The Hotel TerraVina Blog

No Nina Basset, so will her temporary writer do?

In a slight deviation from form, today’s blog is written by ‘the Hotel’ as opposed to Nina. Don’t worry, she hasn’t given up the writing ghost permanently, it’s just a little thing called Christmas that’s keeping her away from the computer and her blog, while she is busy preparing things for the seasonal guests and diners.  Hopefully, the ‘temporary’ writer will suffice for now. Granted we’re not a match for Nina and her blogs, but hopefully the update will be useful to our readers!

As you can imagine the countdown to Christmas is well and truly on now at Hotel TerraVina now and we’re very pleased to say that while the weather has been a tad on the ‘cold’ side, it has made the New Forest look spectacular!  So as usual, the view from TerraVina is a very pretty one!

We’ve got quite a few events happening at the moment as well, including The Philipponnat Dinner With Charles Philipponnat Champagne Dinner. This black tie event is happening on the 1st of December (space very, very limited now) and offers the chance to experience a delightful dinner, complete with a range of different Philipponnat Champagnes and of course plenty of engaging conversation.

We are actually very excited to have Mr Charles Phipponnat with us for this event too!  He is the wine maker himself and will of course be commenting on the wines for us, so it should be a really great evening for all who are there.

Equally our Mid-Week breaks have been a real hit so they will continue until Mid-December if you feel like getting a break away from it all at a fantastic rate!  Do check our Late Availability as well or call us on 02380 293 784 to get the very latest availability if you fancy a night away on a whim!

On another note, we recently sent out our latest newsletter so if you missed it you may want to take a peek at the various events we have happening pre and post- Christmas here! Equally, if you want to join the Hotel TerraVina mailing list please drop us a line at the hotel on: info@hotelterravina.co.uk and we will be happy to add you!

Finally, if you get stuck for a Christmas gift this year, don’t forget the infamous TerraVina dog, our stunning wine boxes and our TerraVina Gift Vouchers!  They’re guaranteed to make the recipient very happy so do contact us if you want to give something a little special this year!

That’s our update done and we’re pleased to say that Nina will very much be back soon where she belongs at the helm of her blog, but for now have a great week!

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Hotel TerraVina hotel owner admits to being a “Grumpy Old Woman”

It’s official, what those nearest and dearest to me have always known, I have this week finally admitted to myself- I am a “grumpy old woman”, albeit only temporarily.

Yes it was my birthday this week, but that’s not why I am grumpy as actually I thought I was a year older than I actually am, so truly this year I have gone backwards in age! No, what is making me grumpy are people and companies who I have had recent dealings with and their acceptance that the service they provide is ok to be merely adequate and mediocre. It’s acceptable to have to chase them. It’s normal to have to have them back to fix a fault at least 3 times over, it’s usual for new equipment to go wrong after only a couple of weeks- really…. Well No, No it isn’t…… have you ever seen the film Falling Down with Michael Douglas when the world just gets too much for him in terms of people’s behaviour, arrogance and rudeness to each other- well that’s me this week, but without the action stunts and the gun!

I won’t name and shame, but needless to say that I have had cause to complain, get cross and then angry and then furious, on so many different occasions this week and I’m normally so placid and non confrontational, but this week my blood pressure has had cause to soar. In fact as I type this I have steam coming out of my ears at the injustice of someone’s rudeness to one of our team- it’s so unnecessary and bearing in mind how much in the spotlight we are under working within the service industry, you would think that those in a similar or even the same industry, would know better and be a little bit more supportive of their colleagues and peers instead of wanting to be so arrogant and rude to them.

I am having a raging moment which is lasting all week.  So far what’s bugged me are…. People who don’t say thank you when you let them out at a junction, idiots who don’t read their e mails properly and leave you for hours worrying about something because they have misunderstood and given you the wrong information and then when they realize their error merely say “sorry, I‘ll have to be more careful, hope it didn’t cause to much inconvenience”- well Yes actually it did and a lot of worry and concern too and then there’s the chap who behaves in  the most arrogant and impolite manner and really makes himself look an absolute idiot and who should know better as he works in hospitality, but didn’t have an ounce of good manners- well he’s not welcome back!

