What’s it like? Tylney Hall is one of four properties making up the Elite Hotels collection, the others being Ashdown Park in East Sussex, The Grand in Eastbourne, and Luton Hoo. The last of these added a dedicated meetings venue to its offering last year (see online news September 28, 2009).
The country house hotel is set within 66 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland in the heart of Hampshire, with stand out features including a lake and Italian gardens. The main mansion is Grade II listed and dates to 1898, serving as a hospital during the First World War, and later as a private school, before being bought by and refurbished by Elite, opening as a hotel in 1986.
I was invited to stay at Tylney Hall for the tenth anniversary of the hotel’s meetings, conferences and events facilities, along with dozens of events and meeting planners, and we were treated to two days of activities aimed at demonstrating the range of possible events that can be staged at the hotel. A corporate events company was brought in to provide many of the activities, which included clay pigeon shooting and archery, an interactive treasure hunt, a superb fireworks display over the lake, a live band, and a barbeque lunch in the gardens of the hotel’s Hampshire Suite, accompanied by a steel band.
We also had a chance to try our hands at duck herding, with guests attempting to control half a dozen dogs (with more than a little help from the handler) to direct a brace of ducks towards their pen through a series of words and whistles. It was great fun, and fitted with the quintissentially English country feel of the weekend.
Where is it? The hotel is just outside the town of Hook, around five minutes’ drive from junction 5 of the M3. Hook railway station has direct services from London Waterloo, taking around one hour, from where it is a five minute drive to the hotel. Farnborough airport is around 15 minutes drive away.
Room facilities Rooms are split into six categories, ranging from Deluxe Rooms with queen size beds and a seating area, through suites with views of the gardens, separate living areas, four poster beds and whirlpool baths (in some rooms), up to the two top suites – the Duke and Duchess. Both these suites feature four poster beds and large ensuite marble bathrooms with whirlpool baths – the Duke suite is clad in oak panelling while the Duchess has a light floral decor, and both have great views of the countryside and grounds.
In keeping with the rest of the hotel, room decor is traditional and elegant, with dark wood furniture, muted colour schemes and floral curtains / bed spreads. Facilities include a work desk, safe, TV with satellite channels, trouser press and hairdryer. Wired internet access is free for the first 15 minutes, then £5 for the first hour, £3 for subsequent hours, or £20 for 24 hours.
Restaurants and bars The hotel’s Oak Room restaurant is, as the name would suggest, housed within a beautiful oak-panelled room, with a domed ceiling and log fire. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner (jackets are required for gentlemen on Friday and Saturday evenings), with a choice of a la carte or set menus available. Examples of the dishes include Cornish crab bisque served with crab and coriander cake, pan roasted pork tenderloin served with apple and pancetta rosti and preserved fruits, and pear Bavarian with raspberry sauce centre served with pear sorbet. A traditional roast joint is also available each evening from the carving trolley.
The hotel also offers afternoon tea (from £13.50 for scones, preserves and tea, up to £28 for the champagne option), served either on the terrace, or in the Italian or Grey lounges. Sandwiches, drinks and a “Comfort Menu” including pan fried calves liver and Thai green chicken curry are also available throughout the day.
Business and meeting facilities The hotel has a total of 12 function suites, most of them located within the main mansion. The 123sqm Tylney Suite is the largest indoor function space in the hotel, and is decorated in baronial style, with a capacity for up to 120 guests for a cocktail reception. Other choices include the Chestnut Suite, with an attached reception area, bar and cloakroom, and the newly-refurbished Hampshire Suite, located in a separate building and with its own courtyard. Wifi internet access is available in the meeting rooms and public areas, at the same charges as in the rooms.
Leisure facilities The hotel offers excellent leisure facilities, including all-weather tennis courts, indoor and outdoor swimming pools (the latter set in a lovely garden with deck chairs and parasols), and a health spa with four treatment rooms, a gym, sauna and whirlpool.
As mentioned above, there is also plenty of scope for team building events to be arranged including clay pigeon shooting and archery, and the grounds of the hotel are perfect for exploring, with woodland walks, jogging trails, Victorian greenhouses, an orchard and the lake with its boathouse bridge. There is also an 18 hole golf course adjacent to Tylney Halll, and mountain bikes can be hired from the hotel.
Verdict Beautiful grounds and building, in a peaceful countryside setting, but still only an hour from London and Heathrow.
How many rooms? 112, of which 40 are deluxe bedrooms, 22 are deluxe bedrooms with views of the grounds and lake, 14 are executive rooms, four are junior suites, 13 are suites, 13 are Studio Suites, four are Orangery Suites, and the final two are the Duke and Duchess suites.
Hotel highlights The extensive grounds, traditional rooms, and peaceful outdoor pool.
Price Online rates for a midweek stay in September started from £210 for a Deluxe Room
Contact Tylney Hall, Rotherwick, Hook, Hampshire; tel +44 (0)1256 764881; tylneyhall.co,uk