I visited the Montagu Arms with a friend a couple of weeks ago and every aspect of our stay exceeded our expectations.
The setting is sensational - right on the waterfront with wild horses milling along the road. The gardens to the rear of the hotel are beautiful. There is a croquet lawn at the top and the lower part of the garden which extends from the bar/lounge centres around a water feature ... we enjoyed tea and the newspapers in the morning here and drinks at sundown ... total bliss.
On arrival, as we pulled up in the car park we were greeted by a perfectly turned out porter - so traditional - who escorted us to reception. On checking in we were kindly offered an upgrade. Our room was beautiful - it was a deluxe suite tucked away in the corner of the hotel with views in three directions. The bedroom was comfortable and beautifully light. The bathroom had a bath and shower with fluffy towels and bathrobes. There was also a lounge with a study area which was beautifully appointed.
Given that this is a fairly small country hotel (I think it had 22 rooms) the standard was remarkably high - more akin to 5* luxury - but the difference was the attention to detail. There was a filter coffee maker in the room, bottles of still and sparkling water (which were refilled on request) and as well as receiving the weather forecast for the following day you had tea and coffee brought up to the room in the morning before breakfast - this was a very nice touch.
The restaurant has a michelin star - quite unexpected. I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed by my main course - the veal was overcooked and rather tough which was a shame. However this did not ruin the meal since the experience as a whole was lovely. On arrival at dinner we were taken through the bar where we had a pre-dinner drink and were presented with the menu and the waiter explained the process ... this was very civilised. After being seated at our table we were served an amuse-bouche which I have to admit was simply divine. I then took the lobster ravioli which was absolutely delicious and my friend was equally pleased with her scallops followed by fish. We both took the lemon tarte for dessert which was the perfect way to end our meal.
Breakfast was equally good. The selection of food was excellent. My scrambled eggs were slightly overcooked for my liking but the wonderful waiter could see this and swiftly arranged for a fresh plate of eggs to be prepared. In fact, our young waiter - I think his name was Matthew - offered us the most remarkable service. He was fairly new at the hotel and yet his attention to detail was perfect and the warmth of his demeanour was so welcoming ... nothing was too much effort.
The service we received at every stage of our visit was in fact the best I have received in a long time and I am fortunate to visit a lot of lovely hotels. From the very helpful lady at reception (I think she was called r=Rachel) to the staff in the restaurant, the porters and the housekeepers ... everyone made us feel at home as guests.
If you want to go out:
1) Go and visit the spa at the sister hotel Careys Manor which is about a 5-10min drive from The Montagu Arms. You can swim and use the jacuzzi/sauna etc for free. If you want to access the spa facilities you pay a small surcharge (I think it was about £20) which we did and it was worth it. We also booked a massage which was excellent and well worth the money.
2) Go and visit Exbury Gardens which is also about a 10 min drive from the hotel - there is a lovely little steam railway and a walk around the gardens is lovely. This is a lovely way to spend 2 hours.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in Beaulieu village, this 18th-century hotel is the perfect place for a gourmet break, romantic getaway or walking holiday. The Montagu Arms Hotel oozes traditional character with crackling log fires, oak panelling commodious sofas and beautiful gardens. The Terrace Restaurant makes it the venue of choice for foodies with head chef Matthew Tomkinson at the healm, who is one of only 34 Roux scholars in the world. The Terrace Restaurant pays homage to both tradition and innovation using the finest seasonal ingredients to create award-winning dishes. "We are not ones for passing fads, every ingredient has to deserve its place in our dishes," says Matthew. "No gimmicks, Just great food". Our country pub, Monty’s Inn, offers wonderful home-cooked classics, whilst Afternoon Tea can be enjoyed in our conservatory or gardens. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Montagu Arms Beaulieu
- Hotel Montagu Arms
- Montagu Arms Hotel Beaulieu, New Forest