Wow the amazing weather of April certainly gave the hotel a boost, and ability to enjoy some of our fabulous New Forest. The Forest is dry and we can wander freely, picnic and explore our favourite spots such as Bolderwood and Deerleap for the first time this Spring, which has been really enjoyable.
The Sunshine after the Winter season has enabled us to get started on the Garden! Well, after the winter it really needed some help and the gardeners have done wonders, firstly taking down our rickety fence, which has totally opened up the back paddock- can’t believe how big it looks. Also, he has replanted the beds in the back garden and they look fabulous and in my favourite colour pink! Big change is also we have re vamped our herb patch and by that I mean totally re done it and it looks and smells awesome. I have posted some garden and herb patch pics on facebook.
We have also started revitalising the veggie patch which has been dormant over the winter, however we have had a mixed start whereas somethings are germinating well, the cold nights meant the frost got to our broad beans and so we will need to reseed!! Arrgh… we wish Natasha good luck in the garden!!
We have also and perhaps the bit Robert is most excited about tarmacked the driveway – no more pot holes- yippee!!! However it is very smooth and we may need to add a ‘take it easy’ sign!!
Onto other news, we have started the wedding season in style and been lucky enough to host several weddings so far, and we feel so lucky to be a part of our lovely couples special days.
The restaurant has also been busy, with many of our guests taking dinner, bed and breakfast with us and so this has meant that we have been able to test out some of our sous chefs interesting ideas—such as sweetcorn and cauliflower pannacotta…. And delicious hot soufflé for desserts. We are enjoying seeing a full restaurant on a nightly basis and getting a good atmosphere going!
The rooms have remained unchanged because we have been so busy, although Gary has been busy on the top floor corridor and happily I can report the peeling wall paper next to the skylights is gone, and will shortly be painted!
It is always pleasing to feel like we are making progress and Spring is always a time that we can make big in roads into our master list! We have to say thank you to our guests for their continued support and encouragement too.
So, lets hope the good weather continues and we can welcome many more guests and also enjoy many more days in the Forest too
Take care and best wishes
Greetings from the New Forest February 2015
Greetings from the New Forest
Well, hello February! The days are definitely getting lighter and whereas much of the country has been flanked with snow we have been lucky and the weather is actually very pleasant. We have had a good month, taking advantage of this quieter time in the season and getting organised for the year ahead.
We have a new bathroom in room 5- looks lovely. We have also been taking courses, such as Food Hygiene level 3 was taken by all the kitchen and Robert and myself- pleased to say we all passed with flying colours.
We also had the pleasure of welcoming back many old friends to the hotel this month, as well as hosting a lovely ladies 21st birthday party too. So a great start to the year and looking forward to Valentines and half term too, as well as two weddings in February as well.
Greetings from the New Forest January 2015
Greetings from the New Forest!!
Happy New Year everyone from the Woodlands Lodge team we wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year and lots of leisure time to spend in the New Forest with us!
As is often the way with January it is a month of reflection and contemplation of things to come, and this month’s blog is no different.
We had a lot of fun in December being lucky to host several festive lunches, and party nights. We also had an extremely busy Christmas Day lunch. Our 3 day Christmas package was great to meet our guests and really get to know them, as well as welcome back old friends. A new addition to the Christmas package was a trip to the Pantomime at the Southampton Mayflower to see Cinderella and it was absolutely fantastic. I have seen some pantos before but this one was totally jam packed with special effects, loads of humour and of course the obligatory celebs in Brian Connolly and Gok Wan – he was born to be the Fairy Gok Mother!!!! My personal highlight of the Christmas package was the quiz as it is a great way for everyone to be involved and get that Christmas competitive spirit going! New Winners this year in the McCann family- well done once again! New Years’ Eve was amazing, as usual our wonderful guests made the evening, but special mention needs to go to the Kitchen- each of the 7 courses in the taster menu looked stunning and were enjoyed by all. The latter part of the evening was filled with lots of dancing and our singer and Dj did a super job too.
