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)