In the first of our new series of hotel reviews, regular contributors Douglas and Jackie Miller returned to an old favourite: the Exclusive Hotels group’s Lainston House Hotel, just outside Winchester. Here is their report.
We were just as delighted with this seventeenth-century country manor house hotel as we had been on our first visit, writes Douglas Miller. We reached the hotel by driving up a long lime tree-lined avenue within its private grounds. The staff were charming, helpful and always greeted us with a friendly smile. Nothing was too much trouble for them and we felt like honoured guests.
Upon arrival we were up-graded to a spacious Junior Suite with a large four-poster bed and Jacuzzi. Our bathroom also had a walk-in shower area and two sinks. Despite the suite being furnished with period antiques, it had plenty of useful modern touches including a tea and coffee maker, flat-screen TV, DVD player, lots of power points, and a notebook/tablet that we used to look up the hotel’s services and other websites. This tablet even had a button on it for ordering fresh milk to our room for hot beverages. The bed was extremely comfortable.
The hotel has several lounges, a bar, and a dining room that doubles as a breakfast room in the mornings. Our breakfasts were cooked to order, so everything was freshly produced and served. There was a wide variety of cooked dishes available, and also a very well stocked Continental breakfast buffet. Indeed every food item is freshly prepared; be it sandwiches in the bar area, afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream and jam, or just a cup of tea
My wife ordered a cup of tea at the bar but decided to have it in our room. She asked for a take-away cup but without a moment’s hesitation the waiter said he would take the tea to our room himself.
The hotel is situated in 63 acres of grounds. We wanted to explore (wellies of all sizes were provided by the hotel) and walked among the ruins of an eighteenth-century chapel, an apple orchard by the car park, and the vegetable garden used to provide produce for the AA 3- rosette restaurant.
Nearby there was a falconry centre, and guests can experience handling the birds of prey. For the more energetic you can take a bike ride (bikes and local maps are provided by the hotel), and there is also a cookery school called ‘Seasons’ for those who want to upgrade their culinary skills.
The whole experience was one of under-stated elegance and charm. We were looking for a top quality hotel break that was quiet, refined and luxurious, and we found it at Lainston House.
Lainston House: Woodman Lane, Sparsholt, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 2LT. Tel: 01962 776088. Website: www.exclusive.co.uk/lainston-house. Look out for special weekend break offers.