Steve has added a new dimension to the bar, and cocktails have really become a regular feature- especially those scrummy Cosmopolitans…
We had the most spectacular tree- a mere 12 foot- I am so making up for having to have a fake tree at home!!! here is a picture we took just before our party night. I just love Christmas, even after having to take down all the decorations and clear up the pine needles yesterday!
With many highs for December we were able to finish 2014 on an up-beat note. We were however disappointed with ourselves that we overstretched ourselves slightly with the Christmas Day lunch, leaving us a bit stretched and not as happy as we should have been with what we had planned. It was a learning experience and as we are constantly pushing ourselves and trying new things I guess it is inevitable that not everything will always go precisely as planned. We have already had a team de brief and set out a plan for 2015 to make things better- enthusiasm still high after all the festivities and we will have flaming Christmas Puddings on the menu next year and fewer guests for the Christmas Day lunch ensuring we make it the most special meal of the whole year. Nothing like being prepared.
A new endeavour we tried throughout December that was really successful and I may add tasty is the Festive ‘Indulgence’ Afternoon tea! It was a new venture and looked stunning and tasted great- lots of imagination went in to it- especially getting the Christmas tree biscuits to stand up. Most definitely this will be on out agenda in December 2015.
It is important at this time to also say a huge thank you to all the staff at the hotel. Your hard work and dedication to the hotel has made it the great hotel that it is, and without all of your efforts, enthusiasm and ideas it would not only be a boring place to work but less vibrant and successful so thank you from the bottom of my heart you are all amazing 🙂
Before the Mayhem of NYE…
All in all we have had a wonderful 2014, with the highlights including meeting so many wonderful people and working with such a great group of staff and getting super fast broad band. The funniest moments have to be pigs coming into reception and my husband chasing the horses out of the car park and garden (daily in the Summer- convinced they were toying with him) and the lows being that some of our best loved are no longer here to share our journey.
Looking forward into 2015; we wish to finally refurbish the bathrooms in room 5 & 6, get the final 3 bedrooms kitted out with new Hypnos beds. As well as get the garden ready for Summer! Also we will be revamping the website to ensure it is mobile compatible and simpler to use from tablets. The bar chairs have also reached the top of our list as well as re painting window frames to keep the outside looking fresh, so keep an eye out for the improvements on your next visit.
We hope that 2015 will be as successful as 2014 has been, and we would also like to thank our guests for staying and dining with us throughout the year, your custom and loyalty is most certainly appreciated.
Other news, we have had a happy start to the New Year with our Son’s 3rd Birthday on New Year’s Day. Also total subject change but big news at the moment we have a grounded cargo ship in the Solent, which is making a rather bizarre tourist attraction, but let’s hope they can re-float it soon. In the meantime I have heard there is a queue for car parking from people going to see it…
The weather is a lot kinder this year (so far) than this time last year with a lot of lovely mild days rather than stormy rainy ones, so, although it is January, it is still a lovely time to come and explore the Forest. We have had some delightful off road family walks out the back of the hotel and around Lyndhurst, which has been fabulous at this time of year- and not too mucky- though wellies still required in places :). I may need a few more of those walks to totally walk off the Christmas Mince pies and chocolates…..
We hope to see you all soon, and welcome old friends and new. Our motto for the coming year is to try new things, keep learning and pushing ourselves to make the best hotel that we can.
Take care & best wishes
Imogene Anglaret (Owner)
Greetings from the New Forest December 2014
Greetings from the New Forest!
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas… getting very excited today, as the trees in the hotel are going up. Again we have a real 12ft tree to go in the Restaurant and several smaller trees and lights to go elsewhere in the hotel, we are also getting our big fire place display (complete with fairy lights) thanks to Kay at Pomp and Petals. Our big White Company Candle has also been lit giving a gorgeous Christmassy smell, so come down and join us J
November has flown by, with two lovely weddings and the fabulous wedding showcase we have survived the start of winter with a sparkle overload- no better way to do it!
