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News at Woodlands

Greetings from the New Forest- April 2016

Greetings from the New Forest!

Spring has sprung! Woodlands Lodge has been busy bees in the last 2 months.

Firstly, we finished room 5 and I think it is a real triumph. Nice and bright, clean looking and in the somewhat adventurous colour ‘babouche’ or bright yellow!! It is a happy  room and Gary has been busy tidying up the hotel painting doors and corridors so we look fresh and ready for Summer.

Our kitchen team has to be the biggest change in the last 6 weeks. It has literally transformed. Our new head chef the talented Andy Smith has started and already made over the kitchen, with his modern take on British food and he is focussed on the seasonality and keeping all our produce as local as possible. I am so excited for everyone to taste and see his food!! It looks and tastes divine. The afternoon tea menu has also been revamped and now incorporates a wonderful children’s tea as well as the ‘Gentleman’s’ Cream tea that incorporates all the savoury favourites such as pork pies and steak and stilton sandwiches along with the usual sweet treats… makes me hungry just writing about it. In our menu shake up we have been able to redesign our bar menu too… we hope to offer snacks faster to our guests and all day! Next week is the turn of the breakfast to be transformed, and we have some glorious new bowls to put in our granolas, yoghurts and fruit on the continental and we have added Robert’s breakfast favourite Eggs Benedict to the repertoire too…

We also welcome Mark to the position of sous chef, and Declan as an Apprentice join Nick to finish our Kitchen team.

We have not limited change to the kitchen and promoted Gina to front of House Manager- well done Gina, we also wave a very fond goodbye to Charlotte who is leaving us to run a Campsite in France for the Summer!

We had a very successful Mother’s Day and really enjoyed seeing so many happy families- and the first chance we had to showcase Andy. Easter was lovely too with us finally feeling the winter is behind us, and looking forward to get the summer underway and wedding season up and running.

March saw us have our bi annual wedding showcase and the hotel looked absolutely stunning with a bit of help from our lovely supplier friends. We were able to show off the hotel in all its wedding glory.

This week I am starting to embark on our Christmas party and Christmas package. It seems early but we want to be nice and prepared!!

We hope to welcome you to the hotel very soon, as the walks are clearing from Mud and the smell of springtime is upon us. We still have some cracking deals with Dinner, bed and breakfast from £139 per couple.

Best wishes

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest

Greetings from the New Forest

 

Well, that’s a relief January is over!! The detox can finish, and we are one month nearer to Spring!! So good news all round.

Make a date with us this month, and enjoy a wonderful Valentine’s break or a sneak away from work for a mid week retreat! Our 3 nights for £300 per couple dinner, bed and breakfast is still on throughout February too (Sunday- Thursday).

We have taken time this month to tackle some maintenance issues, and also redecorate room 7. It now looks lovely and bright, so very happy with the result. Room 5 is next on our hit list and this is planned for later this month- can’t wait although not sure if we have gone a little too bold with the colour… although you will have to wait until my next blog to find out what it is!!!

We have been surprisingly busy for January and crazily Sunday has become the new Friday- I wonder if it’s a January thing!!

We also have put together an amazing (and I mean our best yet) Mother’s Day lunch menu by new Head chef Andy Smith and taking bookings now, so please book early.

Hoping the mild weather continues and the rain stays away…

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest

Greetings from the New Forest!

Happy New Year! We hope that you had a great time over the festive season? We have had a great month. We were lucky enough to host 2 wonderful winter themed weddings as well as a 50th and 60th birthday party before we had festive fun with 2 great party nights. We culminated in a lovely 3 day Christmas package, lucky for us we had some fab guests. It was great to see some familiar faces too. Our Christmas quiz gave us a new set of champions- well done team ‘Christmas cheer’ a well deserved win. The panto at the MayFlower was also a real high light and Duncan James a little added bonus for the ladies!! We also celebrated the New Year with a sumptuous 7 course feast and live music, a great night with much dancing and laughter to welcome 2016. It would not however be the hospitality industry without a few little glitches… nightmares… depending on where you are! We had 2 table collapses during the meal- not sure how or why, but thankfully the guests were real troupers and no wine lost most importantly! We really do have an amazing team and sending them great thanks for working hard day and night to ensure that all the guests  throughout the month had a good time with us. We love you!!!!!!!

It has also been all change for us in the kitchen this December with a new head Chef Tom Taylor, who has brought with him a lot of great ideas, bags of enthusiasm and a fresh approach.  Despite being thrown in at the deep end in December he has impressed us and the guests, so we look forward to what the new year will bring!

Now the New Year is here though, I would definitely like to get out and about and burn off a few extra pounds, but unfortunately I have to wait for a few more days til this terrible rain stops!!! Gaah.

Well, I will be off for now, and dust off the gym kit! All that we would like to do is to wish everyone a very happy new year full of health, happiness, love, laughter and of course a trip to see us soon!

