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New Forest hotel Spot in the Woods aims to increase local gathering after revamp

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BOUTIQUE hotel Spot in the Woods has officially reopened its doors, and home sourced, forest-inspired menus will be the order of the day.

The Woodlands hotel has just undergone a revamp, with tasteful changes to the restaurant and shepherds huts installed in the grounds, but with new manager Richard Slade at the helm there are many more developments on the horizon.

He is on the hunt for a new head chef who can freshen up the food offering and focus even more on sourcing all ingredients from local producers.

Spot in the Woods has officially reopened its doors
Spot in the Woods has officially reopened its doors

“The menu already features local produce – our meat is from The farmers Butcher near Bramshaw and we use New Forest wild mushrooms and Lyburn cheese – but our goal is to source as much as we possibly can from a 21-mile radius,” explained Richard, who has worked at many of the New Forest’s top hotels including Carey’s Manor and Rhinefield House.

“With the head chef, I really want to focus the menu and get a couple of AA Rosettes for the restaurant – but we still want to maintain that relaxed vibe; gone are the days of stuffy venues where you can’t comfortably enjoy a good chat.

“We’ll be expanding the menu, particularly for our evening guests, and introducing traditional afternoon teas.”

A spot of breakfast
A spot of breakfast

The drinks offering includes Sandbanks Brewery beers, Beachcomber Gin based in Lymington, Black Cow vodka and English sparkling wines.

The secluded hotel was taken over by Hillbrooke Hotels, which also runs The Master Builder’s in Buckler’s Hard, in 2020.

It features 11 rooms, some with luxurious roll top baths and all equipped with coffee machines and Roberts Radios. They also boast the little extras that make stays that bit more special, including fudge made in-house and premium Pinkster gin, made with real raspberries.

Richard Slade
Richard Slade

The five shepherds huts, made cosy with electric log burning stoves and featuring all the same signature touches found in the bedrooms, are for those guests wanting to enjoy a more rustic stay.

Dogs are welcome at the hotel, and with the open Forest almost on its doorstep there are some great walks to be found just a stone’s throw away.

The former on-site shop has been replaced with a cosy lounge where guests can relax with a magazine or play a board game, and the conference room will accommodate events and private dining.

“This is the perfect project for me at an ideal property,” said Richard, who was born and raised in the Forest. “We want to get ourselves more known and be talked about across the area.

“We have an amazing opportunity to be one of the best hotels in the area and I want Spot in the Woods to be at the forefront of people’s minds when they think of either staying here or working within hospitality in the area.

The heated terrace overlooking the garden
The heated terrace overlooking the garden

“I have been given free rein to bring new ideas to the property and want to do something that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits – really bringing in the wow factor!”

Richard said that while the rooms were already of a good standard, he aims to give them a further “spruce up”, and he also has his sights set on the outside areas. “We’re looking to improve the grounds in order to utilise them and make them inviting to our guests,” he said.

“We are on a journey and we want to bring people along with us – we’ve had some fantastic feedback so far but we want to continue hearing from people about what they would like to see at the hotel.”

Paul Brown, Hillbrooke Hotels managing director, said that like many other hospitality venues, Spot in the Woods had been through some challenging times” over the last 18 months.

“We are delighted to be open once again, with a new identity designed to provoke lasting memories. It has been a long road and we are so grateful for people’s patience and support over these difficult times.”

For more information or to book, visit www.hillbrookehotels.co.uk/spot-in-the-woods/

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