Audleys Wood Hotel, Simonds Room Restaurant
A new dining destination - The Simonds Room - has been created at historic Audleys Wood Hotel, Basingstoke, where the stars of the menu will be local produce. The grand opening took place on 21 September.
With its magnificent oak panelling reputed to be from Tewkesbury Abbey, The Simonds Room is set to attract local people and hotel residents with a delicious menu showcasing the very best produce from specialist suppliers from Hampshire and the surrounding areas. The Simonds will be open Tuesday through Saturday evenings and the intimate atmosphere will create a fine dining experience for special occasions or business entertaining that will complement the more informal Gallery restaurant.
Head chef Adam Fargin, who has lived and worked in Hampshire throughout his career, will focus on modern British cuisine, concentrating on creating signature dishes with the finest ingredients such as Hampshire rabbit, cheese from the New Forest, watercress from Alresford and pork from Keane Farm in Hampshire. The launch week of The Simonds Room is fully booked.
At the opening of The Simonds Room on 21 September, a blue plaque was unveiled in recognition of the rich history of Audleys Wood. The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Basingstoke and Cllr David Leeks.
Audleys Wood was built in the mid-1880s in the Gothic Renaissance style.
The Simonds Room, the original dining room of the old house, is named after Viscount Gavin Turnbull Simonds, whose family bought the estate in 1889. As Lord High Chancellor, the Viscount served in Winston Churchill’s government. The Simonds family sold Audleys Wood to Lord Camrose, the editor and proprietor of the Daily Telegraph in 1950. Audleys Wood became a hotel in 1989. As a reminder of its links with Lord Camrose, there is always a copy of the Daily Telegraph in reception at the hotel.
Julia Hands, chairman and chief executive of Hand Picked Hotels, said: “The Simonds Room is championing our passion for local produce and our aim is to make it a destination restaurant for local people as well as our hotel guests. Audleys Wood Hotel, like all our hotels, was a much-loved country home for the Simonds family and The Simonds Room is a fine tribute to their ownership.”
Audleys Wood Hotel is part of the Hand Picked Hotels collection in outstanding locations across the UK. The hotels are renowned for exquisite food, fine wines and excellent service in relaxing surroundings. The hotels are all architecturally splendid former private country houses with fascinating histories, mainly built in the 18th and 19th centuries to enable their owners to entertain guests on a grand scale - including royalty, prime ministers, captains of industry, writers and film stars. The hotels range from mediaeval, to Georgian Palladian, from rural manor house to stately Edwardian grandeur, representing centuries of hospitality. Today, the hotels offer the opportunity to experience the indulgence of a country house visit without needing to be on an exclusive guest list.
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About Hand Picked Hotels
The award-winning Hand Picked Hotels collection, created by former City lawyer Julia Hands, are luxurious country house hotels renowned for exquisite food, fine wines and excellent service in stylish, relaxing surroundings. There are 17 hotels across the UK, with locations ranging from the New Forest and Jersey to Yorkshire and Edinburgh. Hand Picked Hotels focuses on the quality of its service and cuisine. 15 hotels have achieved two AA rosette status and one hotel, Norton House Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh, has achieved three AA rosettes. In addition Norton House Hotel & Spa was awarded AA Hotel of the Year for Scotland 2008-2009. Six hotels have achieved red star status and are among the AA's Top 200 hotels in the UK & Ireland. In 2007, Julia Hands was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to the hospitality industry.