We are also learning from our newest General Assistant Steve, who is a bit of an expert at making coffee and has been teaching us all to make it a bit better!!!! There is a lot to know to get the perfect coffee…. He is also teaching us about Cocktails, although I may have sampled more than I have made so far… but great to hone this new skill in time for Christmas, as what’s the Christmas party without a Christmas Cocktail.
We have been busy renovating too this month, with the new bathroom put into room 16 and due to an issue in room 18 there is also a new shower in there too. Both look super and thank you Gary for putting up with me keep popping in and saying ‘just another little thing…’ the man has some patience!
This month is set to be busy, with some party nights to come, as well as Christmas lunches before we get to the main event and the New Year. We are going into this period hopeful that it will be less eventful than last year!!!! Let’s hope for no more Christmas Day BBQs.
Please look at our Christmas section on the website if you would like to join us for any of our festive activities.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas and wonderful start to the New Year and we look forward to welcoming you soon
Take Care, I am off for a restorative walk in the Forest!
Greetings from the New Forest November 2014
Greetings from the New Forest
That was an amazing October, the weather has been so great it is impossible to think how close we are to Christmas, yet the leaves have just started to turn! I like this type of start to Winter, hoping it makes it go faster!!
We have had our busiest October since we started 3 years ago and so are really pleased to be so busy. We have been trying to get the carpets cleaned in the rooms and had to put this off because the rooms have been so full 🙂 a good problem to have!
We have a new head housekeeper Brian who is shaking things up and making everything smell lovely and lots of lists- especially for Gary our maintenance man and so all the niggly bits are now fixed really quickly.
October also saw us host 3 gorgeous weddings and so we pass our congratulations on to all our couples and hope to see you all soon.
Room 8 now totally refurbed is looking lovely- in fact I think it is my favourite room!
Room 16 is now getting a new bathroom and work starts Monday. We are putting in a large double shower instead of the crazy bath- those who have stayed in the room know what I mean!!
Now November has begun we need to start with our Christmas plans, Christmas party bookings and the big day itself. We are full on our party nights, which is amazing but still have space to hold a festive party lunch and also for our Christmas package and NYE gala dinner and so if you are undecided there is still time to visit us at Woodlands Lodge.
We have some unbelievable deals on at the moment too, so if you fancy a winter a break check out our website.
Look forward to seeing you soon
Not ready to go…..
Let us know at the time of your booking or during your stay and we will try and arrange a late check out for you til midday for only £20 per room!
*subject to availability.
Greetings from the New Forest September 2014
Greetings from the New Forest!
The last 2 months have gone in a blur and I apologise for not updating sooner.
August saw us busy, busy, busy. We had a great month with lots of lovely guests and 5 gorgeous weddings too. We wish all our couples a wonderful future together. All the staff did amazingly well, as we were under pressure when we said goodbye to Gina and Sammi in the Kitchen, but happily welcomed Charlotte, who has blended superbly into the Woodlands Lodge team and is keen to keep up our values of a friendly and personable hotel. Congratulations also to Chrissie on becoming Duty Manager, you have done an excellent job since you started full time.
We had a slightly tense few weeks (slight underestimation) in the kitchen where we had to rely on the incredibly unreliable Agency chefs- Martin you are not included in that and a big thank you to you!! and so Head Chef John really showed dedication with long, long days making sure all the weddings went well and the kitchen kept running at full steam, it was appreciated. I am pleased to say that things are now easier and we have the pleasure to now have a breakfast chef James join us and also a new Sous Chef in Sam. Welcome to you both and we are delighted with the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen – James those poached eggs are amazing and Sam the Caramel Fondant to die for… you need to try this!!!
The AA also did their mystery inspection, and I am so pleased that we received a 79% merit score and retained our AA Rosette in the Restaurant. Good work everyone!
We have had a lot of laughs too this Summer, and especially at Robert who still feels that the ponies and now the pigs are toying with him and trying to get into his garden!! In fact we even had pigs come into the reception this week…. Room for 2 little ones!
September, has been gorgeous and hot. A pleasant return as August was a little disappointing weather wise. This has had a positive effect in bringing more guests to the hotel as it is amazing to go walking at the moment- no mud!!! The boat show also took place in September and this also benefited from the great weather. We have also been lucky to host some special birthday and anniversary parties- Congratulations from the Woodlands Lodge team.
