Just three hours after leaving London, there we were thrashing out a game of tennis on the courts of The Priory Bay Hotel, which we followed with a somewhat bracing swim from our lodging`s private beach.
In fact, so eager were we to take advantage of the facilities and grounds, we forewent the formality of actually checking in.
On return to reception, we marveled at the ivy-clad building and its immaculate gardens. We then wound our way up the stairs into an elegant guest room with windows in all directions.
One view took in the grounds and the winding path to the beach with the Solent beyond, while another, framed by the ever-present Virginia creeper, peered towards the (unheated) swimming pool. The final window, facing inland, looked down upon the outside bar area, where sophisticated couples supped aperitifs in the sinking summer sunshine.
As optimistic Brits, we skipped the formal dining room and braved the early summer night on the terrace.
I feasted on the chef`s signature dish – Bembridge blue lobster, whilst my partner declared his fish and chips the best he`d ever tasted. Executive chef, Alexis Gauthier, has already won the hotel an AA star for fine dining and is tipped for big things.
To stay at The Priory Bay Hotel is to feel like privileged guests of a country house party. As well as the beach and tennis courts, there`s a six-hole golf course, so there`s plenty to entertain you during the day, as well as fine dining at night.
A standard room during the week in low season at Priory Bay starts at £120 per room per night based on two sharing on a bed and breakfast basis. A principal room, such as the one we stayed in, during the week in high season starts at £210 per room per night based on two sharing on a bed and breakfast basis.
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