When you find out that a new 11-bedroom hotel on the edge of the New Forest is the brainchild of Hotel du Vin group co-founder Gerard Basset and his wife Nina, you know it won't be run of the mill. It isn't. In TerraVina, the Bassets have brought to life their personal vision of the ideal country hotel – stylish but unpretentious, relaxed but professional, and with exceptional food and wine.
Gerard's impressive wine qualifications and cellars tick all the boxes for wine connoisseurs but won't intimidate anyone else. Both he and Nina know what makes guests happy: that means there are reading glasses in the restaurant and intimate bar, fresh milk in the rooms, proper hangers in the wardrobe and an outdoor pool.
Nina has drawn on the autumnal New Forest palette for her contemporary interiors, with warm woods, rich textures and fresh fabrics from local suppliers and craftspeople. Original art comes in the form of photographs of the spectacular forest.
Seven of the spacious double bedrooms open on to their own secluded garden or large private roof terrace. In-room roll-top baths allow a relaxing soak in front of the flat-screen TV, perhaps with an espresso from your own machine. Other features include DVD, free Wi-Fi, good showers in generous bathrooms and delicious oversize beds. Organic toiletries are scented with locally grown lavender.
The food and drink
Head chef Rory Duncan uses organic, free-range, local produce whenever possible. A starter of leek and Cornish crab lasagne was fresh and light, and succulent pink wood pigeon evoked the forest setting. In summer, dine al fresco on the covered verandah or in your own outdoor space. Expect to pay about £32 a head for three courses.
One bedroom has been adapted for guests with disabilities. Children welcome. No dogs.
From £120 per room per night (including rubber duck for your bath). English breakfast is £12.50 each.
Hotel TerraVina, 174 Woodlands Road, Woodlands, Netley Marsh, Southampton SO40 7GL (023 8029 3784; hotelterravina.co.uk).