Destination Dispatches: Four Reasons for a Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire Holiday

- Joy Pecknold, Passport blog editor

Whether you’re a Londoner looking for a mini break, or a tourist that’s had their fill of the city, there’s classic English countryside living in a style befitting the Queen to be snapped up just 60 minutes from the U.K. capital. Here within, I’ve got four reasons to Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire for a weekend.

The Sustenance
My expectation with staying somewhere in the country is that I’ll be stuck eating ho-hum food. That’s often the case, but to my delight, not so here. The Four Seasons doesn’t seem to stand for it. I had a scrumptious and artfully presented dinner at Seasons, their white-table-clothed fine dining offering. Although I declined ordering dessert that night (too full), I received something infinitely better—a few unexpected sweets with a sweet message.

On Sunday afternoon, friends from the city met me for the hotel’s special Farmer’s Market Lunch. And “wow” really is the word for it. The buffet spread, much of it locally sourced, is astounding; something close to what a heavenly feast might entail, or what Charlie experienced walking into The Chocolate Factory, except a more balanced diet. Their traditional Sunday Roast included some six different types of meat (of which I tried four—I’m a glutton), salad table, seafood table, cheese and charcuterie table, dessert table, Indian curries, and surely I’ve neglected to mention a number of others. Oh, and it started with champagne and cost a reasonable £45.

The Spa
I’ve never had such a thorough and lovely tour of a spa till now. The attendant who guided me around was so cheery and ensured that I knew of all the amenities I could take advantage of, and what a lot of them there are. I spent my time having a relaxing massage treatment, reading magazines in the lounge, hanging out in the hydrotherapy pool with its scores of massaging jets and warming up in the amethyst steam room—a quick row and run in the fitness centre too, just to say I wasn’t a complete sloth. There’s also an indoor pool (with adult-only times, I might add), a host of fitness classes offered—including Zumba and Pilates—and all-weather tennis courts. Sadly, I captured no photos of this part of my experience, because I was too busy enjoying it. You can’t fault me for that, can you?

The Sport
While you could be happy just to wander the lush, green grounds, there’s a hefty list of activities to try should you need more stimulation. There’s clay pigeon shooting, croquet, falconry, fishing and bikes available to borrow. You can also rent their 17-meter canal boat and host a cocktail and canapé party for friends while cruising down the Basingstoke. I opted for an hour-long hack out of their on-site equestrian center. When in England, as they say. It was a jolly old time, and by the end of my ride, I’d perfected my “dressage posh face.”

Let’s get a close-up, shall we. As well as the horse’s reaction to my nonsense.

The Surroundings
Do you appreciate pastoral views and spectacular sunsets? Yes, you do. I immortalized both on Instagram from the window of my room. Look at the two photos shown below (p.s. there’s no filter on that sunset one) and imagine the only sound you hear is the faint, sweet sound of happy little birds chirping, and the occasional goose honk, which I mistook for a vibrating iPhone (you know you’ve been in the city too long when…). That’s what it’s like. Now, ready, set, escape the city—it’ll be right where you left it on Friday come Monday.

Read more on country getaways:
Stays Inspired by: Downton Abbey
Fresh Picks: Haute, Historic, Homey Hotels
Haute Country Life at Cowley Manor

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