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Stanwell House - Review

FOUR POSTER BEDS hung with velvet drapes, plump pillows, a half-sipped glass of champagne to one side... the bedrooms of Stanwell House – a little Georgian boutique hotel in seafaring Lymington – tell their own tales of stolen weekends.

The rich colours of indulgence mark out this appealing – and highly affordable – hotel set between Lymington’s yacht harbour and the New Forest. With its bare board and York stone floors, antique and bric-a-brac laden shelves and candlelit dining room, Stanwell House has all you need for a seaside adventure à deux. There’s even an old walled garden and a couple of suites with private terraces for late-night trysts.

Centrepiece of the hotel is the airy, glass roofed conservatory lounge, with its bare brick walls and relaxed rattan chairs – just the place to sip a cappuccino or glass of wine. Yachties and their wives are regulars here, and many not surprisingly decide to forgo a berth on the ocean waves for a night or two in one of Stanwell House’s bedrooms.

Smoochy surrounds

Bed down in vamped-up Georgian surrounds in the oldest part of the hotel, where  reds and purples are matched with ornate gilded mirrors, brass chandeliers and oak four-posters. Clawfoot baths with shower cloaks and velvet throws add to the sense of bijou decadence. One room has a deep purple velvet chaise longue – perfect for those ship’s-captain-and-the-wayward-wench scenarios.

If contemporary cool is more your style, opt for one of the rooms in the newer wing. These have hip-high wood panelling, blond wood timber floors and creamy-white walls, with rugs and leopardskin-look lamps. Don’t want to be disturbed? Just place Rolo the fluffy dog mascot outside your door.

Skip down the curved stone staircase, with its ornate wrought iron balustrade, and you can perch on velvet covered barstools in the cocktail bar while deciding which of the two restaurants you’ll dine in – the wood-panelled bistro at the rear or Stanwell’s, the chic new fish restaurant. And if you can’t decide you can simply hop on the bar bed – a huge brocade-covered divan piled with outsize cushions that stretches across one wall.

It’s a fun place alright – with all the charms of cobble-street Lymington on the doorstep. Head for the harbour, and you can be on the Isle of Wight in half an hour. Head the other way, and you could be in the middle of the New Forest. Or simply head upstairs to your quarters. I reckon I’d vote for the latter.


Stanwell House was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mark MacGee

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