Between the rolling hills of New Forest and well-curated museums, the county of Hampshire, England is undoubtedly romantic. Couples can walk hand-in-hand through bustling market towns or have afternoon tea at a cute, country spot within this southeast region of the United Kingdom. We visited the area’s top hotels to see which are geared toward vacationing couples, keeping in mind the guest rooms, location, and atmosphere, among other things. Check out the most romantic hotels in Hampshire and start planning your getaway!
The eight-room Clarence Hotel is an upscale, adult-only boutique occupying a beautifully renovated Edwardian townhouse in south Portsmouth. While it is a short walk to Southsea's beachfront, there's not a lot of interest in the immediate area. The luxurious rooms, however, are designed for spending plenty of time in -- especially those with jetted bathtubs big enough for two. Don't expect too much in the way of facilities, and rates are high, but for a ritzy romantic hideaway, the Clarence Hotel makes a particularly fine choice.
The "G" in G! Boutique Hotel stands for gorgeous, glamorous, guest-centered, and global. This four-pearl, 14-room boutique property is on the coast of Bournemouth, and is one of the most popular bed-and-breakfasts in the area. With its striking black-and-white floors and bubble chairs hanging in the public spaces -- among other jazzy furnishings -- it's a design-centric delight, although the quirky decor might not be to everyone's taste. The owners, self-proclaimed "world travelers," have stayed at hotels around the globe, and it shows in the way they look after guests. There's a whole array of freebies, including prosecco upon arrival, free cakes and coffee in the lounge, cupcakes and gift bags filled with treats in the room, breakfast in bed if guests want that, and a bottle of water and a snack to take away when checking out.
Lime Wood Hotel is easily the top luxury option in New Forest National Park, and those who can afford it will almost certainly enjoy its gorgeous common areas, plush rooms with large bathtubs, verdant grounds crisscrossed with walking trails, and three-story spa with three pools. The restaurant serving Italian-influenced English food with local ingredients is marketed as a foodie destination, but some past guests complain that the food isn't worth the price; there are no other options within walking distance. Still, almost everything else about the hotel oozes grandeur and it is a good choice for anyone looking to be pampered.
The Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa is a spacious 1800s-themed hotel with three restaurants, a full-service Thai spa (one of the property's main draws), and a conference center. Room rates are a little pricey (especially for the slightly bland Knightwood Garden Rooms), but it's a good choice for travelers who want a hotel near the New Forest with a lot of room and many amenities. The 79 rooms have homey Victorian-inspired style but some are showing wear and may fall a tad short of advertised four-star status.
Spitbank Fort, a 19th-century naval defense base transformed into a eight-room luxury hotel, sits on a private island in the strait of Solent, a mile off England's south coast. Reached only by a private boat from Royal Clarence Marina near Portsmouth Harbor in Hampshire -- getting there is like being part of a James Bond getaway -- the hotel has a large rooftop hot tub, a fire pit, and sauna, and free Wi-Fi throughout. Rooms are large and luxurious, with high-riveted ceilings and the original brickwork that pervades the hotel. A restored red lighthouse with an observation deck offers views that stretch to the Isle of Wight.
The 22-room Montagu Arms is a charming upscale hotel located in a 17th-century country house in the New Forest National Park. Though it's probably a bit too stuffy for children, adult guests will enjoy the quaint English decor, the gardens, and the two on-site restaurants, one of which is Michelin-starred. Features include free Wi-Fi and a couple of meeting rooms. Guest rooms are swanky, but small, and have thin mattresses and get traffic noise.
The Cottage Lodge Hotel is a quaint mid-range hotel complete with wood fires, creaky floorboards, and modern English rooms. Located in the New Forest National Park near the village of Brockenhurst, the hotel is geared towards couples and older guests who want a quiet time in the country. Rooms have reclaimed wood furniture and relatively large bathrooms for such a small place, though the thin walls can sometimes be a problem. A free breakfast is offered at the on-site restaurant, which features locally sourced food, and Wi-Fi and parking are also free.