Four Seasons, Hampshire
THE HOTEL: This Four Seasons hotel is set in a restored 18th century manor house on 500 acres of ground in Hampshire. It's a 15-minute drive from Basingstoke and 45 minutes from Heathrow Airport. I'd downloaded the Four Seasons app before my visit and successfully added my reservation, enabling me to input an estimated arrival time and make a dinner reservation through the chat function – this was automatically added to my 'trip itinerary'. Other bookings such as spa treatments and activities can also be arranged via the app and added to an itinerary.
THE CHECK-IN: I drove to the hotel and, although valet parking was available, chose to park in the main car park a short walk from the main entrance. A log fire greeted new arrivals in the busy reception area. Friendly staff swiftly completed the check-in paperwork but as the room wasn't ready I was shown to The Library and invited to have a drink. I was messaged via the app to let me know approximately when the room would be ready and then met and shown to it around 15 minutes later.
THE ROOM: A light, spacious room with 'classic' decor overlooking the hotel's central courtyard. There was an enormous double bed, table and chairs, large walk-in closet, minibar, coffee machine and a marble bathroom with separate bath and shower.
THE FACILITIES: Amenities include the spa, pools, tennis courts and activities such as croquet, a ropes course, horseriding, fishing and clay pigeon shooting – a wide range is available for corporate events. There's a number of event spaces including a ballroom, Fox Hollow private dining room, a boardroom and even a canal boat, plus outdoor spaces such as the Walled Garden. Dinner at the hotel restaurant, Wild Carrot, was excellent. It was remarkably busy but staff were abundant – and forthcoming with recommendations from the menu.
THE VERDICT: It doesn't get much more quintessentially English than this, with the long drive through the grounds and staff on the door dressed in country attire setting the tone from the start. A great country escape for impressive meetings and events, and the app is a useful addition too.
THE DETAILS: Dogmersfield Park, Chalky Lane, Dogmersfield, Hampshire RG27 8TD. Rates start from £315 per night in a Mews Room including breakfast fourseasons.com/hampshire
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2019)