Refined New Forest Retreat
New Forest, Hampshire
If, past the age of eight, you haven't been itching to sleep in in a treetop hideaway, Chewton Glen might (read: will) persuade you otherwise. The stuff of folklore and beloved Blyton books, the New Forest bastion of luxury has captured the magic of childhood enchantment, but in an altogether more grown up way. There are ten tree houses and all are named after trees – naturally. Architecturally fascinating, each curvaceous house is reached by a gangway, and completed with a zinc roof. Interiors come courtesy of Martin Hulbert, a designer who’s done a sterling job at exercising creative restraint: the colour palette is earthy-toned, and subtle tweed is the closest you’ll come to a pattern.
With creature comforts aplenty, this is understated glamour exemplified. There’s a gigantic walk in wardrobe, Hershesons hair tools, REN smellies and techy bits you’d be hard pressed to know the name of. Vast balconies hug the houses and accommodate sedentary situations every which way. Every preconception about hot tubs is cast aside quicker than you can ditch your robe. All-singing, all-dancing, supremely sterile and most conducive to polishing off the bottle of Tattinger that greeted you, these bubbling baths are perhaps the most Instagrammable feature of the The Treehouses. When the rain ravages, and steam seeps from the forest floor, it's all the more magical. Elemental and spectacularly tranquil, it's as though lung-clogging city fumes are instantly exchanged with an unfamiliar crisp and fresh air.
Electric golf cars zip between The Treehouses and the main hotel, and arrive outside, at the touch of a button. Jolly staff make light work of conversation but cheeriness masks a fierce professionalism. Thoughtful in every sense of the word, there’s a pre-stamped postcard, two tweed hot water bottles, Kilner jars housing every component for an artisanal hot chocolate, and an adequately stocked fridge. Breakfast arrives silently (and refrigerated) through a hidden hatch in the wall. Chewton’s keen eye for design is matched only by their desire to do things a bit differently, and The Treehouses present a rare opportunity to get back in touch with nature without having to forgo the luxuries for which the property is revered.
Best room: The Treehouse Hideaway Suites can’t be beaten.
Dress code: The nearby beach walk dictates sensible shoes, but you’ll probably be preoccupied in the hot tub, in which case, just your bathers.
Christchurch Rd, New Milton BH25 6QS
Doubles from £325 a night