Having been to Chewton Glen a few times before, I was familiar with the high standards of virtually everything. The only difference this time was that we had a 3 month old in tow so I had to view things through a slightly different lens. We checked in on Friday afternoon for a 3 night stay.
The room (a courtyard suite I think - although I booked a junior suite) was very nice indeed. The outdoor space was lovely and just right for some quiet time in the sun, for a quiet, unhurried breakfast and for entertaining visitors (it was my birthday and I had some family members visit us on the Saturday).
One downside to the room was that you could hear most of what was happening in the room above us. We had some kids above us running around quite heavily and yelling alot. That was no big deal until I found out that they had the nerve to complain to Reception around 5pm on the following evening along the lines of "Baby has been crying non stop for over an hour!". Clearly an exaggeration and I know the hotel has no option but to pass this on but that didn't help my mood.
On a similar note, after having cleared it with the Spa Supervisor, we took our baby to the indoor pool area on Saturday afternoon where she sat and slept for an hour in between me walking her up and down the side of the pool in my arms while her mother swam. After a couple of hours and as I was preparing her to leave, she started to grizzle a little only for a member of staff to come by straightaway to say that we weren't allowed to be there(?!). When I told her that we had cleared it with the Supevisor beforehand, she promptly went off to get the Supervisor who then came down to help me on my way. It must have looked as if we were being thrown out! Not really very welcoming. I'm not sure if someone complained but given that the baby was asleep for virtually the whole time, I can't comprehend what would have prompted a complaint or for the staff to want us out.
On the Saturday evening I'd organised a dinner for us and two family visitors in the Vetiver restaurant. The restaurant had been partioned off to cater for what appeared to be a very large birthday party. Our table was right next to the partition so it wasn't quite the quiet, relaxed experience we had anticipated. Unfortunately it seemed as if the demands of the party had affected the level of service elsewhere in the restaurant. Our service was very slow indeed and taking our orders took an age while there seemed to be some uncertainty about who was supposed to be taking care of us throughout the meal which resulted in a lot of time spent waiting in between courses. the food and wine were nevertheless very good indeed but it seemed like something was amiss.
There were unfortunately a few other minor irritations during our stay. For example, the hotel booked different babysitters for the Saturday and Sunday nights of our stay even though the first babysitter was available on both nights. When I asked Reception on Saturday to organise that we keep the same one, I was assured that this would be taken care of only for both babysitters to turn up the following evening.
Another midly irritating issue was when my guests arrived on Saturday evening they were greeted pleasantly and told that a call would be made to our room to inform us of their arrival. That call didn't happen with the result that they were sat in the bar for 30mins waiting for us while we sat in our room waiting for them. Minor issue I know, but seeing how quick they were to call through with the complaint about the baby, you might understand my irritation.
"And another thing"....on Sunday mid-morning post breakfast we had the bizarre incident of one of the porters coming into the room uninvited and taking a good look around (with my partner half dressed) before explaining that he had been sent to help us with our baggage (we were checking out the following day). He was duly apologetic but surely you ring the doorbell first?
Having got that off my chest, the spa remains first rate and I had a couple of delicious treatments. The tennis coach is really excellent (Les? - blond chap) and the grounds are really lovely and beautifully maintained. Our restaurant experiences were (aside from the comments above) otherwise very good indeed and the level of service from the bottle sterilising through to the baggage handling was smooth and efficient. There is alo the easy access through Chewton Bunny to the beach at Highcliffe which is one of the reasons why we wanted to return.
All in all, it remains a first class hotel, but it just shows how small things can make a big difference to your level of enjoyment.
- 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