The Telegraph’s Bryony Gordon recently stayed at Chewton Glen for the Inspiring Travel Company. Here’s what she had to say about her experience of the Hampshire retreat...
Chewton Glen is a place so good that I had to come back again just to check that my first visit was as good as I had thought it was (had I imagined it? Dreamt it? Hallucinated it?).
That visit was with my mother and daughter - my husband had to work - just as I started on a gruelling diet. Was a hotel that specialises in gourmet cuisine really the best place for such an undertaking? I nervously explained to the manager my predicament.
"Don't worry," she beamed. "You explain to me the rules of the diet, and we will get our kitchen to cook you up some healthy treats."
And so it was that I got to eat delicious non-diet breaking food for the rest of my stay, as my daughter feasted on macaroni cheese. We went to the playroom, and swam in the gorgeous pool. We ran riot around the grounds, and I had a massage while my mum looked after my daughter. I left feeling completely revived, knowing that I had to return with my husband.
So a month later, we did. We had had our marriage blessed that afternoon in Wiltshire, and drove through the New Forest spotting ponies. The manager recognised me at reception. Was I still on the diet, she wanted to know? I told her not - tonight I was going to feast. We were taken to our room, which was actually a Treehouse, high above the ground. But this was a high-tech re-imagining of the structures I had played on as a child. There was air con, a super king size bed, and a telly overlooking the giant bath. There was a hot tub on the balcony. We grabbed the complimentary Champagne and our swimming costumes, and dove straight in.
That night we gorged on lobster curry and watched the sun set over the woods. In a certain light, you could half imagine you were in the Serengeti. The next morning, hungover but happy, my husband and I ate our breakfast hamper which had been delivered through a hatch in the treehouse. Bliss. We made our way to the spa in a golf-cart and splashed through the hydrotherapy pool (off limits the last time as I had a child with me). More massages.
I floated out of Chewton Glen safe in the knowledge that it was just as good as I had imagined it. Now I just have to find an excuse to go back a third time.