Do you get the feeling I’m still angry- too right I am and whilst I hate to rant, currently all the deep breaths and counting to 100 are to no avail as I’m still furious with all sorts of people and they know who they are!

Thus in an effort to calm down, I have locked myself in a room and I am visualizing calm and happy thoughts whilst typing this week’s blog— not working yet! I’m leaving KEEP OUT on the door.

Till next week when hopefully balance will be restored and I will be back to my usual calm, serene, easy going self- Gerard tells me he’d like to meet that version of me as he has never had the pleasure to do so yet!

Nx

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Awards galore and all sorts more…

As those of you who read this blog regularly know I am exceptionally proud of both Gerard and our son Romané… one of them is currently in China and the other is in Paris and so it has been just Malmsey and I home alone which has been fun filled, chaotic and hectic and thank goodness for my parents who have stepped in regularly to take over the reigns when I have been needed unexpectedly for a busy mid week dinner service or for an impromptu, last minute organised sleepover before the Paris trip, in between trips up and down to London for various complicated reasons, thus all in all whilst the boys have been away on heir respective jolly outings it has been as hectic as ever…….hence the lateness in this week’s blog and no blog at all last week in fact!

This week’s blog unashamedly is singing the praises of my two clever chaps…. For Gerard, who has won yet another award… Sharon, the fantastic  lady who helps keep our house organized and us in ironed clothes is exhausted from dusting all the trophies! This fantastic one was the Harpers Award for The Best Ambassador for French Wines and we are all, as always so proud of him and all his achievements. He is an inspiration and never ceases to amaze me with his work ethic and his ability to continue to share his knowledge and expertise with so many others in such a charming and passionate way- well done Gerard.

My other clever chap is Romané who has done brilliantly in his first round of assessments for his GCSE options (can he really already be studying for his GCSEs- where did my baby boy go?) and not only that, but he also gained a Distinction in his recent LAMDA exams- very well done Romy….. he obviously takes after his papa.

As for me- well no pressure living in such a high achieving household….. I’m good at sleepovers and being “mums” taxi, so maybe when they create an award for that I can be in the running.

Till next week, when I will have my chaps home and all will be right with the world

Nx

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Hotel TerraVina on the joys of the New Forest

Imagine the scene…. John Wright, a famous, mushroom foraging expert is discussing funghi around the trunk of a (circa) 300 year old oak tree, which is located only feet away from where he is standing, just about to host a foraging lunch at Hotel TerraVina when, with an ear splitting crack one half of the trunk just breaks into two and half the tree falls down with an almighty crash… everyone held their breath and expected a movie extra to shout “CUT” and wave the clapper board in front of their eyes….. but no there was no such shout of “CUT” or indeed “TIMBER” instead just gasps of shock and bewilderment at what everyone had just witnessed. Literally the tree had simply cut itself into two and one half had fallen mightily to the ground, sadly swiftly followed some 30 minutes later by the other half crashing down too… it was surreal and almost like watching a banana being peeled how the two halves simply fell away fro each other.

The tree was located in the paddock adjacent to the hotel and had been admired by one and all as a magnificent species. We are all feeling bereft at its’ loss as it has left a huge space between the ground and the sky.  It made me think that you can see something beautiful and magnificent every day and yet only take it for granted, only to realize its’ significance once it’s gone. It certainly made an interesting topic of conversation at the lunch that day!

Whilst in a philosophical mood, I have noticed too that we have no pigs as yet in the area of forest adjacent to the hotel despite it being the pannage season- most years we have families of pigs grazing greedily on the acorns and it is a heart warming sight watching the tiny piglets chasing along to be close on the heels of their mummies and then weeks later see them growing fat and round and becoming more and more independent, but this year they are missing and we miss them as they are a constant source of amusement, just as are the donkeys and mules that sometimes meander by, but of course we do have the ponies and deer for the guests to be surprised by – they are the constant and make the forest the special, enchanting place that it is.

