If you’ve never been to a Relais et Chateaux hotel then one of the most affordable ways to experience them is to enjoy a meal there. And, if you’re on this site, I’m sure you’ll agree, what better meal than afternoon tea?
At Chewton Glen afternoon tea is taken in the lounge, alongside hotel guests who may just be enjoying a cup of tea or reading one of the house books or magazines. It’s a sumptuous way to immerse yourself into a life of luxury, if only for an afternoon. Staff are incredibly professional, charming and courteous and on hand to help but so discreetly that it never interferes with your conversation. The lounge overlooks beautiful grounds and a patio. In the Summer you can take tea on one of the outdoor tables, in Winter you might want to cosy yourself into one of the comfortable sofas near a fire. It’s almost worth planning your visit for Winter just so you are more inclined to take hot chocolate with your afternoon tea – as if it wasn’t decadent enough! This house-made indulgent beverage is made with Valrhona chocolate and topped with lashings of cream.
Each afternoon tea comes with both a plain scone and a raisin one. Sandwiches are traditional: ham, salmon, egg & cress and cucumber. All sandwiches were superbly made; the quality of salmon was outstanding. The real treat of afternoon tea here is the large range of mini desserts all expertly made by the in-house pastry team. Oh, to have again the rhubarb jelly topped with a lemongrass and ginger yoghurt, the blood orange macaron, the multi-layered passionfruit sponge, the lemon and green tea cupcake and the chocolate truffle cake topped with a chocolate brandy glaze. It defeated us. Fortunately the hotel is used to this occurring and packaged our uneaten treats for us to take away.
If you do make it to Chewton Glen for the afternoon tea, I would highly recommend combining it with a visit to their award-winning spa. The hydrotherapy pools are quite amazing. We chose to extend our visit into a mini-holiday and paid to stay the night. We were there just 24 hours but it felt like a week away.
Chewton Glen is on the edge of the New Forest, near Bournemouth. There are plenty of beautiful walks nearby and the sea is just a pretty fifteen minute walk away. Last year they opened new rooms, the treehouses, which are at tree height and overlook the lawns with hot tubs on the balconies. They’ve won awards for their design. They are set away from the rest of the building and include sofas, books and games and are a perfect country escape for a family with small children or a romantic weekend away. James Martin is a longtime friend of the head chef and so occasionally visits for special events. Keep an eye on their website for these and other exciting activities.
The recipe for the chocolate truffle cake, if you would like to make it yourself, is here
. Bon appétit!