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The Master Builder's House Hotel
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Buckler's Hard, Hampshire, England SO42 7XB
0844 815 3399
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Stay where Neloson built his ships!
OX9 3XZ, England, United Kingdom
January 12, 2013
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We found a room for two for £69 plus £20 extra for our daughter to share the room, in The Master Builders Hotel at Buckler’s Hard near Beaulieu in the New Forest. **Buckler’s Hard** Buckler’s Hard is a tourist attraction and you can pay to visit a ...
We found a room for two for £69 plus £20 extra for our daughter to share the room, in The Master Builders Hotel at Buckler’s Hard near Beaulieu in the New Forest.
Buckler’s Hard is a tourist attraction and you can pay to visit a tourist centre just past this hotel or like us just choose to stay right in the heart of the historic village. What makes Buckler’s Hard special is that it is the site of a ship building yard of the 18th Century. Looking at the remains of the slipway I assumed small sailing boats were constructed here and was shocked to discover that it was HMS Victory type ships that started life at this picturesque spot. I was impressed to see one painting in the hotel of the Spanish Armada where three of the ships originated here, including Nelson’s favourite, HMS Agamemnon.
**The Master Builder’s House**
This was built in 1729 and was home to a renowned shipwright. It stands on the edge of the water overlooking the old slipways and forms the end of a terrace of red brick built cottages with a symmetrical terrace just opposite. These cottages with the village green and gravelled track through the middle are a famous British landmark and are ever so pretty. There is nothing industrial about this landscape now. The views from our room were across the green and the wide river which is full of sailing boats. It is as picturesque a setting as you could ever wish to stay in.
It was converted into a hotel during the last Century and consists of the main building where you can stay in chic or luxury rooms and there is also a newer block where the standard rooms are located, but they have less good views. We were lucky to have been given a ‘chic’ room in the attic. The main house also houses the restaurant, reception, the beautiful lounge with large inglenook fireplace and French doors overlooking the river. The hotel also operates as a pub and the restaurant is also open to the public, even serving breakfasts for sailors moored in the marina. Outside is a large terraced area with picnic tables and also a good sized lawn which has a giant chess set on it to keep little ones amused. A gravelled carpark is plenty big enough for all customers.
My first contact with reception was via a telephone call as I prepared to book online as I wanted to check that the additional bed in a room was suitable for a nearing adult sized teen and also to query local sports activities. The receptionist was extremely helpful. They weren’t able to offer the price I had located on the internet however so I returned there to finalise my booking. Their own website advises that a room for two is priced from £130, so well worth hunting around for a good deal. It also suggests that a minimum of 2 nights must be booked at a weekend whereas we were able to book just the one night.
On arrival the friendly receptionist quickly located our booking and asked the normal questions about wake up calls, restaurant booking and newspapers and then showed us to our room. Checkout and payment was also efficiently handled. Reception and the corridors and stairs are painted in a dark blue colour with dark wood floors or a fairly weathered blue carpet which can appear a bit gloomy. It is clear how old the property is as you feel a little drunk as you climb the sloping uneven stairs. As it is so old it has not been possible to install a lift.
The hotel advertises that its ethos is ‘relaxed friendly service in quirky surroundings’. As we were shown into our room we were definitely met with quirky surroundings. Our first impressions were that it was vast and also very red. The attic room had three dormer windows. There is no air conditioning. The sloping walls were painted a historical red colour with a white ceiling and lots of old beams. A large ornate rug really set off the cream carpet and made the room feel cosy. Furnishings were all in dark wood or black wrought iron and red blinds and white bed linen and lamp shades finished off the soft furnishings.
An entrance hallway with a large wardrobe leads into main part of the room. The main room has a voluminous Queen size bed with a wonderfully comfortable mattress and feather pillows that we both had a really good nights sleep in. The headboard and pictures on either side are rather erotic carved features and possibly a little unsuitable for sharing a room with your teen, but great if it’s your wedding night! My daughter found the mattress a little on the hard side on her daybed, but she seemed to sleep well enough and being wrought iron it looked really good. A cream wooden fretwork folding screen brightened up the look of the room and could be used to divide the main and daybed if more privacy is required. Other furniture included a fun oversized armchair, bedside tables, a dressing table / writing desk and mirror, a chest of drawers with a flat screen TV on it with temperamental reception, and a coffee table with tea and coffee making facilities and bottled water. Despite being an attic room there was plenty of headroom.
The en-suite bathroom carried through the beamed and red theme and contained a large bath with shower attachment. The toilet was the only thing that let this room down; the water pressure just wasn’t adequate and several flushes were always required! A pretty shelf above the sink contained miniature toiletry bottles and a hair dryer was also provided. Towels were plentiful and thick and fluffy and I should also mention that the white bed linen which is apparently made from best Egyptian linen felt thick and had a wonderful fresh newly laundered smell.
A welcome note from the manager was left on the bed which basically hoped that we had a good stay and offered assistance if required and reminded us that we could buy tickets for local attractions for a 10% discount at reception. A useful folder is also included in the room with details about local attractions and a bit of history of the area and the hotel as well all the practical information that you need to know such as breakfast times and emergency numbers.
We were really pleasantly surprised by this room and found it to be clean and comfortable with everything that we needed.
Breakfast is served in the tastefully decorated restaurant. The bluey green painted woodwork and booths with red and white striped seats and the dark wooden floorboards felt restful and French doors lead onto the patio with views of the boats in the marina.
A table was laid out with assorted cereals, miniature pastries and a bowl of fruit salad which disappointingly seemed to be almost exclusively apple. Orange and cranberry juice was available in jugs as well as a banana smoothie, which my family tell me was delicious. Tea and coffee and toast were brought directly to the table by the waitresses. I felt that these elements of the breakfast were lacking and I would have liked to have seen more fresh fruit choices and yogurts and possibly some delicatessen items. A good array of cooked breakfasts was also available however such as muffins with salmon and egg and bacon sandwiches. We all chose to have the full English cooked breakfast with fried eggs. This was tasty and although not huge quantities it was nicely filling. The eggs were perfectly cooked with the yoke runny and a very thoughtful touch was that of the two slices of bacon one was more well done than the other to hopefully cater to all tastes. My husband complained at the lack of baked beans but in my opinion that was a good omission and another good omission was that they had run out of black pudding.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at The Master Builders House hotel. We loved the historical interest attached to the building and the outstanding location. We were impressed with the size, comfort and cleanliness of our room and also with the friendliness of the staff. As there is so much do in the New Forest that we didn’t have the opportunity to do on our short stay I’m absolutely sure that we will be re-visiting the area and we will definitely try to stay in this hotel again if we can access a good price like we did this time. I would recommend it to anyone else wanting a good base to visit the New Forest.
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