Celebrate International Dog Day with The Montagu Arms’ paw-fect pooch packages
Ahead of International Dog Day, we take a trip to The Montagu Arms to experience their Pampered Pooch package for you and your four-pawed friend
The drive down to The Montagu Arms, Beaulieu – a surprisingly short two (and a bit) hours from London by car with my dog in tow – is an enchanting one from any direction. Motorways give way to country lanes, which wind through picturesque villages. Crossing a cattle grid, you unexpectedly find yourself thrust into the midst of the New Forest – an open vista of gorse-covered heathland, dotted with woodlands and, on our visit, brushed purple with heather.
The downside of the drive? The fleeting, yet inevitable, delays from drivers, slowing for wayward ponies, docile donkeys or – throughout the autumn – ‘pannage’ pigs, as they meander their way across the road, oblivious to the traffic.
We’re on our way to The Montagu Arms, a sophisticated country house hotel, in Beaulieu, an historic estate village complete with palace, ponds, and riverside walks. In celebration of National Dog Day (26 August), The Montagu Arms has launched an all-encompassing Pampered Pooch experience, providing everything required for a comfortable stay away with your four pawed pal; including owner’s peace of mind. The comprehensive arrival hamper covers everything from a comfy bed and dog bowls to tick removers – hopefully unneeded, but handy to have for those woodland walks – and the greeting our little white Westie receives leaves no doubt of his welcome.
Our Courtyard room is situated within an artfully converted 1920s chauffeur’s garage, an elegant space with high vaulted ceilings, contemporary interiors, and a spacious en-suite bathroom. Thoughtful touches such as complimentary home-infused gin, fresh milk, teas and coffees (for us), and protein-packed treats and a new toy (for the dog) make you feel at home straight away.
Sitting on the hotel’s patio amongst verdant gardens for a pre-supper aperitif, our (soon to be very pampered) pooch, is delighted to be served his own evening meal from the hotel’s talented chefs. Chicken Casserole is cooked to order, complete with chunky chicken fillets and veggies in a nutritious chicken broth. Satiated, he settles down in our room for a snooze while we head for supper at The Terrace restaurant to experience the chef’s brilliance for ourselves.
The elegant restaurant overlooks the gardens and, on a balmy summer’s evening, the leafy enclave is enchanting. With its atmospheric wood panelling and carpets patterned with motifs of trees and deer, one imagines on a cold winter’s night the restaurant also shines, offering a cosy cocoon in which to unwind.
We’re greeted with smiling service – the team are, without fault, personable yet professional – and shown to our table. Opening the a la carte menu we find a short selection of starters and mains; the mark of a confident kitchen. Local produce takes center stage, from New Forest beetroot to sea herbs from nearby New Milton, but it’s the Isle of Wight Tomato Gazpacho which truly wows; silky smooth, flavourful, and elevated with a touch of peach sorbet and chilli. Mains of lamb and beef come tender and perfectly seasoned, served alongside vegetables from the hotel’s own gardens, which you’re welcome to explore and enjoy during your stay. From the desserts, the humble-sounding honey cake proves exquisite; light and moreish. Another standout dish and one that exemplifies the restaurant’s much-deserved three AA rosettes.
For those looking to continue the evening, the elegant Library Bar offers after-dinner digestifs, from expertly made Espresso Martinis to a warming dram of whisky.
From relaxing rooms to faultless service, fine dining experiences and gorgeous gardens, The Montagu Arm’s new package may be designed for pampered pooches but, rest assured, owners will leave equally well-indulged.