Countryside chic, welcoming, soulful
Hampshire RG27 0LD 44-0-118-932-6868 heckfieldplace.com
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At a Glance
An immaculate 18th-century estate–turned–countryside hotel in Hampshire (not technically a part of the Cotswolds, but similar in atmosphere), the sophisticated Heckfield Place is a pastoral haven guaranteed to make even the most stubborn city slickers appreciate a slower way of life.
- The 67-seat underground movie theater, where Heckfield shows movies and hosts speakers
- The hotel’s proximity to Wellington Riding Club, an esteemed private equestrian center, and that the hotel can arrange horseback riding lessons for guests
- The signature suites, including the Long Room, a stunning one-bedroom suite with a loft-like feel
- The farm-to-table cuisine crafted by celebri-chef Skye Gyngell at restaurants Marle and Hearth
Heckfield Place Review
Located one hour outside of London in the county of Hampshire and just 45 minutes from Heathrow, Heckfield Place owes much of its magic to its affable owners, Gerald Chan, a Boston-based businessman with no background in hospitality but an undeniable knack for creating special places, and his family. Their first venture into the industry, Heckfield Place is a true passion project, and the time it took to develop it is in large part due to the Chan family’s ambitious vision to create a self-sustaining property that feels more like a home than a hotel. The team they brought on to run it, including some top talent from the Aman hotel group, interior designer Ben Thompson (who helped Ilse Crawford design Stockholm’s gorgeous Ett Hem hotel) and culinary director Skye Gyngell (behind London’s acclaimed Spring restaurant), have created an unparalleled five-star experience.
A deeply unique place, Heckfield Place has 45 rooms, each of which has its own character and charm. From the cozy Friends Rooms (which offer an affordable way to experience this paradise at around $450 USD per night) to the Signature Suites and the Long Room, the top suite ($13,000 per night for one bedroom) which has a living room, kitchen, two fireplaces and two terraces, each room is supremely comfortable and intimate. Decamping from one’s accommodations might seem hard here, but Heckfield also has a number of gorgeous living spaces ideal for reading, enjoying afternoon tea or marveling at the works from the Chan family’s spectacular private art collection that line the walls. Beyond the main buildings, Heckfield Place is situated on 400 acres, which includes a river and two lakes (fly-fishing is available), a farm that uses biodynamic practices and has pigs, sheep and cows, walled gardens and centuries-old trees that were planted here by pioneering horticulturalist William Wildsmith.
An integral part of Heckfield Place is its culinary program. Overseen by Skye Gyngell, the airy Marle and cozy, brick-walled Hearth implement fruits and vegetables grown at the on-property farm. Breakfast starts with cinnamon-cardamom buns and lemon raspberry polenta muffins, lunch might include tagliatelle with rabbit, swiss chard and dried chili and dinner is best enjoyed with dishes straight out of the open fire at Hearth. Farm-to-table is a way of life here, and guests are encouraged to visit the farm and pick ingredients for their meals.
A major spa with a 50-foot pool is in development and set to open by summer 2020 (there is already a smaller spa with five treatment rooms and personal training, Pilates and yoga studios). And while guests could easily spend their days relaxing and luxuriating in the peaceful English countryside life, Heckfield Place espouses cultural experiences as well. The hotel’s Assembly at Heckfield Place is an incredible program that offers a rotation of screenings (in the hotel’s custom 67-seat cinema), speakers and workshops. This includes everything from blockbuster film showings to lectures: the program launched with Amanpour’s a talk about the need for “Truthful, not neutral” news and another about the importance of biodynamic farming.
Who Should Stay
Couples and families with older children will appreciate the sophisticated but homey atmosphere at Heckfield Place. The property is ideal for a relaxing few days in the countryside, and is a great spot to visit after spending time in London.
- Emma Pierce