire week was probably quite noisy. Fortunately, my stay was fortuitously timed so that it was pretty peaceful and enjoyable.

The hotel sits on about 500 acres seemingly in the middle of nowhere, but actually about and hour outside London. No wonder so many Londoners enjoy staycations here. The main building is an 18th century Georgian Manor House that has served as a residence, school, and business before becoming a hotel.. Three additional wings were built behind the house, plus a spa was built in what was originally a stable block, also 18th century.

I took the train from Waterloo Station in London to Fleet Station, about a 50 minute ride, and then a 10 minute taxi ride to the hotel along narrow residential roads. From the hotel's entry gate to the front door, one passes gentle hills, stables, pastures with grazing cattle, a lake in the distance. Very pastoral--city stresses are cast away with the wind; you're in the country now.

I booked a Grand Manor room, which are all housed in the original Manor House, which also houses the lobby, reception area, the Library (for afternoon tea and daytime refreshments), and gift shop. This is also where the hotel's resident Black Labrador named Oliver has his bed. He is a very mellow fellow, and must be quite fit, as he is taken on many walks throughout the day by guests. Other guestrooms are in the wings behind the Manor House. All rooms seem to be of similar size, but the views vary. My room looked out over the estate's grounds, specifically the Belvedere Pond and Fishing Cabin. There were 3 large windows--2 in the bedroom and one in the dressing area/closet. The ceilings were very high, the marble bathroom opulent with a claw-foot tub, separate shower and enclosed WC. There was a Nespresso machine with fresh milk in the minibar fridge. There was a half- crescent window above the room's entry door into a small foyer, then another door to block out light and noise (the room was at the top of a grand wooden staircase, and guests going to rooms in other wings had to walk past the bottom of these stairs from the lobby). It truly felt like I was a guest in someone's grand country home.

Being somewhat isolated, dining onsite is the most convenient option, and the only one not requiring a car. The hotel has 3 restaurants--the most formal is Seasons, with the more casual Bistro next door (along with Bar 1086), plus Cafe Sante in the Spa. There was also a temporary steakhouse opening the day I checked out. Seasons has a special seafood menu (FiSH) on Fridays. The Plateau de Fruits de Mer was very fresh and ample, delicious. I also had the breakfast buffet at Seasons the next morning (Saturday). Apparently on weekends, the buffet offers the most variety when the largest crowds are expected. It was quite a spread, artfully presented and quite tasty. Being the most formal restaurant, Seasons requests that families with children dine early (before 8pm) for dinner, so later diners can have a more peaceful experience, but surely this rule is not enforced, given how kid-friendly Four Seasons hotels usually are. I dined early for dinner, and there were a number of families, all but one was tolerable. For breakfast, eat early for the quietest meal, before the youngsters are up and about.

I did not have a spa treatment, but did visit the spa, and it is a lovely facility, quite large, small children not allowed. The adjacent pool is housed in a glass atrium and has adults-only times. The connecting outdoor vitality pool--a fancy jacuzzi--is for people over age 16.

There are innumerable activities available on the estate; most require prior arrangements. One can fish in the small Belvedere Pond or the larger Tundry Ponds, do clay pigeon shooting, falconry, croquet, tennis, equestrian activities, boating on the Basingstoke Canal (which meanders through the estate), or bike, walk or jog along many trails. I chose to check out a complimentary bike at the fitness centre and followed the 4 -mile Canal trail (maps provided). The trail, which passes open pastures with grazing cows and sheep before running alongside the canal, was quite muddy in spots. I saw a few guests walking the trail in rubber boots--apparently the hotel offers these boots but I was not informed of this fact and do not know from whom you get them. The ride nevertheless was beautiful and tranquil. There are several lovely old bridges along the canal, as well as some beautiful private homes. The trail seems to be enjoyed by locals also, many with dogs. Returning to the hotel, I came across a bellman who had dropped some guests by the pond for a picnic, then got the hotel's Range Rover stuck in the mud.

The grounds immediately surrounding the hotel include a beautiful formal walled garden, Reed Cottage for preteen babysitting with an adjacent playground, Rose Cottage for teen games, a wedding pavilion, chicken coop, and the aforementioned tennis courts and croquet lawn. In the evenings, there seems to be very little outdoor lighting, so evening walks seem a bit risky.

All in all, a lovely country escape just outside London. Just be aware that when you visit determines the type of stay you will have--it's very much based on children's school schedules.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
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5 Thank pillowsofwanderlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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London
Level Contributor
40 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 March 2013

Just returned from a lovely and relaxing two night stay at the FSH in Hampshire which I highly recommend.

