Why we went
Having spent many childhood summers camping in the New Forest, I was eager to show Jake the area, but in rather more luxurious accommodation, so we booked a stay at Careys Manor and SenSpa in Brockenhurst.
A striking red brick 18th-century country house, located at the heart of the national park. From the moment we arrived at the reception we were impressed by the friendly staff. The hotel has 77 rooms, as well as a self-catered three-bedroom cottage available for weekly hire. Our garden view room was spacious, with a king-size bed
featuring duck down
pillows and lambs’ wool
and cotton bedding. Heaven!
All garden rooms have a terrace or balcony, while manor rooms are inside the main house, with options for a four-poster bed or even a suite with roof terrace.
After unpacking, we wrapped ourselves in our robes and headed straight for the award-winning Thai-themed SenSpa, set within the hotel grounds. With a fabulous selection of sauna and steam rooms, relaxation area, pools and even a shower room complete with lighting and sound effects, there were plenty of options for relaxation. Our favourites were the hydrotherapy pool, ice bucket shower and herbal sauna. We’d each booked a treatment. Jake picked an Anti-Stress massage (from £58), while I opted for the Essential Relaxation massage (from £68). It was an ultra-indulgent Swedish massage
with essential oils, focusing on my stress area. When we reunited afterwards, we were so relaxed we fell asleep before dinner!
The hotel has three restaurants, so there’s something to suit every taste.
Cambium is fine dining with a menu showcasing the best local produce, while Le Blaireau is a French-style brasserie. But as Thai food fans, we opted for the Zen Garden within the spa. We feasted on a sharing starter of spring rolls, dumplings, chicken satay and salad, followed by beef massaman curry and pad Thai –
all beautifully presented and delicious.
After a comfy night’s sleep we were back in the Zen for breakfast: help- yourself-continental, or hot food from the menu. Jake was so impressed with his full English and a detox smoothie to balance out the indulgence that he claimed it was the best breakfast he’d ever had (praise indeed!).
If you’re not ones for lazing around all day, the New Forest offers plenty of ways to make the most of your weekend, from quaint pubs and restaurants, to walking and cycling in ancient woodland. The New Forest Cider Farm and Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary were recommended by the hotel’s concierge, and the world-famous Beaulieu Motorsport Museum is just a 15-minute drive away.
After checking out, we had a bit of
time before we needed to get home to our little one, so made the quick drive to Lyndhurst, where we enjoyed a pre-lunch stroll among the ponies, then returned into the village and The Greenwood Tree, a lovely eatery offering everything from cakes and waffles to burgers and smoothies, and were not disappointed – wish we could have said the same about leaving!
A one-night Zen Spa Escape Break costs from £175pp, includes a £40 dinner allowance, breakfast and two-course Thai lunch, use of spa and a choice of classes. Visit careysmanor.com and senspa.co.uk
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