Gerard and I were in London this week for Gerard to receive an award- yes! Another one. This time he was invited into the Academy of Food and Wine Service Hall of Fame. Whilst it was lovely to be in London together, as he has been travelling in China and the USA for the past few weeks, (so much washing and unpacking of suitcases!), we were both so pleased to be on the train and arrive at the outskirts of Brockenhurst where you have the most picturesque glimpses of the forest and we felt pleased to be home.

Enjoy the Autumn sunshine

Till next week

Nx

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Hot news – New Forest hotel, Hotel TerraVina is celebrating being in the Sunday Times Top 100 British Hotels…

An extra blog for this week as I couldn’t resist telling everyone our latest
exciting news

Having received a “heads up” last week that we were to be included in a
feature in today’s (29th September) ,Sunday Times Travel section, and having
been interviewed for a piece within the feature relating to my time as a
Hotel Inspector, we were at the newsagent bright and early this morning to
buy some copies and read with anticipation our write up.

The New Forest did brilliantly, with forest hotels being included in various
categories such as Chewton Glen, Limewood and The Pig, (congrats to all of
them) and of course ourselves, all being included in the Sunday Times Top
100 British Hotels and we are in the Top 10 for foodie hotels. We are
included with many greats, including Le Manoir aux Quats Saison, (well done
Raymond and team- justly deserved) and Gidleigh Park, (well done Michael and
team too) and we are simply thrilled to be included with such fantastic
company.

Well done to our very own TerraVina team- we are extremely proud of George
and his great team of chefs and of course all of the rest of the team,
without whom TerraVina would not be the place it is- thank you all for your
hard work, commitment and passion for what we do.

Last but by no means least, many thanks to all the editorial team at the
Sunday Times for liking us enough to include us in such a prestigious list
of special places- we are very proud to be included.

Full feature here:
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/travel/weekends/Places_to_stay/article13
18468.ece

Till later this week

Nx

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Blog on a Blog- Hotel TerraVina mentions Farm and Countryside Blog with much appreciation…

This week I am blogging about a blog- I read many other blogs not only because they are interesting and often fun and entertaining, but because I am trying to ensure that our own Hotel blog and Malmsey blogs’ aren’t missing a trick or two and are keeping up with blogging trends and remain a good read to those loyal blog readers who “tune in” each week… many thanks by the way for continuing to read my blogs- you are all very kind! I love to receive comments and feedback too so please do type a word or two now and then in the comments box.

However, I digress. Back to other blogs. One of my current favourites is http://farmandcountrysideblog.co.uk/

This is a new blog, written by a friend of mine and whilst that’s a good enough reason to like it, as is the fact that this week she has written the most lovely review about TerraVina, many thanks Sheila, but besides from all those reasons, it is simply a very well written, entertaining and diverse blog about all sorts of aspects of country life and I am loving reading it. Sheila has recently discovered the joys of visiting Country fairs and steam fairs and her descriptions of them made me want to pack a picnic basket and hurry along in a vintage VW camper van… which as I have mentioned camper vans, how sad to hear that yet another relic of a bygone era will soon disappear as the VW van is not going to produced any longer- future generations will have missed a treat, no music festivals will be the same again in years to come!

Enough of reminiscing about Hippy youths, this week the forest has looked never better with glorious rolling mists in the morning only to be dappled in Autumn sunshine by mid afternoon- long and mellow days with the pigs now out and eating their own weight in acorns- I love this time of year in the forest and do hope that the sunshine lingers just a little longer so we can enjoy it for a few more weeks before the win whips into a chill factor and the grey skies arrive to subdue us all just a little bit.

If you haven’t taken advantage of our Autumn mid week offers then do so as they are fantastic value and for those who live close enough to come for lunch don’t forget we are open throughout the week, not just on Sunday lunchtimes and the menu is just as tasty Mon- Sat!