Good points
1. Probably the best service i have ever had at a UK hotel. All of the staff are incredibly attentive, polite and helpful without being overbearing. They really go above and beyond, especially the spa staff who gave me access to their "finishing touches" room to let me borrow make up when i left mine at home and to the evening turn down staff who saw me heading to get ice one night and stopped me to give me some from his cart to save me a trip
2. Room (garden king) was clean, beautifully decorated, well maintained and spacious. Very comfortable bed, huge bathroom.
3. Food was excellent. We ate in all three restaurants, the spa, the bistro and seasons and all were excellent. Special commendation for breakfast. Wow. A great buffet including a choice of sausages from local farms
4. Hotel very helpfully lends wellies, coats and maps so you can go for a brisk walk around the grounds to walk off breakfast
5. Spa has lots of beds and the staff work hard to keep the spa tidy, constantly providing clean towels etc. there is also lots of iced water on tap. The spa is open to country club/ non residents so expect an influx of families with young kids. It's not peaceful! There are however two slots a day which are kid free, and the pool permanently has adult swim lanes which is excellent
6. An oasis about an hour from London.

Only slight gripes, and these are typical of the industry rather than specifically re the four seasons.
Charging £12 for internet access when you have spent over £300 pn on a room is a bit cheeky. This can be avoided if you use the business centre.

Discretionary service charge of 12.5% on everything. Granted, you can cross through it on the bill and not pay but the onus is on you to opt out rather than opt in. Tips used to be a reward for good service. This practise of having an automatic service charge is, in effect, just pushing the prices up in disguise.

Would recommend this hotel for a luxury break close to london

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank WilmaLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 February 2013

We stayed for just one night, arriving for lunch and then enjoying a walk around the open premises and a short gym/spa session before having dinner. Everything was superb! Facilities, rooms, service, food, etc. They are also very dog friendly.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank magdom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level Contributor
28 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2013

We've stayed at the FSH several times since my daughter was born - it's our long weekend away treat break.
Typically we try and book on the "stay two nights, get a third free" and book a Four Seasons Executive Suite, as this has a separate lounge where we have the bed for the little one. Now she's at school, we can't take advantage of this so much, but for a carefree weekend away, we're prepared to stump up.

As other reviewers have noted, there are a lot of children. In fairness I would not be quick to recommend this to a couple wanting a quiet weekend away. But if you do have children and can take the hit on the room rate, everything is sorted for you.
There's always a treat for the kids in the room when you arrive. When my daughter was under three, this was a duck in the bath and her name in foam letters. Now that she's a bigger girl, there's also a piped chocolate name on the table and some sweets when we arrive...(Mixed feelings on that one!).
We usually eat in the bar early so that we can get her out of the way, kids menu is basic but works.
Kids club is in a separate cottage and the staff are very nice. There's also now a great new adventure playground on the lawn next to it.
We've eaten at Seasons a couple of times for dinner, it's ok, but the last few stays we've preferred just to relax in the bar once the babysitter arrives.

Notes
Pool is good, they do have some armbands and noodles for kids,and spare swim nappies if needed. It can get busy mid afternoon on a saturday when school hols are on.
Horseriding - the grounds are lovely for a gentle hack (which is about as much as I'm up to).
Breakfast - lovely buffet. But- if you stay a long weekend, on a Monday when it's NOT holidays, there's a continental buffet only and you need to order anything hot off the a la carte.
Welly boots provided should you want to take a constitutional around the grounds.
Sunday lunch at Seasons is really good, and plenty of activities laid on for the children.

Bottom line, it's not cheap but we know we will get great service and facilities where a little person is welcome. Looking forward to going back this year.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Finlo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Watford
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2013

I took my Mum here for a spa day, on recommendation from a friend. Overall I was very pleased with how we were received and with the spa in general. The staff were lovely and friendly, the pool was clean, and there were plenty of spare towels and robes to use.

We got in on an offer, which was £100 for a spa day plus ninety minutes of treatment, although I think from looking at the website it would usually be much more expensive to come here. Based on this I think we got a very good deal. The treatments were a facial and a massage, and they were excellent. The therapist really knew what she was talking about and it was all really relaxing - I definitely felt the benefit afterwards.

There were only a couple of minor niggles that I think let the Four Seasons down as a spa location. Firstly, as the pool is shared by the hotel, you can find yourself surrounded by rowdy children at different points during the day, as we did. If you're after a snooze by the pool that can make it a bit tricky! Also, there weren't very many options in the restaurant that were either vegetarian or light. Ideally when I go on a spa day I like to have a good salad option so that I feel like I'm having a healthy day but most of the food on offer was very heavy, which wasn't great just before a massage.

