Botleigh Grange Hotel and Spa, Southampton
was something of a surprise, when visiting Southampton, to find what appeared
to be a Victorian, castellated, generously-proportioned Scottish hunting lodge
with Highland cattle and ancient pines in the grounds… later we were able to
add a couple of small fishing lakes and a sheltered, large sunny terrace as
well as learning the building dated from the 17th Century...
YOU CAN GATHER THE HOTEL HAS INDIVIDUAL STYLE and from the décor it was obviously
family owned no penny-pinching national chain would have spent
as much on some of the soft furnishings.
Our bedroom was spacious with lovely views of the lakes and the bathroom was
fine. However, our favourite room was the anteroom off the large dining room.
The room, original in high Victorian style, would do Istanbul's fabled Pera
Palace proud Agatha Christie fans will recall that the Pera Palace was
the inspiration for the glamorous Tokatlian Hotel in her 1934 thriller Murder
On The Orient Express.
Both dinner and breakfast were excellent, but the portions were rather larger
than we are used to being served; not a complaint but it did make us toy with
the idea that they could serve smaller portions and offer larger servings at
no extra charge.
There is a very good modern swimming pool complemented by spa treatment rooms
with a menu offering an outstanding selection of experiences. The Lakeside Spa
offers flexibility and you choose which type of treatment you would like depending
upon your mood on the day.
Bonnie opted for the Khanya whole body massage supposedly recommended for anyone
needing a 'pick me up' or re-energising. Abbi, her masseuse, was so thorough
that Bonnie slept for two hours afterwards. Perhaps a truly relaxing experience
The lucky locals can take advantage of the extensive day or half-day spa programmes
designed around each individual we met a mother and daughter having a
great time celebrating an 18th birthday with lunch and champagne included in
The Bottom Line
Our usual observation of seeing whether or not many local people used these
facilities confirmed it appealed widely to different age groups, old and young
The overall appeal of the hotel is good; we spoke to a couple of university-aged
chaps who were passing through both were very complimentary and, as expected,
their only observation was that they would prefer a more modern décor. There
were also families staying for a few days and businessmen in a rush.
Southampton in its own right does not have much out of the ordinary except for
the docks and boat show. However, there are many great places to visit nearby:
with Salisbury and Winchester for their cathedrals and beautiful buildings;
the New Forest; Portsmouth with the Mary Rose; the rejuvenated Bournemouth;
and, of course, the Solent is a yachting Mecca plus there's the finest fishing
imaginable on the river Test. Even more locally, the village of Wickham we found
to be enchanting. Tim and Bonnie Stevens
Botleigh Grange Hotel and Spa, Grange Road, Hedge End, Southampton,
Hampshire, SO30 2GA Telephone: 0844 411 9050.
Lakeside Spa Telephone: 0844
411 9 065.