Whilst lockdown may have spelt trouble for many parties in the hospitality industry, one country house turned hotel in Hartley Wintney has used the opportunity for its “rebirth”.

An unmistakable landmark in the rolling countryside of North Hampshire, The Elvetham hotel boasts a proud history, its claim to fame being the place where Henry VIII met Jane Seymour, and a favourite of Elizabeth I.

But the management team are set on making sure its future is just as bright, undertaking a revamp before it was able to fully reopen earlier this week.

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The team at Elvetham are all too aware that the hotel of the past was primarily a conference and events venue, and are working to transform its image into a full-on hotel in an era where staycations may become an ever popular choice.

“There’s lots of exciting plans,” head of sales Fiona Churchill told The Gazette.

“I’d say it’s a soft refurbishment programme we’ve had during the summer, and the plans will be for the long term goals to make it a destination with more of a story behind it.”

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Many of the house’s communal areas, including the bar, dining room and meeting rooms, have had a lick of paint, with magnificent artwork hung from the walls.

The natural features of the stunning house, set among 35 acres of gardens, have been kept and showcased, including beautiful fireplaces and library shelves.

During lockdown, as well as embarking on the ambitious revamp, the team have lent their kitchen facilities to local charities, making more than 5,000 meals for the most vulnerable in society. It also saw 22-year veteran of the industry Nazoomi Azhar, group operations director for The Elvetham’s new owners, Jastar Capital, donning his apron for the first time since the early 2000s.

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“The word partnership has become more vital now than ever,” he said. “The staycation market will play a huge role coming out of lockdown and we are looking forward to being the country house hotel, and we want to make this a destination for all of England.”

But the team are not set on finishing there - next on the list are the 43 bedrooms inside the main building, whilst the church on the grounds will be refurbished to allow it host events.

Also in the pipeline are plans for a spa, as well as eco-friendly conference facilities.