There’s a new movement on Instagram that I’m calling the ‘Heckfield Place Awakening’. Because if you haven’t already heard of Heckfield Place, you’ve probably seen its swoon-worthy interior design all over the internet. Or their bespoke initial embossed room cards. Or the shiny Bodyism fitness studio. Or the line-up of Hunter wellington boots you can borrow. I could go on…
Opening last autumn, the initial launch date was delayed by six years – with good reason. Heckfield Place is now one of the UK’s slickest and most inviting spaces that puts a fresh spin on how modern hotels should be run. Precisely 67 minutes after I check in, I text my boyfriend and tell him we have to come back. ASAP.
An hour’s drive from central London, Heckfield literally is the Place to be seen (and sleep). Here’s why.
THE PACKING EDIT
Heckfield Place’s rooms take on two very different personalities. The cosy but modern studio-style rooms in the Corridors contrast with the grandiose high ceilings and ornate features of bedrooms in the Georgian house. Each room is individually designed so there’s no cookie cutter formula to the fact that every bedroom makes you want to redecorate your own bedroom/bathroom/living space in the exact same way. It’s in the Georgian house where you’ll find the hotel’s six signature rooms with those made-for-Instagram bathrooms. Names are just as decadent, including the ‘Panelled Room’, ‘Ochre Room’ and ginormous (seriously) ‘Long Room’; really more of a deluxe house at £10,000 a night.
Craving open space and country air? Heckfield Place has plenty of both, hidden away in a secluded 438-acre Hampshire estate. The grounds, walled gardens, terraces and lawns have all been painstakingly restored and maintained and many of the outdoor-indoor concepts are lovingly interlinked. Parts of the original arboretum were planted in the 19th century by pioneering horticulturalist William Walker Wildsmith – who also happens to be the inspiration for the sole skincare brand in the Little Bothy Spa, Wildsmith Skin. The ‘Go Explore’ map left for guests gives you an idea of the scale of Heckfield Place’s woody greatness – not to mention the 33 different types of trees you might spot. Style yourself up for mudproof-ing in the Hunter wellies and Barbour jackets, which are lined up for guests to borrow before outdoorsy exploring. Chic.
From the Skye Gyngell farm-to-fork cuisine to Bodyism’s fitness studio to Little Bothy Spa, wellness is a big focus at Heckfield Place – without being in your face. Featuring essential oils and ingredients fresh from the apothecary garden, Little Bothy Spa menu features just one small-but-mighty spa brand, Wildsmith Skin (wildsmithskin.com). On the ground floor of the hotel, bursting with natural light, it’s a real escape from the buzz of the hotel communal zones with intimate treatment rooms and a relaxation zone with the squishiest of blue sofa beds. As the name suggests, it’s on the Little side, with a big sister set to open next year.
Building is already under way for a wellness centre combining spa and fitness from lifestyle partner, Bodyism (bodyism.com). Three high-tech studios already house the Bodyism fitness team for one-on-one personal training, yoga and pilates to boost your feel-good factor.
It all starts with the soil at Heckfield Place. This is a hotel that is fiercely committed to building a self-sustaining relationship between house and land. Much of the estate’s biodynamic Home Farm, kitchen, gardens and orchards inspire the menus of Skye Gyngell at the moreish Marle restaurant and open-flamed Hearth. Don’t miss the daily menu specials, which taste like the ingredients have been picked that morning. Hardly surprising with a commitment to sustainable practices like rain water harvesting, spring water capturing and plants in sync with the phases of the moon (yes, really). My favourite guest gift is a bespoke set of postcards revealing the phases of the moon for every month in 2019. If I can get myself in tune with the moon and feel/smell/sleep as good as Heckfield Place me, I’ll be on to a winner.