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest October 2015

Greetings from the New Forest!

It has been a fantastic month at Woodlands Lodge. The weather has been brilliant, the walking has been superb and seeing the beginnings of autumn with the leaves changing colour is always wonderful too, so a lovely month.

We have also hosted some beautiful weddings- and had a wedding first, with a minion wedding cake – very fun. We also had a wedding with fabulous draping of the conservatory, as well as a lovely afternoon tea wedding. We wish all our bridal couples every happiness for the future, and come back and see us soon. I can’t believe how all our wedding couples have such unique ideas, it is a great job to have being part of such special days. Our wedding showcase is approaching too with the 15th November 2015 we will be setting the hotel up as a wedding venue and everyone is welcome.

We have also had some staff changes too, as we said goodbye to Tom, who set off to the high seas and Ed who has gone off to university. We wish them both well. At the same time we give a warm welcome to Mark who is already coming up with new ideas and Steven who gives us a little Irish charm and introduced a Woodlands inspired Cocktail menu – including a Forest Breeze & an Imo’s cosmopolitan (wonder where the idea for this one came from!!) To accompany the cocktail list is also a liqueur coffee menu – yum!

Speaking of delicious we launched our autumn menu last week, and already proving popular- a firm favourite is the partridge and Roquefort pannacotta (come and stay just for this).

The hotel has been busy so we have not done a lot with the rooms over the last few months, but I am delighted that we have a new carpet for room 16 and this really finishes this room off a treat. We have also been thinking of our winter projects, but first must spend some time on touching up the rooms after the summer season.

We have been working on the Christmas season too. We are looking forward to hosting the Christmas parties, always a great start to the festive season and a great fun night for all. We have our 3 day Christmas package to look forward to as well- and Steven has also agreed to host a Boxing Day bingo game J

We are also taking bookings for NYE. Please give us a call if you would like any information on any of our Christmas or NY packages.

I can’t believe we are approaching the winter at such speed, although good news for those who like a deal, as we will shortly be bringing our 3 nights for £300 back!

Look forward to welcoming you soon.

Take care

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

 

How to survive the wedding planning process

Greetings from the New Forest!

We have been lucky to be part of a lot of fabulous weddings over the last few years, and in August we hosted 4 fabulous weddings and in September we have 4 more we thought it only appropriate to make our blog wedding related this month.

As Oscar Wilde once said – to be spontaneous takes precise planning, the same can be said for the perfect wedding.

The following is our 5 top tips for a fabulous and relaxed day.

 1)Planning- it is true that the most relaxed and smooth wedding days are those which have been planned and organised- even those that seem casually put together & spontaneous!! With several different suppliers, venues, all with different payment dates, and not to mention the church or registrar, which has it’s own set of rules and dates for you too. It is really difficult to keep the process stress free without a list or spreadsheet to assist. This is a boring job to create but you will be forever grateful and also it will assist with keeping track of your budget. The knowledge that you are on track and tick things off your list will give a great sense of statisfaction and accomplishment.

Sitting down with your fiancé and working out the budget is also a fundamental part of the planning process. As is ensuring you had enough time to choose and buy your dress, suits, and other suppliers. Listen to the venues requirements and so you can provide them with the table plan, rooms lists and menus on track will also stop a last minute panic and will ensure that you can have a stress free run up to your wedding, which will mean that you will enjoy your day all the more.

Taking time out throughout the run up to your wedding to keep on track with your plan, will also help you keep control of your wedding and achieve the day you and your finance would like and not fall fowl to ‘helpful’ friends & family that give you lots of ‘their’ ideas!!

Top tip definitely lists,lists and more lists!!!!

2) Questions… Never feel bad about asking questions. This is likely the first time that you have ever planned such a big event with so many components. The more that you know about the venue, flowers, cake, dress and photographer the more relaxed you and your fiancé will be. A good way to ask questions is to have a list (got to love a list!) prepared so you do not forget anything and are able to record the answers. Some example questions are;

  • What are the terms of the venue licence?
  • Exactly what’s in our package?
  • What’s the cancellation policy?
  • Do you have recommended or mandatory suppliers?
  • What flowers are in season?
  • What notice do you need?
  • Does the venue have a cake stand and knife?
  • do you need to set up beforehand?
  • What do you need in terms of power supply and sockets?

Lots of these questions can be answered by your wedding co ordinator and always ask them what they think works best in the venue too.

3) Who’s on the guest list…. A tough one to get down to but the sooner you know who is coming the sooner you can focus on finding the perfect venue. This is undoubtedly the biggest expense in the wedding process and so imperative to get it right. It is important to be selective, and not be guilt tripped into inviting people who you do not really want to come to your day. The cost implications on additional guests can quickly mount up.