We have been forward planning too, and preparing lots of fab offers for Winter and taking bookings for Christmas parties, lunches and our 3 day package. I can’t believe we only have 1 room left for the Christmas package and 4 for NYE- so get on the phone today if you wish to join us for Woodlands Lodge Festive Fun!!!
It seems like it has been all change…. We have a new maintenance man- Gary! And so far he has been nothing short of sensational. Getting all those little jobs in hand- painting door frames, re flooring the garage and sanding down and painting some window frames- I think it is safe to say ‘ Gary we love you’. We are pleased to be getting back on the refurbishment trail now that the high season is finishing. Today we are getting a new carpet for room 1. This has always been a signature room for us, but a stain that has been too stubborn has brought this room down, so I look forward to it being back to its top form again. Also, we discovered there had been no underlay… so that can be rectified too and guests in room 12 should benefit too 🙂
We also are re doing room 16 bathroom in November and scheduling room 5 bathroom for January, another 2 great jobs to complete.
Robert has the week of this week to tidy the over flow car park and has already been busy with a bon fire and filling his skip- a great job. Gutter clearing and other fun jobs await him.
Eloise our daughter, has also started at Infant school this month, feeling like it is a really big mile stone- I can’t believe she celebrated her first birthday with a BBQ in the hotel garden and now is getting all grown up. Time does fly!
I am still loving the reception floor and stair carpets that we had done in July, it really has lifted the whole hotel. Our new restaurant tables have also added a new dimension to the restaurant offering the flexibility to create different sized tables more easily. And also mixes traditional and modern styles really well.
Next… hopefully we can start getting the bar chairs recovered.
Also, we have had a bumper crop of tomatoes, courgettes and the hugest pumpkin come out of our veggie garden so this is a great benefit to the kitchen, as well as being donated Quinces from one of our local neighbours, this is providing the basis for some gorgeous jus and chutney- thank you so much for the donation.
Well, I think that this is all from us at the moment, we hope to welcome you to the New Forest soon.
Greetings from the New Forest August!
Greetings from the New Forest!
what a July we have had…. Amazing weather, every day has been another day perfect for a walk in the New Forest followed by a Pimms in the garden! This is certainly the way life should be!
We have been blessed with lots if lovely guests this month giving us a full hotel most of the time, so a big thank you to all our staff for looking after everyone so well and keeping going through the heat!
Also, the new reception floor is in and it looks lovely, just as it has always been there and so we are delighted to get it finished and appreciate everyone’s patience whilst we had it laid. Photos on Facebook, or come and see us and see what it looks like 🙂
As a celebration we have purchased a new reception chair- long over due, and lovely to have a new chair.
the beginning of August sees us embark on the first of 5 weddings this month and we wish our bride and groom our very best wishes for their future together and we will miss you as it has been a wedding that was booked almost 2 yrs ago, so please come back and see us soon! Will update on the rest of our weddings next month.
I will keep this months update short and sweet and head back to work, putting the finishing touches to the Christmas Day and NYE menus- seems wrong in this heat 🙂 but I assure you we are planning a feast. We are taking bookings now so we hope to see you soon.
Take care and best wishes
ps we also have some cracking winter offers on the website 🙂
Greetings from the New Forest July 2014
Greetings from the New Forest July 2014
Summer is upon us the Forest is looking glorious and green and finally the winter sludge has properly dried out… so exploring and walking is back on the agenda and it is again truly amazing to be a Forest dweller!! Although with it brings some strange occupational hazards- we have had a lot of cows out and about and one day I was literally chased home by a rather terrifyingly large brown cow!!! It has given much amusement to all I have regaled this tale and In all honesty I was totally fine… albeit a little shaken 😉
Some of our recent guests have also experienced the treat of horses in the back garden whilst they eat breakfast. I can personally vouch for the fact these ponies all have a super digestion and love our grass and shovelling their little presents is an extremely good work out!!!!!!
