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Gateway to the New Forest

The iconic Balmer Lawn Hotel, known as the “Gateway to the New Forest”, has been awarded a 4 Star rating as assessed and awarded by the AA. The Hotel is a family owned business, run as a Partnership by Chris and Alison Wilson.

The Hotel has had a very proud History and started life as a Hotel in the 1850's. During the First World War the Hotel was commandeered and used as an Army Hospital. In the Second World War it was transformed into an Army Staff College with many famous visitors and guests over the years including King George V, Russian Tsar, Mr. JJ. Sainsbury and General Eisenhower. More recently the lads from Top Gear have stayed a few times perhaps even with the Stig!!!

Returning the Hotel to its former glory

Since acquiring the Hotel from Hilton in October 1997 it was always the desire of the Wilson’s to return the Hotel to its former glory. In the 60’s and 70’s the Balmer Lawn was probably the most prestigious Hotel property in the New Forest, but sadly due to a lack of investment, the Hotel was allowed to deteriorate through the 80’s culminating in the loss of its 4 Star rating and was down-graded to a 3 Star Hotel.

Chris and Alison were determined to regain the Hotel’s rightful place as one of the best Hotels in the area and have worked extremely hard to refurbish the Hotel over the last 11 years. Chris says “it was one of our stated business objectives to obtain our 4 Star rating in 2008, with the actual inspection taking place on the 12th December the self-imposed deadline was fast approaching, however, when the inspector confirmed we had achieved the required standard – I was absolutely delighted”.

“With all the current doom and gloom this was a real ray of sunshine, not just for us as owners but for all the Management and Staff, this was a real team effort, our customers' most repeated comment about their stay is about the “happy, friendly staff”. Although good facilities throughout the Hotel are important, staff that care, smile and who are prepared to go that extra mile are the real special ingredient that make a guest’s experience great not just good”. 

Family friendly focused

Unlike many of their 4 Star competitors the Balmer Lawn will continue with it's core business strategy to be a ‘family friendly’ focused Hotel, with indoor and outdoor pools, spa bath, Finnish Sauna, a tennis court and two squash courts there is so much for families to do and if they get bored with all that, there is the 98,000 acres of the New Forest right on their doorstep. The New Forest National Park is a magical place for horse-riding, cycling, walking, exploring and generally just having fun. The Hotel also accepts dogs and again this is something that guests find very useful as more and more Hotels are not prepared to accept dogs.


If you have any enquiries, please get in touch.