New Park Manor Hotel should have everything going for it. The Hotel itself is built around Charles II’s favored hunting lodge. There are period features in the historic part of the building, including beams, fireplaces, and wood carving. The new parts of the building have been added sympathetically, including a modern and luxurious spa. New Park Manor is located in the beautiful New Forest National Park in Southern England.
In the past, I have visited New Park Manor and have always had a fantastic getaway there . So I was very excited when my husband and I had the opportunity to spend a weekend there this autumn. Unfortunately, our experiences with the hotel did not live up to the expectations that we had. Here’s my recent experience with New Park Manor Hotel. (For the purposes of this review, I will just write about the hotel, not the attached spa or Stag Restaurant.)
When we checked into the hotel, the front desk staff was friendly. However, we were left to follow behind her–carrying our own luggage–up the stairs to our room. Our room was one of their country classic double rooms, and was situated in the older part of the hotel. On first impression, the room looked good. It had a feature fireplace (which was oddly hidden behind a table) and a large window with a window seat looking out over the grounds. The bed had items to welcome us, including a welcome letter, a small pack of shortbread biscuits, and robes and slippers for us to use during our stay. There was also a cuddly toy horse, as New Park Manor uses “guard” horses and deer (stuffed animals) rather than “do not disturb” signs. I felt welcome.
However, as we then settled into our room and started to look around, more small problems became apparent. Overall, there was simply a lack of attention to detail in the cleaning, upkeep, and decoration of the room. For example, although the room generally seemed tidy, there was a hair in the bathtub (definitely not ours) and the room obviously needed dusting. Also, the carpet was very worn. In fact, it was threadbare in areas and even had several visible holes. It was also badly laid next to the en suite bathroom, and so there was an ugly gap between the bathroom floor and the carpet.
Other maintenance items were lacking or had shoddy work. For example, the toilet handle (to flush) was broken and could move completely around in a circle. This made it awkward to use. Also, there were unsightly holes and screws on the back of the bathroom door, I’m assuming where towel hooks had previously been.
The room had standard amenities, including Wifi, a TV with a fair selection of channels, a telephone, and a few magazines. It also had an electric kettle with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate sachets. When we stayed in New Park Manor last year, our room had bottled mineral water and glasses as well. This visit these items were lacking, and I missed them. The standard of the toiletries had also gone downhill.
In the past, New Park Manor has used high quality, natural soaps and bathing products. In fact, just the smell of Neroli soap was enough to bring back good memories of staying at New Park Manor. It really made guests feel pampered. This visit, however, New Park Manor had cheaper, generic bottles of hotel shampoo and conditioner.
New Park Manor is still a lovely hotel, and does have a great building. However, it did generally seem to suffer from a lack of real care and detail. I noticed wallpaper that was coming off from the wall and a broken window.
The public lounge was inviting at this time of year. The fire was lit in the fireplace and gave a cozy feeling to the room. Music played softly in the background, and included a good mix of calm, romantic music ranging from opera to Norah Jones. My husband and I enjoyed sitting down in the lounge and playing a few games with their wooden backgammon board.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at New Park Manor because it did offer a good weekend break. However, the hotel experience could have been better with just a little extra work from the staff. This is a nice hotel, but not the luxury experience that I expected from a von Essen hotel.