Mr Big’s dream of having a house with a gravelled pathway is a bit far away still for us but as long as we can experience, great hotels like Heckfield Place, we can get a regular taste of it.
The gravelled pathway takes you via a gentle curve to the front of this new luxury country hotel that opened in September after years of waiting.
But the wait was worth it as it is a beautiful hotel that knows how to make you feel welcome, relaxed, appreciated by drowning you in subtle touches of aesthetics, design, art, nature, materials and warmth.
Heckfield review in summary
What we liked
What to be aware of
First of all the interior design.
This is exactly my kind of interior design. A mix of Nordic and English design, antique furnitures and classy French. The colour selection everywhere is just perfect, going from muted greys to green and blue not forgetting the pale pink in the rooms. To be in tune with the land, natural materials are favoured everywhere: bare brick walls, brown oak, bamboo, rattan, wool, fur..
The lounges, drawing rooms and bar are particularly welcoming. You immediately want to spend hours there reading, playing a board game, trying to solve the giant puzzle, having a slice of cake that comes with the complementary afternoon tea each day. The sofas are just so comfortable, the lighting perfect, the service present just at the right moment. Mr Big, Mademoiselle and I spent many hours there.
Throughout the house there is gorgeous art: paintings, drawings, etchings, photography. I wish there was a catalogue for me to read more about each one of them.
You could also choose to spend relaxing time in the superb bedrooms.
We had a Master room in the Corridors. This is the more modern part of the hotel but it’s just as beautifully decorated as the main house. On the plus side, it’s very close to the temporary small spa.
If you come with children, that is where you’ll stay as rooms in the main house are not available to children.
Our room had a lovely palette of dust pink, bamboo, browns and white. It was just utterly gorgeous. Have a look at the pictures to judge for yourself.
The room was of a great size for the three of us and actually felt like a mini apartment. There was a walk in wardrobe, living area with a very comfortable sofa, a table for room service, the bedroom area with a desk on which I drafted this review, and a bathroom which is not huge but perfectly formed. A great walk in shower, a deep bath, double sinks, plush towels, everything you can want to make it a luxurious time.
Oh and the most luxurious, soft, cozy, warm bathrobes we ever tried. We loved them so much that we ordered them online when we got home!
As a nice touch, there was a little Christmas tree complete with fairy lights.
The room opens on your own private garden area and beyond to the entrance to the walled garden.
Sophistication and beauty everywhere at Heckfield Place
In addition to the decor, which my words can’t make justice to, every little touch shows a degree of sophistication and beauty which I only saw before at Domaine des Etangs.
The keys for instance are made of wood and put in a little envelopes with your initials embossed in.
The hotel brochure and essential information is in a mini ipad which is also a book where you can read the history of the place.
The bathrobes are the softest ever, like wrapping yourself up in a cashmere jumper. They are from Ploh and I’m going to buy myself one on their online shop when I go back home.
Nature at the heart of the decor and the food
The flower arrangements are magnificent. I am so impressed by how creative people can be and here, the dry flowers, the trees, the touches of green everywhere, the plant pots, the wild dry branches and foliage on the mantelpieces are just absolute perfection. Artistically put together yet retaining the authenticity of the nature they come from.
The gardens are the pride and glory of Heckfield Place. There is a lot of history behind them and today, the team of gardeners, arborist, florists, farmers maintain and grow them in respect of their heritage. You can have a tour of the gardens where the trees are amongst the oldest and largest you can encounter.
It reminded me of the beautiful trees at Endsleigh.
The restaurant serves food from local producers or from their own farm and gardens, the hotel doesn’t use any plastic anywhere, the beauty products are created from the herbs in the garden and named after the gardener of the house (whose apprentice then went on to create Kew Gardens, so quite a pedigree).
We ate at both restaurants: Marle and Hearth
Marle is where you have breakfast, lunch and diner and is open to non residents. The focus is very much on healthy food with lots of vegetables. We thought it was good but not extremely special. For kids they offer pasta or cheese toastie or any dish on the menu in smaller portion.
Hearth is only open to residents and serves diner on Friday and Saturday. The space is beautiful: located in the former stables, the arched high ceiling gives a sense of grandeur but the big fireplace brings warmth and cosiness. The menu is a 5 courses taster menu highlighting the food of the season. To be honest, we were a bit underwhelmed by it. We thought there would be more dishes cooked in the fire but actually only the beef was. The other courses, while good, didn’t require any great cookery skills and the price for this was too expensive. There is much more they can do with that place and concept: how about a choice menu of grilled meats, fish, pizzas, etc?
What to do at Heckfield Place
By now, you will have understood that relaxation and walking around the gardens is the main activity at the moment. However, they do have a program of various cinema showings, tours of the gardens etc.. that they suggest when you arrive.
There will be a proper big spa towards the end of 2019, in the meantime you can go to the little Bothy. I had a really really nice massage there. First of all, the bed was comfy and wide, second Beth, my therapist, had a firm hand and some gestures I never experienced before. The dim lights, the home made welcome drink and the healthy nibble at the end add to the sense of relaxation.
Afterwards you can go to the relaxation room where the comfiest of the comfiest chair welcomes you while your therapist prepares a camomille tea. Bliss!
Heckfield Place currently doesn’t have a pool but will be by the end of 2019 so it definitely has its place here on From the Poolside. We will probably arrange to return to try it and report back!
Heckfield Place, Hampshire
- 45 bedrooms
- Friends rooms: £350; guest rooms: £500; chamber rooms: £700; master rooms: £1,000;
- And then if you really have cash, the signature suites between £1,750 and-£10,000 a night!!
- If coming with children, you have to go for a room in the Corridors
- Cot & highchair available
- Cinema, some activities organised by the hotel (such as a muppet show when we were there), board games and of course lots of running around the grounds
- Bikes are also available to borrow
- Two restaurants: Marle and Hearth (residents only);
- There will be a big spa with outdoor pool by the end of 2019
- Moon bar; Cellar bar
- Little Bothy Spa with five treatment rooms, yoga studio and gym with partner Bodyism
- 67-seat screening room;
- 400-acre estate with fly-fishing on River Whitewater; running and cycling trails; wild swimming in the river and lakes; and riding on the adjacent Wellington estate
- Really close to London: only one hour 15 min. The nearest train station is Hook and they can come to collect you.