Treetop gazing in the New Forest’s Chewton Glen
This is my happy place. I am lying in an oversized bath (not my own; no cleaning will be required later) with my boyfriend nestled into an armchair just beside me. The world is being put to rights and the wine is being topped up regularly.
Outside there is a hot tub overlooking the treetops of Hampshire, which is of course where we should be, but for now, this is better, if a little less adventurous.
As with most of our trips, it doesn’t start quite so calmly. We arrive at Chewton Glen with a car-load of furniture (another story), an hour and a half behind our estimated time of arrival. I leave my toothbrush in the car, have to be driven back in a hotel buggy to collect it, set the car alarm off, and, wonder briefly if the very nice man driving the buggy thinks we’ve a) stolen the car, b) stolen the furniture, and c) perhaps aren’t even the pair booked into the lavish treehouse where we’re supposed to be spending the night.
In no particular order, canapés, Champagne, dinner of scallops and sea bass, (and, bliss, my favourite wine in the world on the menu) and then that bath right the wrong and when we drift off amidst the treetops, embarrassing car alarms are a distant memory.
Waking up is something else. The mist rises from the cold forest spread before us, and I’m berated for not accepting the offer of breakfast delivered through a little shoot into our room. I am still full, I argue; I need the walk back to the hotel.
Where I become a lot more full. Why have avocado on toast when you can have avocado and smoked salmon on toast? Or avocado and smoked salmon and eggs? (I turn vegan a few months later. This would have been an appropriate last meal.)
By the time I submerge myself in the plethora of Jacuzzis, hot tubs, cold baths and pools in the hotel spa my stomach is round enough to act as a buoyancy aid.
I lose my wrist-attached locker key somewhere in the water, and still somehow the calm that descended in a bath up in the treetops fails to evaporate.
Luxury treehouses might be something of a ubiquity these days, but there’s something magical about Chewton Glen’s. Maybe they put something in the water.