I’ll be honest and confess I wasn’t entirely sure about reviewing a B&B for ALadyofLeisure.com – not out of reasons of snobbery but because I usually write about hotels with massive restaurants, spa, acres of land and all the paraphernalia that comes with that kind of stay: I was worried that there just wouldn’t be enough to write about. Having stayed there, I’m now worried that I’m going to blether on for far too long about what a really lovely place Daisybank Cottage was.
From the friendly welcome to the immaculate and vast rooms, the excellent breakfast and the general feeling of being invited into someone’s lovely home and being really well looked after, Daisybank Cottage didn’t put a foot wrong. I can’t recommend it highly enough and have already been telling everyone I know that they need to look no further if they want a perfect New Forest weekend away.
Basics first: my room was larger than your average hotel room, with a huge double bed, wardrobe, large mirrors, plug points everywhere (including an extra one each side of the bed for your mobile so you didn’t have to unplug the digital radio or light), a separate lounge area with a sofa, fridge, coffee machine and TV and an immaculate bathroom with free-standing bath, cream shutters, walk-in shower and all the fluffy towels you could want.
It felt incredibly cosy and welcoming in a way that a hotel room isn’t and I instantly felt very at home. Each of the sevens rooms (four with bath, three with wetrooms) is individually styled with original artwork and excellent taste and leaves you thinking: ‘Why doesn’t my bedroom look like this?’
Run by the lovely Cheryl and Ciaran who are happy to invite you into their kitchen to warm yourself by the Aga with a cup of tea and a chat but are equally good at leaving you to your own devices, Daisybank Cottage is full of thoughtful little touches which you wouldn’t usually find in a hotel. I found little packets of ear-plugs in the bedside tables (you couldn’t hear the traffic anyway), homemade cupcakes, fresh milk, a massive DVD selection in the hallway for you to help yourself to, a pot of bath salts by the bath and even a bathboard to prop yourself up with should you wish to read while you relax in the tub.
Originally from Ireland, Cheryl and Ciaran bought Daisybank 25 years ago and raised their now grown-up children Kellie and Alan there. They opened the B&B in 2010 and have since expanded it to a two-bedroom Lodge in the back garden and most recently a Shepherd’s Hut for a really cosy night outdoors (and which has possibly the poshest outdoor loo I’ve ever seen).
In the light and airy dining room there was an honesty bar for pre-dinner drinks with local gins, rums and wines (including Hopkins Rum from the Dancing Cows distillery in nearby Lymington and Rock Sea Vodka from the Isle of Wight Distillery) and there was plenty to read about the local area – although you’re best getting recommendations of what to do and where to eat from Cheryl and Ciaran). Brockenhurst Village is just 10 minutes walk down the road and has a good choice of pubs and restaurants for your evening meal (I enjoyed a drink at the Foresters Arms and took back some food from the local store to enjoy over a DVD).
Guests pre-order breakfast from a list the night before and put it outside their rooms which seemed like a good idea to save unnecessary cooking, and my breakfast was excellently done, with all the ingredients being locally-sourced from the New Forest. In fact sourcing is something which Cheryl and Ciaran take very seriously, from the handmade crockery and the bed linen to the room keys, cushions and eco-friendly coffee pods in the coffee machine and all the suppliers are listed in the menu and room information booklets.
Replete from breakfast I retired to my room for the rest of the morning, working on my laptop in the sunshine which streamed in from the bay window. A plaintive mew at the door meant I was soon joined by Pumpkin the house cat, who was obviously in need of company and fell asleep next to me on the sofa. Daisybank is truly a home from home and I couldn’t recommend it more highly.
Hotel information and to book Daisybank Cottage
Daisybank Cottage, Sway Road, Brockenhurst SO42 7SG
Tel: 01590 622 086