Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing okay and had lovely, relaxing weekends.
I spent the weekend at Balmer Lawn Hotel & Spa in Brockenhurst (The New Forest) which was a birthday present from my boyfriend Jake. This was such a lovely idea as we both love staying in hotels and had wanted to try a spa break for ages.
Let’s get stuck in…
Shortly after arriving, Jake and I went off for our treatments which I was SO excited for as I loooove being pampered… who doesn’t?
Jake booked me in for an ‘Express Facial’ and a back, neck and shoulder massage which was SO needed as, after an intense workout a few days prior, my back felt like I’d been weightlifting with The Rock. I’m a bit of a weakling.
Both my treatments were amazing and luxurious, and Jake decided it was ‘probably the best massage he’d ever had.’ That’s a pretty good verdict if you ask me.
It’s also worth noting that the therapists were so lovely and friendly. There was a bit of work going on outside the treatment rooms which I worried would be super loud – there was a bit of knocking about here and there but honestly, it really didn’t affect my relaxation one bit, as I still managed to fall asleep during my massage. Hehe.
I was super impressed with our room, which was a standard room. It was the perfect size as you can see from the photo – really classy and simply decorated.
Although, I thought it was a bit bloody cheeky that they provided robes but not slippers for the standard rooms – only the upgrades got the privilege of slippers, apparently! Considering this is supposed to be a ‘spa’ hotel, I thought this was a bit unfair – surely every guest should be able to fully enjoy the facilities equally and not have to walk downstairs barefoot or in trainers? Anyway, I’ll let that slide…
The bathroom was also gorgeous, bright and glamorous and the shower was pretty big which I loved, making up for the fact that there was no bath! *shock horror*. I was quite disappointed that there was no bath, because as we all know, there is something about hotel baths which make them 10x better than normal ones.
After checking into our room, we headed down to the spa facilities where they had a pool, gym, hot-tub and sauna. I didn’t take any photos of these as there were other people using them and I might have looked a bit odd snapping away at blokes in their speedo’s. The pool was a perfect temperature, albeit a bit shallow making it difficult to actually swim (nonetheless all very relaxing!)
Unfortunately, when we were chilling round the pool, there were a couple of very young children making a lot of noise. Obviously, I’m not silly – I know children are loud. But, I think perhaps having an age restriction for the relaxing spa facilities might be a good idea, as I’m sure you can imagine, listening to a toddler screeching doesn’t make for the most romantic setting!
The hotel itself is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK in my opinion, The New Forest. Jake and I had been on a camping trip to Hollands Wood, Brockenhurst last August and cycled past Balmer Lawn, which was literally slap-bang next to the campsite. We thought it looked gorgeous, so it’s really sweet that Jake had remembered it and kept it in mind for a special occasion.
The surroundings and location of the hotel make it the ideal place to stay if you enjoy long walks, hikes and bike rides etc.
We decided to eat outside of the hotel, at The Huntsman of Brockenhurst, purely because we’d been there before and absolutely loved it. Afterwards, we paid a visit to the hotel bar, which was really chilled and had a great atmosphere for winding down before bed. The drinks were also really reasonably priced, which is always a bonus.
I don’t know about you guys, but me and Jake like our lie-ins (especially of a Saturday morning.) We woke up minutes before 10am, and were gutted to realise that breakfast stopped being served at… 10am. So, this was a real shame as we were both hungry and looking forward to a cooked breakfast. Yes, I’ll admit… 10am is quite late to wake up, but we were feeling relaxed in the lovely bed, okay?! I might sound like a lazy cow, but on the weekends, I personally think breakfast should be served a tad later. What do you think?
After hunting out somewhere else for breakfast in Brockenhurst and going for a walk around the nearby forests, we sat down for lunch at 1pm. One thing I’m going to point out which was extremely helpful was that the hotel had loads of spare wellington boots. Stupidly, I’d forgotten to pack suitable walking shoes and only had a pair of heeled boots I’d worn for dinner the night before; not really ideal for wet woodland terrain!
Thankfully, the hotel had a collection of wellies by the door, which were left out for visitors to use. They absolutely saved the day!
We had lunch in the award-winning Beresfords restaurant in the hotel, which I was excited to eat in after seeing the vast menu with tonnes of choice.
As you can see for yourself, the restaurant was beautifully decorated with stylish lighting and cool plants dotted around every table.
Our server was so polite and friendly, and started us off with water, homemade bread and even homemade butter, which was a welcome change from the usual butter portions you are given in restaurants.
The bread was perfectly light and fluffy, the butter deliciously salty (perhaps a little too salty, but hey-ho, it tastes good. Health kick can wait!)
To start, I went for the Chickpea Chips with Garlic Ailoli and Garlic Roasted Peppers.
The chickpea chips were unlike anything I’d ever had before and were honestly so yummy. The ‘batter’ as such was perfectly crisp and the chickpea filling was smooth and velvety. I think this would be a great vegetarian substitute for someone who likes calamari, as it had a similar taste and that familiar salty, peppery flavour. The dip was wonderful too. The peppers tasted good but weren’t anything special, and for me, they were just a bit too oily.
For my main course, I went for the Crown Prince Squash Risotto with Sage Churros, which, again, was super unique and scrumptious.
Yes, I will admit… my plate looks like someone might have thrown up last nights dinner on it and added in a handful of worms. Thankfully, the taste was nothing like that monstrous idea and it had a gorgeously light, creamy flavour. The sage ‘churros’ complimented the risotto wonderfully and gave it an extra crispy kick. I would eat this all over again if I could!
My boyfriend opted for 3 of the ‘Beresfords Bites’ – small plates which are reasonably priced at 3 for £10. He ordered the Pork Quavers, Buttermilk Chicken and Garlic & Chilli Tiger Prawns.
All 3 dishes were enjoyed thoroughly, and although the portions are small, they are perfect sizes for lunch – perhaps not dinner.
The ‘quavers’ were essentially ‘posh pork scratchings’ which my boyfriend really loved. The prawns were seasoned superbly in the chilli sauce, and although the chicken was slightly overcooked, it was reported to be very tasty nonetheless!
I was feeling piggy (when am I not?) and went for a dessert, because I have a sweet tooth that needs feeding. I found it hard to choose because so many of the pudding options were right up my street!
In the end, I ordered the Passionfruit Cheesecake with Green Apple Sorbet.
I love cheesecake and adore passion fruit, so this seemed like the dream dessert for me. Both the fruity topping and actual cheesecake tasted fantastic, but I wasn’t sure if the almost sour flavour of the passion fruit entirely complimented the creamy richness of the cheesecake filling.
Perhaps a more sweet, wholesome berry flavour would go better (this is just my humble opinion – I am in no way a cheesecake connoisseur.) The apple sorbet was a dream and tasted just like a frozen smoothie, adding to the refreshing fruitiness of the dish.
So, big thumbs up to the Beresfords restaurant all in all.
Overall, me and Jake had an enjoyable stay at Balmer Lawn. If you’re looking for somewhere nice to stay in the New Forest or just a relaxing night away, I would recommend Balmer Lawn: the location is spot-on, I couldn’t fault our room, and the staff were all so welcoming and friendly.
For a spa break? Perhaps not – I do think their spa facilities could do with a bit of TLC, but that’s my opinion!
Let me know if you’ve ever stayed at Balmer Lawn and tell me your thoughts on it!
Love, Dayna x
*Our meal at Beresfords Restaurant was very kindly complimentary. However, all opinions are 100% my own.