Not just another country hotel: Discovering a ‘real sense of fun’ in this glamourous, dog-friendly retreat in one of the smallest towns in England
- Sarah Hartley calls at The Grosvenor Hotel in Stockbridge, which has undergone a ‘longed-for’ renovation
- The hotel’s decor is filled with ‘vivacious colour and print’, from the red-hued bar to the ‘perky’ guest rooms
- Sarah is taken by the food – the Hampshire grouse and steak served in The River Room Bar ‘excelled’, she says
What fortune that The Grosvenor Hotel in Stockbridge has been given a longed-for nip and tuck, 200 years after the Grosvenor family first opened its doors to guests.
Their passion for hunting, fishing and horse-racing remains a key focus in this Hampshire town, and so too it remains a draw for those looking for a country pursuit.
The Henderson family and friends, local residents who stepped in just before lockdown, have done well not to make this just another country hotel. Who likes muted shades and frumpy frills?
Not interior designer Lottie Keith, who has a real sense of fun; she’s harnessed the Grosvenor’s sociable history and given free rein to vivacious colour and print; yet neither overwhelm nor intimidate.
Sarah Hartley checks into The Grosvenor Hotel in Stockbridge, which has undergone a ‘longed-for nip and tuck’. According to Sarah, the hotel’s interior designer Lottie Keith has ‘given free rein to vivacious colour and print’
You may find locals cosying up with a newspaper in the deep velvet sofas of The Danebury Room, where you can find a fire, jazz soundtrack and parquet floors.
Owner Simon Henderson says that as the only hotel in town, it needed to offer somewhere to enjoy a glamorous dining experience.
Step forward The River Room Bar, where pops of raspberry pink and cherry red are let loose.
The Hampshire smoked grouse and steak excelled, as did the truffle and Barkham blue macaroni cheese.
Across the 34 rooms, there are four individually sized suites (one with a freestanding bath at the end of the bed). Each feature Elemis toiletries, richly upholstered headboards and weighty curtains.
The 34 guest rooms feature Elemis toiletries, richly upholstered headboards and weighty curtains
Pops of raspberry pink and cherry red are let loose in the hotel’s bar (above)
Garden rooms are best for those with dogs, who are genuinely welcomed. Here the perky decor continues with bold blues and corals – even on the ceiling.
But don’t rule out The Tap Cottage. This contains three double en suite bedrooms, perfect for families looking for a retreat.
Fine weather sees guests gravitate to the walled garden and lavender-lined terrace where you can have a quiet tea in the corner or meet as a group to taste the wood-fired flatbreads or tapas.
‘You may find locals cosying up with a newspaper in the deep velvet sofas of The Danebury Room (pictured), where you can find a fire, jazz soundtrack and parquet floors,’ writes Sarah
Lavender thrill: Fine weather sees guests gravitate to the walled garden and lavender-lined terrace
With winter nights, the outdoor buzz moves to La Hutte. This wood-clad room also features fur rugs, fairy lights and fondue for a true apres-ski experience. Next morning, the refreshing delicate green walls of the vast Market Room restaurant, adorned with chandeliers and fresh flowers, will wake you up for breakfast. You can browse the buffet or tuck into an excellent full English and heart-starting coffee.
Stockbridge may be the smallest town in England, but the rivers Test and Itchen are renowned for offering the best chalkstream fly-fishing in the world. First-timers can book a lesson, or you can buy bags of bread to feed the fish and walk along the river.
If you’re experienced in stalking trout, you may want to order a hotel hamper and make a day of it. You could also browse the town’s independent boutiques and stop off at one of the lively local cafes – or you could just stay put and enjoy a massage or manicure at The Grosvenor’s treatment shed.
The Grosvenor, Stockbridge, Hampshire. B&B from £158 per night, suites from £209 per night, The Tap Cottage from £450 per night for a minimum of two nights (grosvenorstockbridge.com).
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