Hope to welcome you all soon

Till next week and many thanks again Sheila for blogging about us

Nx

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Gerard talks “Wine and Fashion” in the New Forest at Hotel TerraVina….

As much as I love my darling husband, it has to be said that his fashion sense is sometimes not as good as it might be. Thus imagine my surprise when Gerard was invited to “star” in a video all about Paris Fashion Week and talk about his selection of wines to match fashionable designers who are all well known and highly talented “Fashionistas”….. obviously I knew he wouldn’t fail on the wine front but the fashion bit made me uneasy!

However, I shouldn’t have worried, as he knew each of the designers that he had to match the wines to and it makes for an entertaining video… see below:

Download link

http://we.tl/aIPiJ74upQ

So, in future I shouldn’t worry so much about matching his socks, packing his suitcase with shirts, ties and socks all folded together inside the best trouser/jacket combos… or perhaps I will, as having let him loose in the wardrobe today, he dressed himself in an interesting combination of every clashing colour possible!

Talking of colours… sometimes I surprise myself with how I seamlessly segue topics together, (anyone would think that this blog is actually prepared and planned). Anyway back to colours, for those who love the Autumn as much as I do, then hurry to the New Forest as the leaves are already turning and the colours are stunning with a wide array of Autumnal hues which are so pretty. Exbury is looking beautiful, the forest never better in its russet and golden mellowness and we have some fantastic mid week October breaks to entice you still further, complete with a glass of Sherry and a selection of tasty TapaVinas.

http://www.hotelterravina.co.uk/Autumnmidweekoffer.asp

We look forward to welcoming you very soon and before I go I must just congratulate Ana and the wine team as they have won a prize for the “31 Days of Riesling” campaign that we ran in July. Ana spearheaded it and ensured we matched food and wine combinations with delicious Riesling wines whenever we were able to- the campaign was a big success and Ana won £1,000 worth of Riesling wine for the hotel- well done Ana and team

Till next week

Nx

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Congratulations and Celebrations at TerraVina…

We are delighted to announce that George Blogg, our super Executive Chef has won an Editors Award from the Good Food Guide, of Chef to Watch, 2014. Well done George and many, many congratulations. We are very proud of him and for those of you haven’t met George yet, he is one of the most unassuming chaps we have ever known and so will be hugely embarrassed to be written about here!

As well as overseeing the main restaurant, George is responsible for our finer dining restaurant, “The Dining Room at TerraVina, which is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday for dinner only- we only accommodate 10-12 people at anyone time and George not only cooks, but personally serves many of the dishes, with a small team, so it is a highly personal experience akin to a chefs table, but without the hustle and bustle of being seated in the kitchen, yet with the same interaction between guests and chef.

Other news hot off the press and which some of you may have noted in this month’s newsletter, is that Suzi Glaus, our fantastic General Manager, who has been with us since before the opening of the hotel, is stepping into a part time role with us. Thus whilst she will be missed as GM, we are thrilled that she is remaining with us on a part time basis, as Suzi has been instrumental in shaping TerraVina into the special place it is and she has managed Gerard and I brilliantly for the past 6 years! (I am sure she would tell you that it’s not been an easy task!)

Chris Harvey, Suzi’s admirable deputy is stepping into Suzi’s shoes. He has been with us for over three years and is an integral part of TerraVina and we are thrilled that he is to become the hotel’s manager. Lydia will become Chris’s deputy and we wish them all well in their new positions. We also wish a warm welcome to new members of the kitchen team, including Gavin Barnes, our new head chef. Thus it is a time of change, but exciting times ahead and whilst mentioning exciting times, our delightful Laura Rhys’s departure has now happened and she has moved away from the forest to plan and start her very own adventure and new business. We are, as with all our protégées immensely proud of Laura and all her achievements and wish her every success with her own business- we will miss her terribly but she leaves with our love and blessing and of course we will be staying in touch and keeping you all updated on her continued success.

We do hope to welcome you all back again very soon and please do keep an eye on our website to hear of the special mid week offers through the Autumn months and do read our newsletter which we try to pack with as much information and news as possible.

