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Heckfield Place: ‘Hushed Luxury’ in Hampshire, England

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Heckfield Place: ‘Hushed Luxury’ in Hampshire, England

August 22, 2018

The latest country house hotel to open in the UK: Heckfield Place in Hampshire. The 47-room Georgian family home was scheduled to open in 2012, but launch dates (and staff members) came and went. The reasons for the delay were reported in the Financial Times this past spring, but this September, according to general manager, Olivia Richli, Heckfield Place is finally open for business and—judging by the images we’ve seen of the interiors—those who have held on to their bookings will not be disappointed. Take a look.

All photography courtesy of Heckfield Place

the freshly sand blasted exterior of heckfield place at dusk. 9
Above: The freshly sand-blasted exterior of Heckfield Place at dusk.

The interiors have been designed by Ben Thompson, the 34-year-old former director of Studio Ilse. Thompson and his team were initially asked to revive a derelict country pub close to the estate (the idea being that guests could make their way across the 400 acres to the inn). “The presentation went well, and we were asked instead to help out on Heckfield,” he says, modestly.

Heckfield Place is owned by the Chan family, who purchased the property 16 years ago. The building was being used as a corporate training center when they took ownership, but not a hint of that sterile, strip-lit interior remains, thanks to Thompson’s approach to the project. “Our main objective with the interior was to connect the buildings to the landscape and context, to add character and warmth through local materials, local craft, and antiques relevant to the buildings’ history,” he says.

a sitting area at heckfield. 10
Above: A sitting area at Heckfield.

Thompson’s involvement began three years ago. “We jumped on board to help edit, redefine, and create a more connected place,” he explains. “At the time, the interior felt very alien to Hampshire—it had a more international hotel aesthetic that didn’t feel honest or believable.” Where possible, sparkling surfaces and mass-produced furniture and fittings were replaced with natural, considered materials and handmade pieces that imbue the interiors with a kind of hushed luxuriousness. In their own words: “Heckfield is a place to feel in awe of and at home in.”

“It has been our job to work hard with craftspeople rather than larger suppliers to ensure everything feels very considered and handmade,” Thompson asserts. The floors are made of a hard-to-find English oak that is rich in character. The walls are done in lime plaster and have “an amazing depth to them—far from flat, they absorb the light beautifully and really cocoon you.”

the ochre room. &#8\2\20;we have not tried to be too bold with the color pa 11
Above: The Ochre Room. “We have not tried to be too bold with the color palette, choosing more muted colors that can be seen in nature,” Thompson explains. The drinks cabinet is by Benchmark.

There are six room types to choose from at Heckfield Place, from the out-of-this-world Long Room (which costs up to £10,000 a night), to the Friends Rooms (which start at a still-very-treaty £350 a night). Thompson describes the smaller rooms “as perfect little pockets” with layered natural materials and fastidious attention to detail. By contrast, the Long Room is a vast space “to entertain, with a beautiful oak and marble kitchen, two terraces, and a dining and sitting room with huge fires.”

a desk and candle in one of the guest rooms. 12
Above: A desk and candle in one of the guest rooms.
a peaceful corner in one of the smaller rooms. the artwork is from owner chan&a 13
Above: A peaceful corner in one of the smaller rooms. The artwork is from owner Chan’s own collection.
 &#8\2\20;we always try to react to the building and the place, so the aes 14
Above: “We always try to react to the building and the place, so the aesthetic changes depending on which building you are in,” Thompson says.
botanical prints and hooks in the guest bath. 15
Above: Botanical prints and hooks in the guest bath.
the study, featuring a handwoven tapestry by lucy bathhurst of nest design, a k 16
Above: The study, featuring a handwoven tapestry by Lucy Bathhurst of Nest Design, a Kaarlo Bergbom brass desk lamp, and an antique partners desk. The tapestry was designed in response to the colors and materials found within the room, and the gold line traces the edge of the woodlands through the estate.

Thompson has used the sun to guide guests through the day: “morning papers and a coffee in the pure bright morning room; afternoon cake in the darker, more patterned and alive drawing room, through to the final drink of the day in the Moon Bar.”

the moon bar: &#8\2\20;a sumptuous dark, dark blue with a brass bar and mir 17
Above: The Moon Bar: “a sumptuous dark, dark blue with a brass bar and mirror ball which reflects the candlelight at night.”

The three restaurants at Heckfield Place are overseen by culinary director Skye Gyngell of London’s elegant Spring restaurant in Somerset House. (See her kitchen at In the Kitchen with Skye Gyngell, London’s Chef du Jour).

 produce is sustainably sourced from the estate&#8\2\17;s own market garde 18
Above: Produce is sustainably sourced from the estate’s own market garden, orchard, farm, and greenhouses. (For a walk through the grounds, see A Garden Worth the Wait: Heckfield Place in Hampshire, England on Gardenista.)
marle restaurant &#8\2\20;brings the farm and its produce into the room.&am 19
Above: Marle Restaurant “brings the farm and its produce into the room.” Bespoke ceramics by José Carvalho, Olivia Fiddes, and Effie Gibson (among others) are used throughout.

&#8\2\20;some elements of the architecture created a very blank canvas for  20
Above: “Some elements of the architecture created a very blank canvas for a layer on top,” says Thompson. “It’s in those spaces that I think we have been most successful in achieving our objective. Even when you open the door, the smell of the rush [which was made by Felicity Irons from Rush Matters] immediately places you in the countryside. It is only with these living, breathing materials that the experience can truly be felt.”
More English country estates, available by the night:

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