Hotel Review: The Montagu Arms, Beaulieu in Hampshire
Our country’s national parks have a lot to offer those looking to escape to a peaceful, idyllic location. Stylish country house hotels, often with spas and great restaurants, are hidden away among the glorious scenery to give you the perfect place to relax, indulge and base yourself for exploring the fruits of what the rural surroundings have to offer.
The other half, Nick, and I spent a few days in the New Forest, starting our trip with dinner and a stay at The Montagu Arms hotel in the pretty village of Beaulieu. The four star hotel, with a Michelin star restaurant, is elegant and quintessentially English, with beautiful gardens.
The country house hotel holds 22 bedrooms and suites with classic décor as well as the Library Bar, private dining rooms, the Magnolia Lounge and a neighbouring pub – the perfect stop before a visit to The Terrace Restaurant. During our stay, Nick and I enjoyed a dinner here and were very pleased with the classic preparation and presentation of the food, which was predominantly British with the odd European influence, and plentiful in portion size. Read more about our dinner here.
Upon arrival at the hotel we checked into our room and couldn’t resist a quick snooze on the large bed (we had had a long journey and it was raining outside, not that I need an excuse for an afternoon nap when on holiday!). As previously mentioned the décor retains the smart, classic country house style of the rest of the hotel with modern amenities. Cream wallpaper with a bronze leaf pattern sat on the walls while an off white dressing table, thick dark wood chest of drawers and double mirrored wardrobe offered plenty of storage space. Red cushions, a blanket and two red tub chairs added some colour to the room, while spotlights, lamps and candle style wall fittings on a dimmer switch completed the comfortable room. Attached was a wet room with pale grey marble tiled walls and modern fittings. A large, flat, powerful shower head offered up a luxurious shower and super soft robes were there to envelope you afterwards.
After we had spruced up for dinner, we visited the hotel’s lounge and I sipped on a glass of English sparkling wine while perusing the menu. Lamps bathe the room in a low, comforting light while a Grandfather clock ticks away in the corner. Panelled walls painted in cream, dark wood flooring, black furniture and thick cushioned sofas and armchairs in beige and sandy tones make up a comfortable room, which reflect the hotel’s 17th century origins. A large black fireplace stands tall and images of trees adorn the walls to offer you a space to relax with a drink or book or enjoy an award winning afternoon tea (It has recently gained the Top City and Country Hotel Tea Award by the Tea Guild.)
The Library Bar is a small, typically styled gentlemen’s bar with dark wood aplenty and a cosy feel to it. It leads out to the gardens, which are tended to by Barry Daniel, and supply many herbs and vegetables to the kitchen. If you prefer a little privacy while you dine, The Oakwood Room can seat 32 and overlooks the gardens, while The Paris Room can seat up to ten and has an open fireplace. Not to be forgotten, The Terrace Restaurant can hold 100 for a conference, wedding, meeting or any other function required. All hold the classic décor and sophistication that the rest of the hotel and the village in which it stands ooze.
Next door’s Monty’s Inn is a more relaxed setting with local ales on tap and English pub favourites being served up. Sister hotel, Carey’s Manor is based six miles away and invites you to make use of its extensive and incredible spa facilities should the sun not shine and you need a little indulgence. I visited but you’ll have to read my review in the coming weeks (please check back soon).
Only the sounds of birds singing in the garden could be heard from our room and the peaceful surroundings and thick curtains aided a restful night’s sleep. It was a struggle to get out of bed in time for breakfast but it was certainly worth it. A hot selection of porridge, scrambled eggs and salmon, haddock and poached egg and kippers were joined by the traditional Full English. The buffet offered a selection of cereals, fruits (including poached apricots, melon and grapefruit) cheeses, breads and fruit compotes. I started the day with a lovely piece of crusty white bread with a creamy Brie and punchy smoked Applewood cheeses and a crystal clear apple juice. I followed this with a bowl of warm, thick porridge with honey and a selection of pastries were brought out with our coffees. Nick liked his Full English option, which had locally supplied meats and eggs from nearby hens.
We headed off to nearby Buckler’s Hard to explore and wander but if you’re into cars, Beaulieu Motor Museum is nearby and houses more than 250 vehicles from all over the world.
In a nutshell
The Montagu Arms is quiet, relaxed and elegant – don’t expect anything else. The slow pace of life forces you to sit back and enjoy and what more could you wish for than a country pub and Michelin star eatery on site?
Address: 1 Palace Ln, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, SO42 7YG / 01590 612324