Having transported myself to the early 1900s world of Gran Hotel each night for the past two months, with its beautiful costumes and undeniable air of romance, it was about time for us to live out my historical fantasy – and our stay at the palatial Lainston House could not have been a better opportunity. A 17th century country house hotel perched just outside of Winchester, it was the perfect getaway for a lavish staycation away from home.
Lavish is certainly the word to describe our weekend: from the grand entrance along the sweeping driveway, to the four-poster suite we were so generously upgraded to (complete with a spa bath and huge walk-in shower!), it set the tone for two wonderfully relaxing days that left us feeling rejuvenated like never before.
In our typical fashion, we spent our time sampling cocktails from the ornately panelled bar, wandering around the grounds freckled with flowers of every shade and variety, and discovering secret corners to settle down with a glass of wine. Our bathrobes and slippers saw plenty of use, as did the room service and on-call champagne; a soak in the tub will never quite feel the same without a glass of something sparkling in hand.
Waking up the next day in a plush king size bed to the patter of rain outside our shuttered windows was one of the cosiest ways to start the day. A contrast to the late summer balminess of the previous day, autumn was in full swing. How lucky we were to experience the first weekend of the season in such a magnificent setting!
We sleepily made our way to the dining room through a maze of Harry Potter-esque corridors, dressed in our woolly knitwear for the grey, rainy day ahead. A delicious breakfast greeted us, with stacks of freshly baked pastries (heaven), jugs of freshly squeezed fruit juice and a menu of warming morning treats. If only every morning could begin like this.
Back in the room, our taste buds satisfied, we enjoyed a slow morning of snoozing and lounging around before getting ready to say goodbye to our wonderful suite. I made the most of the sumptuous bath tub one more time and only regretted not having a book to fully relax with. As with all good things, it was time to check out and face reality again – but not before one last stroll in the drizzly rain, making a promise to return.