A historic Georgian manor house inhabited in the early 1800 by the Dukes of Wellington set amidst a vast country-side estate, Four Seasons Hampshire provides an authentic English country-side experience in less than 40 minutes from Heathrow and one hour drive from London.
The breathtaking greenery of the estate with beautifully manicured gardens, a fishing pond, a dedicated and an impressive recently renovated equestrian centre (with an innovative equestrian lounge) instill an instant relaxation feel upon arrival, making one pause and leave behind all the stress. The seemingly endless views invite for meditation especially at sunrise and sunset. The experience is divine!
When opened 10 years ago, the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts executed a hospitality concept at Hampshire mostly concentrated on leisure facilities and activities for both short weekend stays and longer ones, equally targeting individual guests and corporate groups for meetings & conventions, especially during off-season (October to March)
From horse riding, fishing, high-wire, two outdoor all-weather tennis courts, biking, picnics by one of the ponds on the grounds, a wealth of activities for children as well as the state of the art Spa and wellness facilities are complemented by nearby experiences (off-estate) – canal boating, golf and several. Stonehenge, Jane Austen’s house, Salisbury, Windsor Castle, Winchester Cathedral are within less than an hour drive from the hotel.
Front Office, Concierge, Guest Relations, Housekeeping and the Activities team (including Front Door) boast the Four Seasons service standard – consistent, attentive and personalized.
In contrast with most facilities, the hotel misses on dining and rooms. The hotel’s only restaurant (Seasons) which is used for all day dining features a very dated interior design, way below the Four Seasons standard in terms of product. The same goes for the Café Santé, The Spa’s café. Unfortunately, the good service standard does not compensate for the facilities which are in huge contrast with the rest of the hotel.
As for the rooms, although well kept, considering no renovations since opening, with the exception of the change of carpets in a few rooms, the contemporary design looks and feels outdated. It puzzled me why the owner/developer opted for rooms and suites floors to be covered entirely in carpets, instead of wood, at least in the higher category accommodations.
Other mishaps include an old AC system individual control which has no precise temperature choice option. At times, my living room felt warmer and the bedroom colder and vice-versa, although being careful to make the same setting. As this is a resort property, I would have expected natural bathroom amenities, not the current choice.
The highlight of the room was undoubtedly the Signature Four Seasons bed, which was recently introduced at Hampshire, as part of a global roll-out at all Four Seasons properties. It was probably one of the best quality mattresses I have ever experienced, my sleep experience being utterly outstanding.
In spite of the dated feel of the facilities, the Spa provides an excellent selection of treatments, with a wide choice of products, both natural (Sodashi) and cosmetic (Swiss Perfection). I had an impeccable experience with highly trained therapist, Hristina, with an aromatic massage with Sodashi products. I also enjoyed the naturally lit indoor heated pool and the heated outdoor vitality pool. I also took advantage of the sunny days to relax outdoors.
With immediate renovations and a complete overhaul of dining as well as rooms, Four Seasons Hampshire will instantly upgrade to the already iconic global Four Seasons standard in hospitality, both hardware and software.
Oliver Petcu in Hampshire
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