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Dine In Style At The Balmer Lawn Hotel & Award-Winning Beresfords Restaurant

July 9, 2017

Rated the Number 1 restaurant in Brockenhurst on Trip Advisor and holding its winning position for 18 months, Beresfords at the Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst, New Forest, is a first class experience, within this highly regarded four star award-winning country house hotel and restaurant.

“Balmer Lawn hotel is the sleeping giant of the forest and now wide awake, taking big strides through the forest and luxury four star market in the south of England” said Michael Clitheroe, General Manager.  “We have gone from 42nd on Trip Advisor for food in our area of the forest to number 1 now, and held for over 18 months. Quite an achievement for our 2 AA rosette restaurant”.

The Balmer Lawn hotel has a unique competitive edge over its rivals and is soaring to new heights.  It is now celebrating its 20th year in the private ownership of Chris and Alison Wilson who during their time at the hotel, have transformed it from a tired three star coaching inn to its current luxury status.

Outdoor Private Dining & Pavillion

With an impressive background story, the hotel is steeped in modern history.  From a stately hunting lodge beginning, it has been a hospital and training camp in both World Wars and now is a luxury family owned hotel with passionately loyal staff who pride themselves on making each guest feel special.

“To keep us standing out from the competition, the hotel has recently undergone a huge re-investment over the last 4 years that has seen refurbishment across all function rooms, the ground floor lounges, corridors and bedrooms. The addition of a spa and wedding pavilion also now makes us the go-to venue for meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) and lifestyle weddings with the personal touch” Michael told me.

The hotel has 54 individually styled bedrooms, six function spaces all with open air break out areas, spa, wedding pavilion, squash courts, tennis courts, gym, indoor and outdoor pools, award winning restaurant and terrace, and a recently added micro brewery on site.  The first brewing batch is due out this month.

General Manager Michael Clitheroe at Balmer Lawn
General Manager Michael Clitheroe

The recent appointment of new Executive Head Chef Chris Wheeldon is a valuable addition to the hotel Beresfords restaurant team, working alongside a new operational management team including the appointment of enigmatic and highly enthusiastic General Manger Michael Clitheroe.  Michael’s background of privately owned country house hotels and local knowledge of the area was perfect for the repositioning of the Balmer Lawn into the luxury four star market.

Each one of the bedrooms has been individually designed, to an impeccable level of decor.  Most rooms have stunning views across the forest, great for spotting horses, cows, even timid deer, badgers and woodland wildlife.  I stayed in room number 14, a first-floor Luxury Room with majestic ‘Emperor’ style Super-King bed, immaculate contemporary interiors and stunning balcony views.  Wildlife themes run throughout the hotel, featuring deer head figures on the walls and on decorative lamp bases in each room.

The corridor walls showcase ‘The Story Behind WW2 Papers’ (Top Secret) which were discovered astonishingly under the floorboards, during the renovations.  It all adds to the hotel charm and history.

In the Saltus Spa,  I enjoyed a blissful Zen soothing 45 minute ‘Life Saving Back Treatment’ with therapist Leah.  Espa products were applied and hot mits were used for the back cleanse and exfoliation.  The neck, back and shoulder massage was followed by a purifying back mask and lower leg massage.  It was pure bliss and I found myself drifting off into a meditative state with soothing classical piano music playing in the background.

Afterwards I put on my favourite pink bikini and sunbathed on the hotel room balcony sipping coffee and enjoying the views below of majestic horses, playful foals and Irish cows grazing.

By 7pm it was time for dinner.  Inside the hotel, evening meals are served in the AA 2 Rosette award-winning Beresfords Restaurant.  Guests can enjoy the a la carte menu, or upgrade to a sumptuous seven course tasting menu.  The wine list offers an impressive choice of wines and champagne.  I ate warm fresh home-baked bread and home-made butter with volcanic rock salt followed by an Amuse Bouche mozzarella ball.  Then came the starter – pear and mascarpone, with truffle honey.

For the main course I opted for the 28 Day Matured Sirloin Steak (medium rare) from The Grill accompanied by Vine Tomatoes, Fat chips, Flat Mushroom and Watercress.  Dessert was Cinnamon Doughnuts with mouthwatering Chocolate Ice Cream Cappuccino.  The entire meal was divinely delicious, perfect portions and all the different flavours hit the right spot.

If you fancy a local stroll, there are several local pebble stone beaches and sandy beach lovers can easily get to Bournemouth which is around 45 minutes from Brockenhurst.

Indoor swimming pool Balmer Lawn
Indoor swimming pool

The next morning I woke up to the stunning balcony views, feeling refreshed and relaxed and I enjoyed breakfast in the restaurant (coffee and fresh croissants).  The menu offers a special English breakfast ‘New Forest Foresters Fry Up’, a Bakers Section ( home made),along with traditional options like Smoked Salmon and Eggs plus meat and cheese selections and cereals.

Balmer Lawn

By midday Friday, I was heading home back to London feeling like I had met new friends, and vowing to return to the Balmer Lawn Hotel again very soon.  Next time, to share the stellar experience with family and friends.  I wish to thank GM Michael and his fabulous team at the hotel, restaurant and spa, who all looked after me during my stay.


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