I first heard about the plans for Heckfield Place over 6 years when it was initially due to open.
Several years of delays later, put down to the desire to get the project absolutely right, I can confirm that they have indeed got it just right.
This labour of love is a triumph.
Set on a 400-acre estate of rolling Hampshire countryside, just over an hour from central London, the first impression you get when you walk inside is that Heckfield Place still very much feels like a home.
There’s a warmth and intimacy to the place. It’s elegant, yes, and ‘proper’, but without a hint of formality.
The relaxed and warm vibe reminds me of another favourite, Lime Wood, but a slightly more grown up version.
You enter to a grand staircase that leads to the rooms in the main house, with one side of the walls covered in black and white photographs, which sets the scene for the artwork you’ll see all around the house, focusing on 20th century British art.
There are 45 rooms in total ranging from upstairs in the main house to the ‘The Corridors’ in the new wing and a standalone cottage.
The design mixes mid-century, antique and contemporary furniture with natural, muted colours, wooden-floors, linens and Persian rugs to create a look that feels natural rather than over-designed.
Rooms come with fabulous minibars with homemade treats and produce from the estate; many have working fire places; some have balconies or gardens.
Ours had an enormous bathroom which even had its own sitting area with sofa.
Culinary director is Skye Gyngell (who previously put Petersham Nurseries on the map and who now runs Spring at Somerset House) and you can feel her influence throughout the hotel.
There are two restaurants – the light-filled Marle with views out to the estate and Hearth with its more rustic, cosy style and open fire to cook on.
Both restaurants use ingredients from the organic farm on the estate and from Fern Verrow, a biodynamic farm that they are working with.
There is currently a mini spa with three treatment rooms, but next year will see the launch of the main Bothy spa, with five treatment rooms, an indoor swimming pool, and three studios for personal training, yoga, Pilates and ballet with partner Bodyism.
The attention to detail at Heckfield Place is wonderful – from check-in when you receive your room card in holders embossed with your initials to the luggage tags that make their way on your bags as you leave, also embossed with your initials.
Heckfield Place is ideal for Londoners who want to get away from it all, without having to travel very far at all.
It’s stylish, chic, homely and really rather fabulous.
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