Forget glamping, this is where it's at
You know that sheltered feeling you got as a kid, when you climbed into a treehouse, sharing stories and snacks, tucked away from the world? Imagine that, only a million times better, and you’ve got Chewton Glen treehouses. The idyllic rooms are hidden away in the picturesque New Forest, in Hampshire. If you haven’t been before, the area is well worth a visit, thanks to its quaint little villages and free-roaming horses.
So there is the chic main hotel, Chewton Glen, which is basically what countryside hotel dreams are made of. But, let’s be honest, it’s all about the treehouses, isn’t it? These are tucked away in the woods behind the hotel, and the idea is that they blend more with nature, without compromising on luxury.
To say each property is cosy doesn’t even come close. You walk into a lovely living area that is all wooden floors and cosy furniture, with its own chimney and kitchen stocked with all the essentials: hot chocolate and marshmallows for the kids, champagne and liquors for the adults, and plenty of chocolate and savour snacks.
There are bedrooms with giant beds, and a bathroom that includes a roll-top bath facing a TV on the wall, so you can watch your favourite show while soaking up the REN bubble bath, plus a shower that’s bigger than our flat. If you’ve got kids, there’s an extra room in the bigger studios with twin beds, books and a playstation, of course.
We know, it sounds pretty amazing, right? Wait ’till you hear there’s a hot tub on the deck where you can sip on champagne while watching the sunset over the forrest. Bliss doesn’t even come close.
The food is top notch.You can’t go there and not try the hand-dived scallops or the apple & blackberry soufflé from the hotel’s main restaurant, The Dining Room, with dishes made from local produce, including the hotel’s own kitchen garden.
For something equally tasty but a little more laid back, head to the newly opened The Kitchen, with a menu especially designed by James Martin. You’ll have plenty of options to choose from, including wood fired pizzas, gourmet burgers and superfood salads. We recommend the homemade Gnoccheti and chargrilled tiger Prawns and Kohlrabi salad. You can even do a cookery course there where you can learn to recreate celebrity chef dishes and local delicacies.
But if you’re looking for a cosy night in, then you HAVE to try the in-treehouse dining service. See, we forgot to mention earlier that you have a private latch that leads into your room, where hampers of delicious food are placed so you don’t even need to get out of your pyjamas to open the door (#sorrynotsorry). When we say hamper, we don’t mean crappy sandwiches either, we’re talking posh gastro pub here: the lasagne is a must.
If you’re heading to The Dining Room, you’re better off packing some smart casual clothes as the hotel is quite fancy. But if you’re staying in the treehouse, then by all means, crack out the PJs and the cashmere.
If you can manage to drag yourself away from the comfort of your treehouse, you will be rewarded for your efforts by the rather majestic hotel spa. As well as the quite frankly glorious changing rooms (which include spa showers, foot baths and crystal steam rooms), there is an indoor heated pool, outdoor hot tub and hydrotherapy pool. Or, if massages are more your thing (and why wouldn’t they be), then try a Linda Meredith facial or signature body massage.
The breakfast hamper, which arrives every morning packed to the brim with fresh produce like orange juice, pastries, smoked salmon, pancakes, cheese etc. You don’t get woken up either, you can have a lie-in, then get up and open the hatch and it’s there waiting for you in all its delicious glory.
The novelty of ordering everything using the treehouse iPad never wears off either. You can order DVDs as well as food. You’ll basically never want to leave. Just to warn you...
While you’re there…
Do visit the New Forest, or drive down to the coast, where you can find some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches.
How to book
The starting price for Treehouse Suites is from £850 for a Treehouse Studio Suite, per night including breakfast hamper, and the starting rate for a Garden Room in the Main House is £325 - room only.
You can book both half-day and full-day cookery classes at The Kitchen, with prices ranging from £45-£225. There are also Junior Chef courses offered at weekends and during school holidays. A full class schedule can be found on the website: chewtonglen.com/thekitchen.
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Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.
Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).
Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.
However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.
Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.
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