Cosseted in the British countryside

I’m a big fan of The Four Seasons, not the four violin concerti by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi, but the hotel management group. I’ve been fortunate to either stay in or visit a number of their hotels over the years – far too many to mention. You may find this surprising since I’m usually banging the drum for small, family-run businesses and these guys are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Or are they? I find that thanks to their excellently trained staff and philosophy, I always feel cosseted in their hotels.

The hotels they run are oases of tranquility with all the bells and whistles one’s little heart could desire. Despite the large throughput of guests, staff miraculously remember your name, and particular likes and dislikes. Nothing is ever too much trouble, not even my regime. The hotel whipped me up a scrumptious vegan afternoon tea at the drop of a hat!

I booked the hotel over a year ago because the wedding we were attending, which was a short car ride away, clashed with a Classic Car event at nearby Goodwood. I was also pretty certain we’d be the only wedding guests staying at this hotel thereby obviating the need to socialise further. I wanted a restful and relaxing week-end with my beloved which would serve as an early celebration of our (41st) wedding anniversary – where have those years gone? And, I think it’s fair to say, we achieved that.

We did however bump into someone we knew. Spookily, we’d only been talking about him five minutes before and were surprised to see him. I think that surprise was reciprocated though, of course, he may’ve wondered why his ears were burning.

The hotel grounds were enormous and despite my beloved’s leg, which was still painful, we had a very pleasant meander. We also enjoyed looking at the car porn. A number of guests had driven their Classic Cars to the event and you could see by their immaculate state that these were their pride and joy – all that gleaming chrome and immaculate paintwork.

We were not familiar with this part of the country, so spent an afternoon pottering around nearby Farnham, a pretty market town with bags of history, lots of interesting buildings and a good selection of shops and restaurants, the latter with many vegan options. Having eaten in the hotel restaurant on Thursday evening, we ate in Farnham on Saturday. No need to eat dinner after the mid-afternoon wedding luncheon on Friday, though we did have a couple of glasses of Rioja in the bar before retiring.

A copious breakfast was included in our room rate and my beloved enjoyed a full English most days while I enjoyed the selection provided for the hotel’s Middle Eastern guests. Fresh fruit, moutabal, salad and hummous for breakfast may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly floats my boat.

A late check out allowed us to fully enjoy the hotel’s facilities, particularly in the Spa, before tucking into Sunday afternoon tea in the library ahead of our departure. It was a lovely three-day break and we enjoyed chatting about France, in French, with some of the staff, one of whom came from Nice.

When we checked out the receptionist asked me which other Four Seasons we’d visited. It was only as I started rattling them off that I appreciated just how many of them we’ve stayed at, or eaten at, and I thought about why. Largely because it’s a brand I trust. I know what I’m going to find, that’s often very comforting because I so don’t like surprises.

14 thoughts on “Cosseted in the British countryside

  1. I like the ‘Four Seasons’ experience quite a bit, but not nearly as much, as I like you, if you bike around places. After all money tends to make people uninteresting, but biking around, especially a bit later in life, makes you quite interesting to me. Plus, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons breaks me down with sheer beauty.
    I wear the Four Seasons slippers around The Holler. They make think of Vivaldi.

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    1. Cindy, thank you for your kind words. I only took up cycling once we’d relocated to the South of France and it’s ideal for keeping fit and healthy. Plus, I get to see and visit places on my bike, or through watching bike races, that I might not have ordinarily visited. My life has been enriched by cycling. Now that I’m semi-retired, a few days of luxury in a Four Seasons Hotel is a bit of a treat though I tend to take advantage of their special offers so it’s not as expensive as you might think.

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  2. Oh, I do too, take advantage of their special offers, especially that, “Stay four nights, get your fifth night free, ” bit.
    It’s is lovely to meet you and I am still, more interested in you, than The Four Seasons.

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    1. Cindy, if I’m honest, the blog is all about me. It’s a bit of a vanity project: what I do, where I go, what I cook, random thoughts on life in France, trips down memory lane, my love of sports etc

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