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Mum-to-be Elisabeth Rushton stays at luxury family hotel New Park Manor in Hampshire's beautiful New Forest, and experiences its extensive spa.

A visit to the New Forest

Ourdoor pool, New Park ManorWhilst the name might imply a certain fustiness, New Park Manor is a thoroughly progressive and inclusive luxury family hotel. It benefits from a superb location – nestled in the heart of the New Forest National Park, coupled with a long and illustrious history. Its aim is to provide the whole family – including any canine members – with a luxurious and fun bolthole, and its formula for doing so is a highly successful one.

The hotel is nestled in the heart of the New Forest on the A337 between Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst. Brockenhurst station is 90 minutes by train from London Waterloo, and the station is in close proximity. The New Forest naturally offers a wide variety of diversions: forest ponies, picnic areas and cycling trails are on New Park Manor’s doorstep. Beaulieu National Motor Museum, Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum, Moors Valley Country Park, Exbury Gardens and steam railway (March-November), Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World are all a short drive away.

Spa at New Park Manor,New ForestA wonderful sense of history pervades the hotel and its grounds. New Park dates back to the time of William the Conqueror, who made the forest a royal hunting reserve in 1070. By the first half of the 17th century, the manor house was owned by Sir George Carey, a staunch Catholic and royalist whose fortunes foundered during the Civil War. After the restoration, New Park Manor became King Charles II’s favourite hunting lodge, and was the residence of his mistress, Nell Gwynn. Stained-glass windows, a coat of arms, fireplaces and acorn and oak-leaf patterned doors all bestow an air of grand English manor house. There is a seamless fusion of past and present in the form of the sympathetically designed modern wing, which houses the spa and contemporary bedrooms, which are named after forests and deer. The most striking room is the Rufus lounge, replete with log fire and oak paneling, in which light meals, cocktails and afternoon tea are enjoyed on supremely comfortable sofas overlooking the grounds.

Lounge at New Park Manor, New Forest

Of the hotel’s 25 bedrooms, 13 are situated in the Manor House and named after former residents such as Catherine of Braganza, King Charles II’s wife. Here, high ceilings and sash windows feature alongside Regency chairs and antique leather-top writing desks. Annex rooms are contemporary and minimalist with pastel walls and light-wood furniture. Our room in the modern wing – Roe – is spacious (it is large enough for a family of four), and features a quirky upside-down umbrella ceiling lampshade and matching floral soft furnishings, Orla Kiely mugs and curtains. A cavernous bathroom comes with luxurious stand-alone bath and cubicle rain shower.

Pregnancy Spa treatment, New Park ManorThe hotel’s award winning spa is perfect for all generations. Treatments include mineral-rich muds (fango therapy) and aromatherapy fused with a variety of rituals and massage techniques. I was midway through my pregnancy when I visited, so I elected to have the New Forest Peaceful Pregnancy (£190) treatment. I was treated to a drink and a fresh fruit salad on arrival, and was then spoilt over the course of nearly three hours with an Elemis Peaceful Pregnancy Massage, Elemis Superfood Pro-radiance Facial and a Jessica Prescriptive manicure, rounding off the morning of divine pampering with a spa lunch.

Whilst I was busy at the spa, my husband enjoyed a romp around the New Forest with our Pomeranian, Goji. It was a real treat for him to be able to join us on holiday, and he was extremely well catered for at New Park Manor with a bed, bowl and treats. He also made some new four-legged friends in the form of the hotel’s resident black Labrador, Molly, and precocious puppy Cava-Poo-Chon, Forest. The hotel welcomes all well-behaved dogs, and charges a supplement of £15 per night per pet.

After my lunch, I spent the afternoon exploring the rest of the spa, access to which is complimentary for all hotel guests (day passes for non-guests are available for £40). I enjoyed a dip in the 16m UV filtered swimming pool with panoramic forest views, hydrotherapy and spa pool, and the Kneipps foot spa (sadly the thermal rooms, and outdoor Canadian hot tub were off-limits due to my pregnancy).

Indoor pool, New Park Manor

As a prospective parent, I was eager to learn about the hotel’s complimentary crèche (in anticipation of a repeat visit after my baby’s arrival)! Children from three months to eight years are catered for in one of three free-of-charge crèche sessions per day – two supervised by the hotel’s den team, and one parent-accompanied family fun session. Older children are not forgotten; there is a Blue Room for the over-eights, featuring table football, board games and a selection of the latest video games. On Sunday mornings from 8am-9.30am, tired parents can indulge in a lie-in while the children are entertained and fed at Breakfast Club.

Dining NM

The Stag restaurant featured an interesting dinner menu, the highlights of which were my seared stone bass, which was beautifully complemented by a piquant tomato and caper dressing, and the warm, delightfully gooey chocolate brownie that my husband chose for pudding. Artisan cheeses are locally sourced, along with much of the produce on the menu, and wines come from small domaines. There’s a good breakfast buffet along with well cooked hot options including pancakes and porridge.

Like royalty before us, we found it hard to leave New Park Manor; we eventually prised ourselves away whilst planning a repeat visit with our soon-to-be expanded family.

New Park Manor
Lyndhurst Rd
Brockenhurst SO42 7QH

www.newparkmanorhotel.co.uk/

Tel: 01590 623467

Double rooms from £115 in low season.

 


 

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