As we picked up our menus for dinner in the grand dining room, the waiter, who only moments before had shown us to our table for two next to the ornate fireplace, struck up conversation.

“That’s where Richard Gere sat when I served him when he stayed,” he said, as we mentioned how great the setting was.

The tablecloth perfectly white and straight, the cutlery and glasses perfectly polished. A man dressed in a tux played gentle music – most of the songs you can faintly recognise - on a grand piano nearby. The lights were dim, the flickers of candlelight enough to set the mood.

Huge curtains were draped at the windows, the walls were adorned with wood panels and above that, fine historic leather. This dining room was certainly fit for A-list stars.

Basingstoke Gazette: One of the dining rooms at Tylney Hall in Hampshire

On the menu, the ultimate luxury item was the bone in rib steak, a dish that requires both parties to be in agreement as a huge slab of meat is bought out to the table and ceremonially carved and served next to you. Of course we could not resist. The waiter poured the excellent wine, the meat was served, and everything about the evening was set up to make you feel top class.

After dinner we retired to the equally beautiful lounge, where we sat next to a roaring fire with drinks (there’s also a library bar too with the most wonderful combination of books and booze).

All around us people were celebrating milestones - a 50th birthday party, a couple on honeymoon, a wedding anniversary - this is clearly the place to come if you are marking something special.

We were staying in one of the newly-refurbished Orangery suites at Tylney Hall Hotel & Gardens, Elite Hotels’ grand Victorian Grade II listed hotel, located in the pretty countryside setting of Rotherwick, near Hook.

Sitting in 66 acres of stunning countryside, this is a hotel provides a tranquil setting just a short drive away from Basingstoke.

The manor house oozes history, from the moment you pull into its sweeping driveway, to the point where you walk past its fountain, pushing open the heavy wooden door and stepping into a chunk of history, its Great Hall, paneled in exquisite Italian walnut.

That's not to mention the excellent grounds, which includes a Victorian water garden (the Orangery Suites overlook).

Basingstoke Gazette: O&G Elite hotels

And if it’s wellness you are after, Tylney Hall also has an indoor swimming pool, sauna and gymnasium, as well as five treatment rooms and an outdoor pool. Plus you can pick up a bike at the entrance and go powering off through the estate, or pick up some clubs for a round of golf at the club next door. If that doesn’t inspire you to get active, then the hotel has a croquet lawn, tennis court and a snooker room. Archery, clay pigeon shooting, and even hot air ballooning can all be arranged too.

Tylney Hall first opened as a hotel and restaurant in 1985, however a mansion has been on the site since 1561, with the first Tylney Hall being built in 1700.

The estate has a long and interesting history and even served as a hospital during the First World War. During the Second World War it became the headquarters for the shipping line, the Clan Line Steamers. Then in 1948 it became a school.

Basingstoke Gazette: Tylney Hall by JAMES KERR

However, its grounds really set it apart. The manor house commands stunning uninterrupted views, lined by giant Redwoods. The renowned British horticulturist and landscape artist Gertrude Jekyll-designed gardens are a real highlight, with striking water features and lakes, an Italian Garden and a wild orchid meadow, plus azalea and rose gardens.

There are walking and jogging trails, and garden tours are available plus, the hotel participates in the NGS (National Garden Scheme) garden open days.

Basingstoke Gazette: Daffodills at Tylney Hall in Hampshire

The hotel has 113 individually-designed bedrooms and suites – all decorated in traditional style, in keeping with the hotel’s heritage – with dog-friendly rooms available.

The next morning, after enjoying breakfast overlooking the grounds, we set off for a walk. We stop to take in the beauty of the Hampshire countryside. Daffodils are just beginning to bloom, and the grounds are about to spring to life.

With its roaring fires, abundance of history, extensive grounds and wellness facilities, Tylney Hall is perfect for any occasion, at any time of year.

If you’re looking for a touch of luxury, then this hotel hidden in the Hampshire countryside might just be for you.

Basingstoke Gazette: The bedroom at Tylney Hall in Hampshire

How to plan your stay

Prices start from £195 per room (two sharing), including breakfast. For further information, go to or call 01256 764881