There are many superlatives I could use to describe the 4-star Macdonald Botley Park Hotel, Golf & Spa but “delightful” seems sufficient to sum up our weekend experience at the hotel. It might not be the most attractive in terms of its external appearance, but it’s what happens inside that counts – and in that respect it couldn’t be faulted.


Set in 176 acres of beautiful Hampshire countryside, Macdonald Botley Park Hotel, Golf & Spa offers the best of breathtaking scenery and fine facilities – and there’s ample free parking, too. Within easy reach of Southampton and its airport, Eastleigh, Portsmouth, M3, New Forest and Peppa Pig World, one of the UK’s most popular theme parks, it’s not surprising that the hotel is a favourite for family holidays, business and weddings.

The company owns 45 individually-styled hotels in the UK and has been voted AA Hotel Group of the Year 2013-14, the second time in six years. Some of the reasons it was picked include continued investment (over £10million already in 2014), over 40 AA Rosettes for dining (apparently, the highest number for any hotel group) and the firm’s commitment to excellence in product and service.

I can vouch for the hotel’s excellence in service; in fact, it was evident from the moment we stepped through the doors. The smiling receptionist made us all feel welcome; sometimes in hotels, the warmth is directed towards the adults, but here the staff made a real effort to ensure our two children, aged 13 and seven, felt wanted, too.

Hollie and Peter were issued with Peppa Pig Welcome Packs (the hotel offers special packages combining accommodation and tickets for the theme park) and their very own check-in form. If needed, they could also make use of the Peppa Pig table and chairs in front of the reception desk. That wasn’t all: we were presented with two Peppa Pig room card keys which the kids were allowed to keep at the end of our stay.


The smiles and friendliness extended beyond the reception desk. Throughout the hotel, staff were always helpful and professional – everyone from Shane, the restaurant manager who made sure everything went well during our evening meal, to the female cleaner who quickly came to my daughter’s aid when the locker inside the swimming pool changing rooms wouldn’t open.

When it comes to eating and drinking, you can choose between the Gallery Bar, with its leather armchairs, sofas and wood-panelled walls; the Winchester Restaurant, with its classic décor of plum tones and dark wooden furniture and, finally, the relaxing Swing and Divot Bar.

We ate in the Winchester, which boasts an extensive wine list and equally enjoyable menu; being vegetarian, choice is always slightly limited but Shane was able to conjure up alternative veggie options we could choose from.

Afterwards, I saw a particularly enticing dish on the bar menu and wished that the same dishes were available on all menus or that the staff had made it clear if we could order from any. Still, my meal was delicious and the service excellent. It was nice, also, to find restaurant staff happy for us to pick ’n’ mix: for example, we chose tomato soup from the children’s menu rather than stick to mushroom on the adult’s menu, which my wife and I dislike.

Macdonald Hotels has a commitment to quality British food in the AA Rosette award-winning Winchester Restaurant. Local organic suppliers are sourced for the vegetables and dairy products where possible. But whatever you choose you can be sure that it’ll be presented attractively.

The menu pricing was £23.50 for two courses, £29.50 for three. We found the children’s menu a little confusing in terms of what you could order to make up a three-course meal. Rather than a menu headed up “Starters”, “Main Dish” and “Dessert”, it was “Sharing Plates”, “Small Plates”, “Larger Plates” and “Puddings”, priced £3, £4, £7 and £4 respectively. Perhaps it was us, though. The idea may be that you choose whatever you want rather than sticking to the traditional idea of a three-course meal.

The hotel’s family-friendly approach even extended to the kids’ menu because once the food had been chosen, they could turn over the menu and occupy themselves with, among others, Spot the Difference and a Wordsearch.

Breakfast is served in the Winchester Restaurant, too. We loved the fare on offer, including a veggie cooked breakfast. It was also nice to see a wide selection of berries, nuts and grated coconut – all things I love to pour over my cereal.

Free wi-fi is available throughout the hotel, including the bedrooms. We occupied two spacious adjoining rooms (nos. 211 & 213) overlooking the 18th green and the countryside beyond. They contained everything needed for a comfy stay, including tea and coffee-making facilities, TV (Sky Sports 1 & 2 available, free of charge), trouser press and an iron and ironing board.



Although we didn’t make use of the well-respected spa, we tried the 15-metre heated swimming pool and I checked out the sauna and, later, the fully-equipped gym. Unlike some hotels which restrict children’s swim time to an hour or two during the day when you’re most likely to be out sightseeing, Macdonald Botley Park Hotel, Golf & Spa allows kids to swim until 8pm, with last entry being 7.15pm. This was a real plus point.

I like to find out a little about every hotel’s history. As far as this place is concerned, it’s built on former agricultural land in an area known for strawberry growing. Previously owned by Rank Hotels, it was bought by the Macdonald Hotels Group in November 1993.

Please note that the land on which the popular golf course is sited has been sold for housing development. Although a certain amount of greenery will exist at the back of the hotel, the golf course is expected to disappear during 2015.

Overall, this is a fine hotel and highly recommended.


More information:

Winchester Road

Boorley Green

Southampton SO32 2UA, t: 0344 879 9034


Reviewed: November 2014