Our heritage… your memories
Our emphasis is on comfort and great service.
The Hotel’s name is taken from the lawn to the front of the Hotel, originally thought to have been called Palmers Lawn (a historical typo culminating in Balmer Lawn). The name is mentioned in the Doomsday Book – how’s that for history!
Originally built in the mid 1800’s as a hunting lodge, the Balmer Lawn is a classic Country House Hotel set in the very heart of the New Forest National Park. Undoubtedly this is one of the most iconic buildings in the New Forest National Park!
The Hotel has a very proud history. During some of the most dramatic chapters in modern British history, the Balmer Lawn Hotel has played its part. During the First World War the Hotel was commandeered and used as an Army Hospital. The local area has a strong link with New Zealand as some of their Army was located here. In the Second World War, the Hotel was first used as an Army Staff College. It subsequently became the Headquarters of the Canadian 3rd Infantry Division as they prepared for the Allied Landings in Normandy. In 2016, with local dignitaries and the Canadian Military Attaché present, a Maple tree was planted in the grounds in memory of the brave men that never returned home.
In the late 1940’s, the building returned to being a Hotel. The Balmer Lawn Hotel was part of two separate hotel groups, and in the late 1970’s, a fire in the roof changed the appearance of the Hotel to its present look. In October 1997, the Hotel returned to private ownership with Chris & Alison Wilson as its proprietors.
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 past 20 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”.
The Wilson Family celebrated twenty years of ownership of the Hotel in 2017. Chris & Alison have retained the traditions of a warm welcome, comfortable rooms and wonderful food. Our décor has changed over the years and a modern contemporary style has been introduced to all of the public areas and some of the bedrooms. There are very exciting plans for our future, but our traditional values welcoming all to ‘our home’ will always endure.