ESCAPE LONDON – Stunning setting at luxurious Lainston House Hotel, Winchester
After a quick 90 minute drive down the M3 from London to Winchester, when we arrived at the stunning Lainston House Hotel we definitely had a WOW moment, “We have arrived!”
Stepping out of our vehicle, the smiling doorman rushed to shield us from the rain with a large umbrella, collected our luggage and then proceeded to whisk the car away. This was a stark contrast from being packed like tinned sardines on the tube a few hours before, I could definitely get used to this.
Stepping out of our vehicle, the smiling doorman rushed to shield us from the rain with a large umbrella, collected our luggage and then proceeded to whisk the car away.
Sadly the reception staff were not overly welcoming, however, the porter who showed us to our stunning suite and certainly made up for it. He was extremely knowledgeable not only about this hotel, but also the other hotels in the group’s portfolio, his sense of pride to work for this hotel shone through brightly. I do feel reception could have been a little warmer and more informative when we arrived.
Arriving at our Junior Suite, which was named the Silverhorn suite, we were told by the porter that each of the rooms are named opposed to numbered, which we agreed was a nice touch. First impressions of the room were great, with the thought ‘lets-run-and-jump-on-the-bed’ immediately popping in to my head, (we didn’t), and they continued throughout the duration of our stay. What impressed us most was the square footage of our room, it was most probably larger than the average London flat and there were a lot of room for ‘activities’ (that’s a reference from the Will Ferral film ‘Step Brothers’ by the way, not anything naughty!).
Arriving at our Junior Suite, which was named the Silverhorn suite, we were told by the porter that each of the rooms are named opposed to numbered, which we agreed was a nice touch
Featuring two large and extremely comfortable double beds, a living area, desk area, vanity table, and what can only be described as one of the most stunning bathrooms I’ve ever seen, our suite was roomy and spacious leaving my guest and I free to get on with unpacking and not being on top of each other. With a free standing, roll top bath, under floor heating, his and hers sinks (perfect for two girls getting ready!), and walk in shower with rain bars that I would guess was big enough for 4 people, I almost wanted to spend more time in the bathroom than in the suite.
Featuring two large and extremely comfortable double beds, a living area, desk area, vanity table, and what can only be described as one of the most stunning bathrooms I’ve ever seen.
The building has been around since the 17th century and whilst our suite was decorated to reflect, it felt classic and fresh, with nothing feeling out-dated, shabby or old. There were opulent fabrics on the curtains and bedding which oozed luxury.
After settling in to our suite, which was so comfortable we were reluctant to leave, we set off to The Avenue restaurant, which I would probably describe as dining rooms. We were seated in the smaller room of the two and it was a very quiet. Overall the menu, designed by award-winning chef Olly Rouse, was creative however the food was quite rich for my liking.
At The Avenue, there is a choice of the 5 or 8 course tasting menu, or the a la carte menu, on the latter menu starters ranged from Pork Terrine, to Partridge & cranberry. Mains were Beef with sweet potato and bacon. Desserts were coconut parfait and Apple and Blackberry cinnamon strudel.
Whilst the food was really interesting and well presented; dishes seemed to be a deconstructed version of its classic self. Oh, and the Chef does like a good ‘foam’. Foam featured in our meal twice in between courses, first up there was mushroom foam with walnuts and then a palate cleanser between the main and dessert course of lime yoghurt foam with a berry coulis.
Whilst dining at The Avenue we drank Nyetimber, a delicious chardonnay fizz that happened to be the house sparkling wine. We went on to sample a Hungarian dessert wine, which was pleasant, if not a little too sweet, even for a sweet wine lover like myself.
On the way back to our suite, we stopped at the film library to have a peek at what DVD’s were on offer, there were a lot of classics mixed with kids films so something for all the family. After a long day and drive, falling asleep in the sumptuous bed was as easy, although we didn’t get to experience the ‘pillow menu’ that is raved about. I wish I could say that the blackout curtains came in handy the next morning, but to my disappointment I was awoken at exactly 7am by the sound of young children running around in the room above us. With the extra time in my day that I (begrudgingly) acquired, I went all out and even used the rain bars in the shower – oh err.
Breakfast time at Lainston House features a cold breakfast bar and hot food menu. To name but a few, eggs, American pancakes, and English breakfast were on offer. The cold buffet consisted of cereals and granola, and a pastry basket with delicious juices including orange, cloudy apple and grapefruit. Both my guest and I had the English breakfast, which was cooked to perfection.
Both my guest and I had the English breakfast, which was cooked to perfection.
It’s the little touches that make the biggest difference, this is something this hotel knows and does well. There are many quirky little touches that make the experience a more complete one, if you fancy a stroll through the beautiful grounds there are wellington boots aplenty available to borrow. The valet parking is superb on a rainy day (as was when we arrived), and the film library is a nice touch if you fancy watching a DVD whilst you were staying.
It’s the little touches that make the biggest difference, this is something this hotel knows and does well.
One thing that I would have to say is that, aside from the porter who showed us to our room and Sebastian, our superb waiter at dinner, we didn’t have much interaction with the staff at Lainston House Hotel, it is most definitely a hotel where you are encouraged to keep yourself to yourself.
Overall this stunning, 17th Century hotel is ‘luxury country getaway’ at its best. The sprawling lawns leading up to the picture perfect building, which is so elegantly framed by a valet circle and gates, will surely impress upon arrival and the grandeur of the grounds and impressive suites will continue to please throughout your stay.
Heart London Magazine 5* rating
Alana, Heart London Magazine