That said, this is a very pretty location with lovely facilities and good staff. It's definitely a good place to go for treatments and I would recommend it on this basis. However, if you want to get away from it all and really relax, you might want something a little less family-orientated.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank cocochadwick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2013

My husband and I stayed at The Four Seasons hotel, Hampshire with our 5 month old daughter. We chose the hotel because of its child friendly reviews and boy did it live up to that reputation. There are so many baby/child friendly aspects to this hotel that it is little wonder so many families were there over the Christmas period when we stayed. From the baby amenities pack to the staff who went out of their way to welcome children into the spa and restaurants, this is the perfect hotel if you want to combine luxury with a family break. As soon as we got to our room and put our baby on the king size bed, her face lit up and smiled as if to say 'are we really staying here'?! She has good taste already and I can see she is going to cost me a small fortune on future holidays.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank SajRussell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brentwood, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2013

Booked a two night stay here for myself and my husband. We were looking for a hotel with character, relaxing spa, good food and wine. Although the Four Seasons did provide us with most of these, we could not believe how family orientated it is. At times, the bar and restaurants felt completely over run with small children running about and climbing on furniture! I had booked our break over the last weekend of February half term, perhaps it is quieter during term times. If you are looking for a couples type break and fancy trying this place, I would definitely recommend trying term time. One member of staff told us they had 50 children staying in the hotel that weekend. Most seemed to be under the age of 5. It just wasn't what were expecting!

Aspects of the hotel we liked:
- Majority of the staff were friendly and professional. It is not a stuffy hotel, probably because they do cater for so many families with young children.
- Liked our room. We booked a Grand Manor room and were allocated room 1202. Tastefully decorated, comfortable bed and fairly large. It has 3 long windows in the bedroom looking out to the grounds at the front and side of the house. We were hoping for an amazing view as described on the web site but it didn't do much for us - perhaps because our break was in February and the fields, trees and lake in front of the house looked bleak. Great en suite marble bathroom with a massive free standing roll top bath, separate shower and toilet. The Asprey Purple Water toiletries were quite nice.
- Good range of amenities in the room: tea/coffee maker - with fresh milk in the mini bar, iron and ironing board. Two big wardrobes with plenty of hangers.
- Swimming pool area was clean and attractive. Liked the outside vitality pool that you swim out to.
- My husband really enjoyed his spa treatment.
- We enjoyed most of the food at the hotel. We ate in the Spa restaurant which has more of an oriental theme to the menu - the food here was great. We ate in the the Seasons restaurant on both nights of our stay. We had a very different experience on both nights. The 'usual' Seasons restaurant was excellent. We did not enjoy the Fish themed night as much. They do this every Friday. Wasn't really the food though that was the problem. Our table was booked for 9.15pm and even at this time there were tons of children in the restaurant, it was very noisy and some were running round the tables! Breakfast was great on both mornings. The buffet has an excellent range of choice including an egg station: the chef will cook hen or duck eggs however you choose and a choice of about 6 different types of sausages along with the usual cereals, fruits, breads and pastries.

Aspects of the hotel we did not like:
- Many more very young children that we expected. I suppose this place is excellent for families but it was not the type of break we were hoping for. At times the pool and restaurants were very noisy.
- It took a long time to get served in the bar.
- Our room was not serviced until after 4pm. House keeping did not replace tea or coffee but did remember to replenish the fresh milk
- They like to play fairly loud music in the restaurants and bar areas. It really got on my nerves in the restaurants, especially over breakfast. The Fish night in Seasons was accompanied by a guitar player belting out tunes and the usual Seasons dining experience by a pianist which was quiet nice but why do we need to have loud Jazz/Swing music played over breakfast? I understand that most hotel bars will have some kind of ambient music playing but the volume was annoying.


I feel slightly mean awarding 3 stars. It could have been a great break for us but unfortunately it was so busy with young children it spoilt the experience for us. I would recommend this hotel to families but I would warn couples that they should take care when they book. It was an expensive two night stay, it would have been worth every penny if it had been relaxing, I guess our timing was wrong!

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank AngeS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England

Property: Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England
Address: Dogmersfield Park Chalky Lane | Chalky Lane, Dogmersfield RG27 8TD, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Hampshire > Dogmersfield
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Dogmersfield
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England 5*
Number of rooms: 133
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set amid 500 acres of Hampshire parkland, yet only 1 hour from central London, Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is the perfect English-country escape. Centred on a historic Georgian Manor house, rooms feature English-style interiors with spacious, en-suite marble bathrooms. Guests can enjoy an array of country pursuits including horse-riding and clay-pigeon shooting, and outdoor activities such as tennis and cycling. The luxury Spa, situated in the renovated stable block, features a conservatory-style infinity pool and outdoor vitality pool, and a tree-top challenge, the Highwire Adventure, is situated in the estate's woodland. Seasons restaurant offers traditional British classics with a modern twist, made with the finest locally sourced produce. Adjacent to the restaurant, Bar 1086 serves a range of seasonal cocktails and Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire's own craft ale, the '1086'. Guests can also delight in Afternoon Tea in the Library, overlooking the rolling Hampshire Hills. Pets welcome. From 17th October to 2nd December 2016, Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire will be undertaking an enhancement programme of the ground floor facilities of its Manor House. During this period, arrival at the Hotel will via The Club & Spa at Four Seasons and provisions are in place to guarantee a seamless check-in experience. Afternoon Tea will during this time be served in Seasons. The Hotel Team is committed to minimising disruption to guests throughout the duration of the enhancements. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
4 Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England
Four Seasons Hampshire England
Four Seasons Hook
Hook Four Seasons
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England UK

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