Now for other news… the new stair carpet is in and looks fantastic, and I have to say I smile every time I go up and down the stairs. Next project of the reception floor starts on 14th July and should be ace when it is done! Also we have had a new carpet in room 11 and that looks splendid and to go with the new curtains and track looks great- finally! We have also new curtains in 12 and been able to redecorate the chimney breast which was damaged in the winter weather. Room 8 is still on our list to re furb but will have to wait until Autumn.
We have been busy with lots of guests visiting us and enjoying the forest as well as 4 weddings in the last month. We have had some brilliant weddings, with gorgeous peach coloured flowers adorning the whole hotel, to a Harry Potter themed wedding and also one wedding where the bride and groom were fortunate enough to be able to have their wedding breakfast outside and it looked fantastic set out in the garden. We are so lucky to have the versatility that all the weddings are so different and it is lovely to see all our couples ideas come into action on the day. We send out heartiest congratulations to all our couples and hope to welcome them back soon.
We have been really lucky to have formed a great front of house team with Gina, Lauren and now Chrissie (who used to be our waitress) have joined our front of house team and each have added a new and positive dimension to our team. Not forgetting Tom who is now in charge of the ladies doing a fab job- think he secretly wants to be like Charlie from Charlie’s Angels!!!!
We have so much going on in the Forest this Summer we hope you can visit us soon and enjoy the Forest and wild life with us. Having said that I must sign off now, and go and chase some ponies out of the car park…. Sigh…. But would not have it any other way.
Greetings from the New Forest May 2014
Greetings from the New Forest !!
Yippee another bank holiday us upon us, and hopefully the sun will shine on us!! Well, we had a good Easter and lots of happy guests coupled with lots of chocolate, so we need a good patch of weather to walk off those extra calories.
We have also had some beautiful weddings in April, and we wish our couples a very happy future together. The weather was amazing for them all- what are the chances!
We were lucky enough to also have a celebrity in our midst this month, with Adam Lallana Southampton Skipper and England Football player promoting the Fifa World cup game in the hotel, and having promotional interviews in the garden. The excitement continued for us into the weekend when we were super excited to see the lounge and Garden on Soccer AM and part of the garden in The Times. We can also say he was a thoroughly lovely chap and we were lucky to have him here.
We have also had some staff changes, where were sad to say goodbye to Liana, and wish her all the best in her travels. We also welcomed Gina who has turned out to be a trooper and picked up the job really quickly and has a great personality too and it turns out after our staff outing this week a kick ass bowler too!
Tom is doing a top job too training up Gina and keeping things going well at the hotel and a great support to myself and Robert.
We are also looking forward to welcoming another new young lady Lauren in 2 weeks, so I will update more next month.
The kitchen are all back from hols and they have come up with a brilliantly delicious Summer menu and this launches tonight- so what are you waiting for book a table or come and eat with us!
We have had fun and games with the New Forest Ponies and I have to say its Woodlands Lodge 1 – New Forest Ponies 1 at the moment, as 2 weeks ago they burst through our fence and so we had about 10 ponies in the garden eating our flowers and trampling bushes- and we were all out in the garden hopelessly trying to get them back into the forest…. Without a good fence impossible task. However thanks to Trefor we have a fixed fence (strengthened) and now we are pony free. Good timing though because now the cows are out and I am not sure I would be brave enough to get a herd of cattle out.
We also have 3 new beds arrived and so a good nights sleep all round 🙂
And finally the news I am sure that everyone has been waiting for…. The stairs carpet has been ordered. Really excited and will update the fb page once it is in situ. It’s very cool, sounds a bit strange as its blue and orange but will look fantastic and also be a great photo spot for our wedding couples.
We have also had a standardisation in procedure month and we are proud to say that the cancellation policy is now 48 hrs across the board- no matter which site rooms are booked. We have also joined the New Forest book direct campaign, which means guests always get the best rates on our website or calling the hotel and we also include a free breakfast to all guests who book directly.
Lots of great deals to be had and the forest has gone from brown to green in the last week so please come and visit us soon.