If you’re looking for a relaxing break that’s an easy distance from London than the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire should be firmly on your list.
I jumped on the train at Waterloo and within forty minutes I’d arrived at Fleet Station to be whisked away to this gorgeous Georgian Manor House…
Regular readers may remember me visiting Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire last year for a spa day. Back then renovations were taking place and exciting changes were afoot for this luxury hotel but now everything is complete and I was excited to see the changes. In particular I was here to experience the hotel’s brand new and recently opened restaurant, Wild Carrot and a new quarterly event known Seasonal Socials.
There are three wings in the manor house featuring slightly different style rooms and suites. My heritage suite was inspired by the Hampshire countryside and I loved the large floral tapestry behind the bed and the elegant quintessentially English furnishings.
The room was super spacious with a separate seating area and dining area and views out to the hotel’s beautiful grounds.
And in true Four Seasons style, I’d been welcomed by some beautiful fresh flowers and cheese! I alway love a welcome amenity but I don’t think I’ve ever been greeted by cheese before and as someone who prefers savoury to sweet it was a very much welcome sight.
The bathroom is very special, clad in marble and with a huge roll top bath, it the perfect place to relax and afterwards you can snuggle up in one of the thick and cosy robes with a fresh cup of coffee. With dinner in a couple of hours, I had time for another quick peak around…
The Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is the perfect blend of old and new with a Georgian staircase leading up to the Heritage rooms…
Alongside stylish rooms with all the modern luxuries such as the The Library lounge. This beautiful room has been fully restored to it’s original grandeur and is now an elegant setting for all day dining or afternoon tea. Heading back to my room, I quickly got ready for dinner and then headed down to the newly refurbished Bar at The Wild Carrot.
The bar and lounge area look utterly new and modern but are still totally in keeping with the country classic style of the hotel with the arts and crafts wallpaper. Comfy sofas are perfect for spending hours with the papers or grabbing a book off the shelf and there’s plenty of little private nooks if you’ve come to the hotel for a romantic weekend.
I soon met up with Aftab, Binny and Laura who were all there for the night to experience Wild Carrot too. We soon ordered cocktails and were very impressed by the selection inspired by the manor house, garden and local countryside.
I ordered a Strawberry Fields made was Wight’s vodka, fresh strawberries & cucumber, lime juice, caster sugar and Prosecco, topped with cracked black pepper. It was the absolute perfect refreshing cocktail and just the right balance of sweet and tart flavours.
Designed by renowned designer, Martin Brudnizki, the Wild Carrot is an absolutely gorgeous space. Blending cosy corners and intimate banquets with polished wooden floors and vintage lamps, the pastoral tones of the room are perfectly in keeping with the countryside views from the big picture windows. The name reflects the setting too and a Wild Carrot is actually white wildflower that is found in the hotel’s grounds, Dogmersfield Park.
Adjacent to the Wild Carrot is Fox Hollow, the new private dining room – our venue for this evening’s dinner and the location for future Seasonal Socials. As the name suggests, the Seasonal Socials give Restaurant Chef Adam Fargin the opportunity to showcase the best local, seasonal ingredients. Each of the quarterly dinners will emphasise two particular ingredients with the winter focus being pear and venison.
Kicking things off in true Hampshire style we started with a gin and tonic but this wasn’t just any Gin and Tonic – the gin was Twisted Nose from the Winchester Distillery who produce Hampshire Gins. We were also fortunate enough to meet the creator of Winchester Distillery and hear his journey in developing the gin using local botanicals.
After a few words from the chef, dinner kicked off with a watercress mousse amuse bouche with smoked River Test trout, saffron mayonnaise and pickled Kohlrabi. You could just taste how fresh the ingredients were and a little seasoning made this dish perfect for me.
Every about the Seasonal Social is truly local, including the English wine, Surrey Gold from Denbies Wine Estate – it matched the food perfectly too.
Rosary goat’s cheese and potato pressing with smoked duck breast was our next course and here the chef introduced the key ingredient with some caramelised pear. Finishing off a pretty and delicious plate was heritage beetroot with roasted hazelnuts and walnut vinaigrette
Though I’m not a huge red meat eater, I’m a big fan of venison as it’s lighter than beef or lamb. Sourced from Salisbury, the meat was cooked to perfection and accompanying red cabbage and apple purée added the perfect sweet note. I loved the potato terrine with the perfect crisp edges too.
Caramelised pear tart was just a dreamy dessert and the Devonshire clotted cream and Calvados ice cream were just superb. After a last drink at the Wild Carrot bar we headed up to our individual rooms, fully satisfied from an excellent dinner.
Breakfast is at the Wild Carrot again and as you can imagine, the quality is top notch with both a buffet and an a la carte menu.
You can even see the chefs at work at the open kitchen bar.
After breakfast I would highly recommend a wonder around the beautiful hotel, there are fresh flowers everywhere and the attention to detail is immaculate. My visit to the hotel’s spa last year was utter bliss and as with everything about the hotel, a local concept is applied to the spa. I loved my candle massage that used bees wax from local bees! There’s also the option of the Hampshire Herbal Massage which incorporates herbs from the Hampshire countryside and is the signature treatment at Four Seasons Hampshire.
The idea of taking a turn about the garden makes me think of Jane Austen novels, and the 18th century author was actually a local here. The hotel is actually set on 500 acres including this stunning 16th century walled garden.
As food bloggers it’s never too long until our next meal and it was soon back to the Wild Carrot to sample the new weekend brunch.
Ever thorough, we take our jobs very seriously and basically ordered everything on the menu.
And there were also colourful cocktails all round with drinks such as the Royal Gift (homemade blackberry liqueur with prosecco), Raspberry Fizz (raspberry puree, vanilla syrup, Chambord and fresh raspberry) and Tintoretto which was a mixture of pomegranate juice and prosecco.
Spinach pancakes with smoked salmon and watercress.
The most epic decadent Oreo waffle with Chantilly cream, vanilla ice cream, grilled hazlenuts and caramelised popcorn.
The incredible sweetcorn fritter with feta and girolle mushrooms.
Crab omelette with guacamole
Good old avo on toast with roasted tomatoes and chilli.
Delicious french toast stuffed with clotted cream, cinnamon, strawberry and maple syrup and whole meal ricotta pancakes with passion fruit.
Needless to say, we feasted like absolute kings on this incredible spread – this English country house hotel will not let you go home hungry!! Staying at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is like being in a little bubble of bliss that you don’t want to leave! I’m so happy to have a place like this so close to London.
Upcoming Seasonal Socials at Wild Carrot:
Spring – Watercress and Rhubarb – Thursday 19th April
Summer – Trout and Strawberry – Thursday 5th July
Autumn – Hog and Apple – Thursday 4th October.
Call +44 (0)1252 853100 0r email wildcarrot.ham@fourseasons to book.
PIN FOR LATER:
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire
A huge thank you to Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire for hosting us for this event. Needless to say I’ve been a Four Seasons fan for many years and I was thrilled to be invited.