By Frankie the Cockapoo
This was the first time I’d visited Spot in the Woods, a boutique Bed & Breakfast hotel located on the edge of The New Forest. My sister Freya stayed with all the family a couple of Christmases ago; we thought it would be lovely to spend a few days here again as soon as we were released from ‘lockdown’.
About the hotel
Spot in the Woods had just been taken over by the Hillbrooke Quirky Luxury collection of small and unique hotels and pubs ‘with rooms in beautiful places, each with its own distinct style‘.
All rooms are ensuite with complimentary wi-fi, air conditioning, coffee and tea making facilities and locally sourced toiletries; there’s also an iron, hair dryer and deluge rain shower. There are three dog friendly rooms – Beaulieu Heath, Bolderwood and Deerleap – all with private, paved and securely fenced patios. Dogs are charged the same rate as children at £20 per night.
Our stay was at the beginning of August, which meant it was newly opened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mum was reassured all was safe as when guests left Spot in the Woods, they clean and housekeep rooms thoroughly and then ‘fog it’ (the use of a fine mist or ‘fog’ to disinfect surfaces and surroundings). The room was then secured with a door seal to await the next guest’s arrival. The rest of the hotel received the same care and attention.
Mum originally found the hotel through booking.com, but if you sign up to the group’s Insider Club you receive 10% off their published B&B rates when you book direct.
The Paw Award
Everyone knows we dogs normally have four paws, so to get a five paw award is super special. Four is an extremely positive Frankie recommendation, any less and it’s just a question of personal choice.
Friendly & welcoming atmosphere
We couldn’t have wished for a friendlier welcome when we arrived at Spot in the Woods, with a lovely lady explaining the process clearly to Mum and Dad. An equally friendly man was on reception each evening and throughout the night. He obviously loved dogs and Freya and I received lots of attention each time we saw him, which of course we wallowed in.
The reception area was unattended during the day when we were in the hotel. However, the kitchen restaurant was open for guest breakfasts, so other staff were available if we needed anything in the morning.
Accommodation suitability & cost per dog
Dog friendly rooms at Spot in the Woods are large and comfortable with air conditioning; Freya and I were very appreciative of this as during our stay the temperatures rose as high at 32 degrees. We stayed in the Beaulieu Heath room with direct access onto a small paved patio with outside seating. The bath, with a fixed deluge rain shower over, was huge and filled super quickly – Mum loves her bath and Dad thought the shower was great. However, there was no flexible shower facility for us to rinse our paws. This wasn’t an issue while we were there as it was dry, but dog washing facilities are essential during the winter months for washing muddy paws.
The patio area is useful, but there’s no grass and Freya and I have been trained not to toilet on paved areas. This meant our first wee of the day was in the wooded area just outside the hotel, so if our parents were hoping for a lazy PJ wake up – we put paid to that.
There’s a £20 charge each night for dogs to stay at Spot in the Woods, which Mum thinks is rather steep. We are excellent guests and leave the room exactly as we find it – luckily we are shed-free cockapoos so leave no fluffy deposits. We also just go to sleep if we are left on our own (this is only in hotels that don’t allow dogs in the restaurant). We don’t chew furniture or scoff messy food and so there is no real additional cleaning required. Mum thinks a better option would be to charge a nominal cleaning amount per stay, with the requirement to pay for any specific type of damage.
Little extras offered
We always take our own beds, bowls and bits. However, Spot in the Woods provide two bowls, a mattress bed, poo bags, a towel and a dog chew. There is also a mini-dustbin on the patio for our little deposits. Dogs are allowed in the restaurant and outside eating areas.
Location & dog walks
Spot in the Woods is perfectly located at the gateway to The New Forest National Park. It’s easy to access away from the main travel routes of A31 and M271, which means you’re able to avoid the New Forest traffic ‘hotspots’ and shortens the time we puppsters have to spend in the car – very important. The hotel itself has a large garden at the rear as part of it’s outside eating area.
Just a two minute drive or five minute stroll from the hotel is a wonderful walk in the New Forest called Busketts Lawn. Here we enjoyed our early morning off lead runs to burn off some energy; we had to take care though as Mum says the New Forest ponies always have right of way.