A review of Oakley Hall Hotel - a luxury hotel in North Hampshire
What I loved about it:
I loved the historical connections to Jane Austen, the gorgeous gardens and the excellent restaurant.
Value for money (out of 10):
First impressions of Oakley Hall
There’s something about driving up a long, winding driveway, full of anticipation and excitement about a night away in a hotel. Oakley Hall is an impressive sight at the end of this drive – a grand, stone entrance in the centre of two red brick turrets.
We received a warm greeting from Josh, and check-in was made far quicker with the digital invite received the day before. I’d been able to input all my details beforehand, so all that was left to do was a couple of signatures. We were offered help with our luggage and then personally escorted to our first-floor room which was a nice touch.
Our room was in one of the turrets and so we benefitted from a large, curved seating area with floor-to-ceiling windows. The result is a bright and airy space which is perfect for relaxing. The bed was huge and very comfortable, and robes and slippers were provided for an extra luxury touch.
Tea and coffee-making facilities were nicely hidden away in a cupboard, alongside a fridge and trouser press. There was also a wardrobe, bedside tables and a desk; plenty of storage space for any belongings. Having stayed in many hotels, one of my ‘must have’ features is a bedside plug socket, and there was one on either side of the bed here. Personal touches included some handmade chocolates and a welcome card.
The bathroom was well-equipped with a large bathtub which was separate from the shower. The shower itself was perfectly hot and powerful and it was a joy to find fluffy bath towels which were actually big enough to wrap around. Oakley Hall is conscious of lowering its carbon footprint and this can be seen with the refillable toiletries which were of a high-quality.
Exploring the rest of the hotel and grounds
You must go for a walk around the grounds if you stay here. If you remain quiet whilst you stroll, you’re likely to see squirrels, rabbits and a variety of birds. Walk up to the fields at the edge and you might even spot some deer. The walled kitchen garden is very pretty, especially in summer when it’s full of fruit and vegetables. There were thousands of apples growing when I visited so it’s no surprise that they’re used in the cloudy apple juice at breakfast.
In the hotel itself you can relax in the bar areas, and there’s also a gorgeous library which is often used for weddings but guests are welcome to use at other times.
Dining at Oakley Hall Hotel
Dinner takes place in The Glasshouse restaurant which is a contemporary space, decorated with teal, gold and colourful artwork. It is also open to non-residents so if you’re local to Basingstoke then I’d recommend it as a destination meal.
The menu was varied and interesting and it was great to see that a lot of the produce comes from the kitchen garden itself. The rest comes from a 50-mile radius so you’ll see lots of excellent local specialities like IOW tomatoes and the restaurant has earned two AA Rosettes, the gold Beautiful South Award for Restaurant of the Year and the Bronze ‘Taste of England’ award from Visit England.
As a starter we tried a selection of the small plates. The Goan style pork ribs had a delicious flavour and I loved the gooseberry kachumber made with Kitchen Garden produce. The pan-fried scallops were plump and juicy, and the bread selection was superb. My favourite dish was the tempura courgette flower – perfectly in season and the light batter complemented the fresh taste of the courgette.
For mains I recommend the fillet of halibut with gnocchi Parisienne and sea vegetables, which were deliciously salty. It didn’t need any additional sides, but the potato rosti with parmesan is worth getting if you like truffle. My husband had the yellow fin seared tuna steak which is an excellent lighter option. There are also steaks, burgers and vegetarian/vegan choices on the menu.
Oakley Hall afternoon tea is one of my favourites because the quality of the patisserie is so high. So I knew the dessert menu would be good. The coffee brulée was up there with one of the best desserts I’ve had. Ever. As I sit writing this, I wish I was eating it again. The sticky toffee pudding was presented in a unique way and it was also very good.
It’s nice to sit in the bar area and relax with a night cap after dinner. If beer is your drink of choice, then I suggest trying the Gold Muddler which is from one of my favourite local breweries – Andwell. I’m more of a cocktail person myself, and I love The Laverstoke. It’s a long drink of Bombay Sapphire gin, ginger ale and vermouth. The Bombay Sapphire distillery is just a few minutes down the road and the tour is a fantastic local activity. I’ve left the link to my review in the handy links section.
Oakley Hall Hotel are currently offering dinner, bed and breakfast rates from £270pn. Given the quality of the restaurant, I consider this to be a good value deal. At breakfast there was a wide variety of hot and cold items, I particularly enjoyed the fresh banana smoothie and raspberry Danish. I like that you can choose all the items you want for the full English – makes it a lot more personalised.
We had a great time here at Oakley Hall Hotel. It has recently become a dog-friendly hotel, but if like me you have allergies you need not worry – all the dog-friendly rooms are in the Courtyard and the 3 bedroom Garden Cottage. And if you are bringing your dog then there are so many walks in the local area you could try!
Fun fact – Oakley Hall was built in 1795 by Wither Bramston, who was a friend of the Austen family. Jane Austen lived in neighbouring Steventon until she was 25 and would have been a frequent visitor to Oakley Hall. If you’d like to team your stay with some other Austen highlights then I’ve left a link to my blog post in the handy links section.
If you have any questions on my review of Oakley Hall Hotel then please do get in touch. I’d be more than happy to help suggest things to do in my local area.