Till next week

Nx

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Hotel TerraVina continues to enjoy the September sunshine and basks in the forest beauty

Having been away for a number of weeks and now arrived home I am seeing the forest with a fresher pair of eyes and my, what a beauty she is. Of course the glorious sunshine is helping and the fact that the sun continues to blaze in early September is just a real treat for us all.

Recently I was dog walking in the forest and as I reached the brow of the hill, as far and wide as the eye could see, stretched out before me was the most breathtaking forest vista. There was a herd of cows grazing, forest ponies ambling along and a stream babbling- it was truly picturesque and it made me realize how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful county as Hampshire and more especially to have the New Forest on our doorstep. Malmsey and I, along with Gerard and Romy had fun paddling in the stream and then walked for many a mile through the forest and enjoyed the dappled sunshine- it was the perfect last day of the school holidays.

Returning to school always makes me feel wistful- I love having Romy at home and we have had a particularly enjoyable summer together. This morning on the way home from dropping him off to school, the local infants school had also just started back and all the tiny tots were running in with their lunchboxes in hand, smart new, shiny shoes, uniforms just slightly too big for them and raucous shouts of excitement for the day that lay ahead……. Lovely to witness, but still there’s a part of me that wishes the summer holidays were just a few weeks longer so that I could selfishly enjoy my “baby’s” company for a few more precious weeks… instead Malmsey and I have had a day together and both of us are watching the clock until school pick up time and we will have him home again! You’d think that as he’s now in Year 10, I would be used to him going to school by now!

Enjoy the continued sunshine and all the good humour it brings with it- it’s so much nicer when the sun shines as everyone is kinder and considerate to one another.

Till next week

Nx

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Hello – Hotel TerraVina blog is back…sorry for the radio silence…I am back and raring to go!

What a fantastic summer we are having with glorious sunshine and lazy days. Our guests are loving the pool and enjoying all the treats and treasures the forest holds. The reason for my further couple of weeks of “radio silence” are easily explained, I defected to another county and relished in the delights of the North Norfolk coastline and had a staycation. I haven’t holidayed in the UK for far too long and I have to say that when the sunshines why bother to fly away?

Romané, (our son), was in Norfolk for two weeks on an adventure and as its soooo far away, especially when the M25 closes down, which it did for 8 hours or more on the return journey, that I decided to stay and hired a cottage. Malmsey came too and had a ball. I met up with two of my very best friends and we had a sort of giggly girls style (I know that being in our 40’s rather than only in our 30’s, we are too old to be girls, but we felt so carefree that we kidded ourselves the title still fits!) few days together which was just blissful and so much fun. My lovely husband was in California for a bit of my trip and then managed the hotel in my absence… well Suzi and the team managed the hotel brilliantly and Gerard was there too.

Then following the dreadfully long and never ending journey home due to aforesaid closure of the motorway, I arrived home late last Friday night to Gerard stating that he too wanted a piece of the holiday action and could I find a trip to leave on Monday and return on the 26th as he was flying to China on the 27th! Well I love a challenge and so, with the hotel’s lovely annual Summer party in between on the Sunday, a great success and thank you so much to all those who came, had fun and shared their love of the place with us all, by last Monday, via a flight from Southampton, so much better than having to travel to a London airport, by 11am we were sitting poolside in sunny Portugal.

We arrived home late last night with deep tans and in glowing health only for me to swap Gerard’s suitcase and wave him off to China. In our absence the team were as always brilliant and ran the hotel superbly. The guests were all super friendly and super happy to be enjoying the sunshine and the forest and as for me, I came straight home and re-booked the cottage in Norfolk for next year and a re-run of the fun filled time we all so relished. Friends duly notified to keep the dates free!

I hope the last of the summer days are filled with lots of sunshine and pleasure for you all and please do think of TerraVina for a little R&R if the time and mood takes you as we have some especially super mid week offers now and then and we always love welcoming you all back.

Till next week

Nx

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