4) Personalise…. Sometimes easier said than done!! But it is great when the bride and groom put their stamp on the day and really make the guests feel wonderful. It may be a bespoke menu or giving a gift box in the rooms when guests check in, or giving guests your favourite flavour in favours- we had some beautiful ly wrapped vanilla sticks given during the summer, and it perfectly represented the bride and groom. Take time to think about what makes you unique.

 

5) Enjoy the process…. Sometimes, when everyone is giving you their opinion on the perfect centre piece or napkin fold and your bridesmaid has just announced she is pregnant and needs a flexible frock it can all feel a bit too much like hard work. So, we suggest you take a step back and remember what’s important… you and your fiancé! So take time out from the wedding madness! We suggest a meal at your wedding venue remembering why you love each other and the venue you have chosen for your special day.

 

All that is left for us to say is congratulations and let’s party!!

 

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Wedding Planner (Diploma in Professional Wedding Planning)

Owner

Top 10 places to go in the New Forest, by our staff!

We have all got together to compile a Top Ten places to go in the New Forest! So the following list is in no particular order but means a lot to a member of the team at Woodlands Lodge. Enjoy!

1) Deerleap- This is a fantastic walk in the New Forest. Ideal for those with small children, as well as dog owners (off lead opportunities).  Located opposite the New Forest Wild Life Park it is only 10 minutes from Woodlands Lodge Hotel. You can do a there and back walk incorporating a big stream or a loop which has a large and small version depending on ability. This walk is  Imogene’s favourite, as it is peaceful and you see the stunning New Forest scenery and usually see the ponies and cattle out!

2) Woodlands Walk- a 5 mile loop walk that starts and finishes at the hotel (maps are available from reception). This is Toms favourite, and the reason behind it is simple the route encompasses a Pub!!!! no need to say any more 🙂

3) Lepe Country Park – Located about 25/30 minutes from the hotel and is Roberts favourite New Forest haunt. It has over a mile of beautiful coastline to take a tranquil stroll (or embark on the Lepe loop- we do love a circular walk at Woodlands Lodge!!). It is the perfect spot to see the boats and windsurfers on the Solent and also capture magnificent views of the Isle of Wight. Robert who is a keen sailor loves the atmosphere of this place. It is also ideal for the kids, as it has a play ground and a café is located on site so perfect Summer for ice cream or a winter warm up.

4) Lyndhurst- Thought of as the Capital of the New Forest it is only approx. 4 miles from Woodlands Lodge Hotel. It is Gina’s favourite place to go because of the many tea shops and lovely little unique ‘knick knack’ shops, where you can browse for a whole afternoon. Lyndhurst is also home of the New Forest visitors centre which provides info and maps on the whole area, The Forestry commission is also based here. Definitely worth a visit in our opinion.

5) Our Hunters Restaurant- surprise, surprise this is recommended by head chef John!! He has produced a wonderful Summer menu- so why not stay in and relax and unwind whilst we spoil you with freshly prepared food in our elegant dining room. We also have an AA rosette for culinary excellence. So I think all the team would agree not one to miss.

6) Ringwood Brewery Tour- Summed up by Nick our Commis Chef as ‘ great beer, great tour’.  This is a great day out, and takes about 2 hours, The tour includes a complimentary drink in our Pin Room, a tour of the brewery where you can taste the malted barleys, have a sniff of the hops, and see the fermentations bubbling away in the TunRoom. The tour is very popular and so pre booking is essential.

7) Paultons Park, no list would be complete without this attraction, which can be reached within 10 minutes from the hotel. Paulton’s is a family theme park with over 60 rides and attractions. It is also the home of Peppa Pig world. It is also dare devil Charlotte’s top pick!

8) West Quay shopping Centre- Woodlands Lodge Hotel is only 15 minutes from Southampton city centre, so perfect to visit for a spot of shopping. With a large John Lewis and M&S the West Quay shopping centre can cater for pretty much all your retail needs. This is another recommendation from Gina, and I am sure she can advise plenty more good places to shop if you chat to her at reception.

9) The New Forest Bus tour- This is a great way to see the Forest during the Summer time, and really easy too, as the bus stop is at the end of the Hotel driveway. It is a hop on hop off tour encompassing all the sights of the Forest. There are 3 routes, maps available from the hotel and Lyndhurst Visitor Centre. Or just sit on the top deck and enjoy the view and hop off 2 hours later back at the hotel 🙂 This was Tom and Imogene’s second top pick.

10) Cycling- We all agree that one of the top ways to see the New Forest is by bike! We have routes you can take directly from the hotel. We also have 5 bikes we hire out from the hotel. Brockenhurst and Ashurst also have great routes and bikes can also be hired directly from these locations. We can advise the best choice for you if you come and discuss your plans with us at reception.

So, that’s our list. Hopefully you will see that there is loads of great stuff to do on our door step and also know a little bit more about us before you visit the hotel.

We are always happy to assist you with your plans and trips during your stay so either give us a call or talk to us at reception and we will try and assist.

See you soon

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

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