Tuesday, 16 August 2011

How the Other Half Live

Back in June, I won the top prize in the Passport Draw at Cybermummy.  For someone who has never won a raffle prize in my life, I was pretty excited by just having my name read out at the after party.  What a thrill that was!  But, given that the prize was for a family stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire, with a full Hampshire Breakfast and Horse Riding thrown in, the excitement mounted with the realisation of just how fabulous a prize this really was.

The Four Seasons Hotel is  not the sort of place I would ever have visited. My holiday budget would not extend to such a stay. But having the experience thrust upon me, I was happy to embrace the opulence, luxury and indulgences that it entailed!

As we arrived in the car park (after having decided to avoid the valet parking option where the Rollers, Range Rovers, Bentleys and Jags were parked) we made our way towards the hotel.  Within seconds two young concierges in waistcoats and flat caps, looking every bit like English gentry, rushed towards us and relieved us of our bags and escorted us to the reception.  As we checked in, our motley crue of luggage including Fred's Trunki and an assortment of mix and match sports, canvas and overnight bags were taken to our rooms.  How I wished we had matching Samsonite cases as I saw them trollied down the corridor!

Driving up to the Four Seasons Hotel
We were escorted to our room and given a mini guided tour of the history of the building and the facilities available.  Every corridor, staircase, courtyard, atrium or room we passed was resplendent in decorative embellishments, artwork or floral arrangements.  As Freddy thundered along with us doing pig impressions, still buzzing from his Peppa Pig adventure, my heart was lodged firmly in my mouth.

The rooms we arrived at were unbelievable.  I'm used to Travelodges so to have two adjoining rooms that were as big as the entire ground floor of my house was quite a shock.  Each had it's own marble bathroom with deep tub, separate shower room and vanity unit.  It was quite exquisite!

Four Seasons' Bathroom
The beds were sumptuous with enormous plump pillows and crisp, white bedding.  The TVs were 42" and had loads of Sky channels to keep the kids happy.  We had fluffy dressing gowns and slippers waiting for us.

Kizzy's  Fairy and Friends Pyjamas.
The most amazing thing was the welcome gifts that awaited us.  The children had an array of handmade, personalised confectionery in their room.  They also had rubber ducks and foam letters spelling out their names in the bathroom.  Such attention to detail.  Me and Ian had a display of apples and dried fruit on a slate tray.  It was quite fabulous.

Despite the utter poshness of this hotel, children are made so welcome.  Not only did they have all the personal touches in their room, Freddy was also allowed to pick some gifts from a toy box at reception.  He chose a giant pen and a colouring book.  I lived in fear of him marking the pure white bed linen!  The girls were given a key to a secret cottage in the grounds where there was air hockey, snooker and fuss ball tables. There is a Kids Club offering activities such as Arts and Crafts and nature walks everyday.  The restaurant is stocked with children's beakers, plates and cutlery.  The cloakrooms had baby changing facilities with pure, white fluffy towels to lie baby on.  Every member of staff had a smile for the children.  This kid friendly policy put me in a far more relaxed mood...Freddy is a handful, a real little lad on the go in top gear at all times.  It was nice to know his presence was not resented!

Air Hockey
I discovered that posh hotels don't have kettles, and as a cup of coffee cost £4.90, I had to go without my brews which was a little upsetting!  Apart from that, every need was catered for.  We had luxurious baths using the gorgeous products that were provided, then relaxed in our fluffy robes!  Bliss!

The breakfast was a fancy affair.  The buffet was beautifully presented on silver salvers and included Full English and continental options alongside some items I couldn't identify! (Too posh for me!)  Sadly, in spite of cute plates, cups and cutlery especially for him, Freddy just did not want to have breakfast and just wanted to escape into the acres and acres of gardens he could see out of the full length windows.  Food was not something he was bothered about so we didn't have a relaxing breakfast...well Ian didn't.  I pretended not to know the man chasing around outside after the sprinting toddler, as I dined on a delicious combination of eggs, potato rosti and mushrooms and sipped on glasses of freshly squeezed juice.

The girls had their horse riding hack after breakfast.  We were driven to the Equestrian Centre by a concierge in a Range Rover and the girls were kitted up in boots and hats before riding off across the meadow on their ponies Ben and Charles!!  We tried to follow on foot but with Fred stopping to pick every dandelion clock we soon lagged behind.  But it was a lovely walk and the grounds were glorious.

We had an amazing time at the Four Seasons Hotel.  If I won the lottery I would definitely go for one of their customized week long breaks with a fully organized itinerary. How cool would that be!  They will even send a chaffeur to collect you from the local airport if you come by private jet.  I bet people with that sort of money don't mind paying £4.90 for a cup of decaff!

If you ever wanted a gorgeous, family friendly place for a very special occasion, you wouldn't be disappointed.  It really is a taste of living like Lord and Lady of the Manor.  Thank you to Cybermummy and to the Four Seasons Hotel for giving us the taste of the high life.  It was wonderful!


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