The Montagu Arms, Beaulieu (Reviewed)
The Montagu Arms has it all! A stunning New Forest location, fine dining, top class service and an authentic warming welcome. Nestled in the heart of Beaulieu, this 17th Century Country hotel is surrounded by stunning scenery to the front and quintessential English gardens to the back. Charming from start to finish, a stay at The Montagu Arms is memorable, luxurious and lavish. Here is why…
Sleeping and staying
The Montagu Arms is home to 22 gorgeous bedrooms and suites, all of which boast a timeless style with a healthy dose of luxury and comfort.
We resided in one of the hotel’s 7 Superior Rooms (starting at £249 per night). Slightly more spacious than a standard, the rooms feature sumptuous King sized or Super King Sized beds for a true sense of comfort. A variety of bathroom options are also available; choose from rooms with just a walk-in shower or if you love a long soak choose a room with a bath and separate shower unit. There is also a range of additional modern benefits on offer, including complimentary Wi-Fi, a Nespresso coffee machine, smart televisions which enable synchronisation to your smartphone and streaming of Netflix and other such services. A great addition for those guests looking to relax after dinner in the Terrace Restaurant.
Staying at The Montagu Arms you will also be offered complimentary fresh coffee or tea delivered straight to your room every morning. A beautiful touch.
Boasting 3AA Rosette food, its own country pub and afternoon tea, there really is a plethora of options. However, if you are looking for a high-class fine dining experience, then the hotel’s Terrace Restaurant is the destination for you.
The superb menu, created by Roux Scholar and Head Chef Matthew Tomkinson, showcases the very best in fresh, free-range organic produce. But that’s not all, the restaurant operates a kitchen garden set up, with a proportion of seasonal vegetables and herbs used coming from their own produce. Where produce cannot be grown in the garden, Matthew Tomkinson utilises the New Forest itself as his very own store cupboard. “The New Forest is my larder and what a larder it is!”, says Matthew.
Whether you’re a gourmet enthusiast or simply enjoy superb cuisine you can sample some of chef’s finest dishes. The five or seven course tasting menus are offered with a selection of accompanying wine to distinctly match each course.
It should be said that Matthew deploys a range of textures, techniques and a refined style to bring the wealth of local produce into a different league. Dishes throughout our experience delivered a dining experience to rival any other in the area. Highlights included a ravioli of braised rabbit which exploded in the mouth with a deep and rich flavour. Enhanced by a fricassee of garden vegetables, mustard veloute and a bacon crumb – a gorgeous dish.
It was music to my ears to hear the “Fish of the day” was a fillet of turbot, as this is my absolute favourite fish. Accompanied by fresh sprouting broccoli, toasted almonds for a welcome crunch, a crispy oyster and velvety verjus butter sauce – I was one happy bunny. This dish lived up to our expectations and exceeded them. Keeping a close eye on the dishes arriving at surrounding tables, each dish showed aesthetic flare and we are confident it all shone on the taste buds too.
Special praise should also go to the intriguingly names “Soft Milk Chocolate Bar”. My partner, who is a particular fan of all things chocolate, claims this to be the best dessert she has ever had. I would agree, it is certainly pretty close! The super light chocolate “bar” melted on the tongue in seconds. Utterly indulgent, yet not too heavy, this was a stunning way to end the meal.
With 5-star service throughout The Terrace restaurant there is a true sense of indulgence and opulence. A sommelier is on hand to guide you through over 2,200 bottles of wine from 300 different category bins featuring organic and biodynamic wines. In addition, it should be said that each member of staff executing attentiveness and refined service, without overbearing on the experience.
Afternoon Tea in the forest
A luxury getaway can only be completed by an afternoon tea and a glass of champagne. The Montagu Arms offers afternoon tea in its conservatory in the Summer and in the log fire warmed library in Winter.
The Traditional Full Afternoon tea offers classic elements dating back to the 1840s, such
Home-made fruit scone with Devon clotted cream, home-made strawberry preserve and a selection of traditional finger sandwiches. All of this is then topped off by a selection of perfect sweet treats and cakes from their patisserie. However, in a refreshing change to the norm, The Montagu Arms server their afternoon tea course by course, rather than all at once. For us, this was a welcome twist, as the typical method of delivering all of the elements of afternoon tea at once can sometimes feel a little rushed and unrefined. By splitting the courses we were able to appreciate each element in our own time.
To accompany your afternoon tea there is a range of loose leaf teas to sample. It’s also worth noting that the prestigious Tea Guild awarded The Montagu Arms winner of the Top Country House Hotel Tea for 2013/14, making it the best venue outside of London to enjoy afternoon tea. Quite an accolade!
Remember to book in advance! Traditional afternoon tea is £25 for adults, with a glass of Champagne Tattinger an additional £13.
Access to a stunning spa (albeit 6 miles away)
If you are thinking “where is the spa?”, then you are also in luck. The Montagu Arms offers guests the chance to visit the hotel’s sister venue Careys Manor. There you will find the award winning SenSpa with a range of Thai inspired treatments, saunas, steam rooms, a poolside Jacuzzi and more. Plus, for a little extra, you can also pay to access Carey Manor’s absolutely superb hydrotherapy rooms.
One of our favourite locations in the New Forest, The Montagu Arms has elegance and style in abundance. Plus, the stunning fine dining on offer is a real treat and exhibition of culinary skill, where humble ingredients are elevated into the remarkable. Our visit was faultless throughout, therefore making it a must-visit location for anyone foodie or anyone simply looking for a luxury getaway.
Find out more here.
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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