Careys Manor Hotel and SenSpa, New Forest
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Turning my car in through the gateway of Careys Manor Hotel, I found myself
faced with a quick decision. Hotel Arrivals or Main Car Park - I chose the car
park and made the wrong choice, entering this delightful country hotel by the
back door instead of crunching up the sweeping gravel drive. But no matter, whichever
entrance you choose, the welcome is just the same. All the staff I encountered
on my reverse journey from backdoor to front met me with the same friendly
greeting, an atmosphere that continued throughout my stay.
Situated on the approach to Brockenhurst
from Lyndhurst, Careys Manor was built as a hunting lodge and gifted to John
Carey by King Charles II for services rendered from 1660 to 1685. In 1888, the
original house was demolished and replaced by the present gabled property in 14
acres. Today it’s one of the New Forest’s leading 4-star hotels and the only
one with a hydrotherapy spa.
And although I arrived by car, Careys Manor
is less than 10 minutes’ walk from Brockenhurst station and village shops. Summer
visitors can hop on the New Forest Tour which operates three separate loops,
two of them passing through Brockenhurst, every day at hourly intervals from
early July to early September. And there are great tips for other car-free
experiences from the Travel Concierge team at Brockenhurst railway station over
the summer period.
But if it’s relaxation you’re after, Careys
Manor has it all. Some character rooms are located in the 18th century manor
but my spacious Garden Room was in one of the modern wings behind the old house,
well set back from the road and with a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking a
lawn and shrubbery, which all added up to a super-quiet night. The understated décor
was in calm shades of gold and cream with white cotton sheets on a bed so
comfortable I wanted to take it home.
The bathroom was roomy if unremarkable,
with a shower over the bath. If I’m picky, there was no magnifying mirror for
applying that all-important mascara, and personally I’m not keen on fixed head
showers, especially when you have to lean through the spray to adjust the
temperature. But they are small complaints. The shower was powerful, the bath towels
soft and fluffy, and the White Company toiletries more than acceptable. Other
amenities included iron and board, dressing gown, slippers and plenty of
make-up removing pads and tissues.
From my room it was just a short walk to
the glorious 14 metre indoor pool with Jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna in an
oriental setting, plus an adjacent gymnasium.
So many hotel pools are too small for those of us who like to put head
down and swim lengths, but this was one of the best hotel pools I’ve swum in
anywhere. Access is free for all guests.
If, however, guests want to use the SenSpa,
they have to pay a supplement. The spa is open to outsiders and numbers are
limited. Arriving on a Sunday afternoon, I found it was already fully booked,
but weekdays are quieter. Try the large hydrotherapy pool with massage jets, the
scented steam rooms, herbal sauna and ice room. And feel the benefits of the
experience shower where you can choose between warm tropical storms or a
bracing ice storm, complete with sound and light effects. SenSpa also offers a
full range of bookable beauty and massage treatments, including a rhassoul mud
When you’ve worked up an appetite, there
are three restaurants to choose from, depending on your mood. Breakfast is
served in the Cambium restaurant where you can also dine on British fare, much
of it sourced in the New Forest. Try foraged mushrooms, Pannage pork from
free-grazing pigs, local cheeses, and fresh seafood.
The other two restaurants transport diners
away from the Forest. My friends and I were hugely impressed by the authentic
Thai food in the Zen Garden which overlooks the indoor pool and its own
Oriental garden. Another night, we enjoyed a change of both culture and cuisine
in Le Blaireau, a Parisian-style bistro named after a common New Forest
resident, the badger.
Watch the website for special deals including Spa Breaks, themed breaks and
last minute deals. A Dining Break includes Full New Forest Breakfast, dinner in one of the three restaurants, and
of course use of the pool and associated leisure facilities.
Take a short break at Careys Manor and it’s
tempting not to stray very far, but the New Forest offers something for
everything whether you want to walk, cycle or ride; marvel at vintage motor
cars in Beaulieu; or stroll the old shipbuilding village of Buckler’s
Hard. Browse www.thenewforest.co.uk and let
yourself be sorely tempted!
Careys Manor & SenSpa
9 people found this feature helpful