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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Happy Christmas

Well it's here at last after serving over 700 Pre-Christmas meals! The decorations are looking stunning thanks to Mike Dacombe of Inspiration in New Milton who has decorated the hotel for the past 20 years and every year has been different. We enjoy a traditional Christmas at the Cloud Hotel and many of our guests have been coming to the Cloud Hotel for several years but it is Pat and Barry Cooper who hold the record for coming for Christmas for 32 years!

The ladies and their partners of  the Wessex Women's Network enjoyed a Christmas Dinner on 5th December and the raffle raised £187-00 for Wessex Heartbeat. Our suppliers were very generous with their donations for the raffle for which we were very grateful.

I will be celebrating 40 years at the Cloud Hotel in January! I can't believe I have been at the Cloud Hotel for 40 years and wonder where those years have gone? There have been some challenging years but also some very rewarding times and I have been very lucky to have a great team to support me.

On December 12th I attended the Inspirational Women Awards at the Landmark Hotel in London, I knew I had been shortlisted for an award but what a surprise it was when my name was called out to receive my award. Once again I was thrilled to receive it and managed to make a short acceptance speech off the cuff as I had not prepared one! It was not only a great and at times emotional evening but also the event raised money for Breast Cancer, a worthy charity.

The hotel will be closing on Sunday December 27th 2015 for our annual refurbishment and re-opening on January 15th 2016

My staff join me in wishing you a very happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas.

Avril


Saturday, 7 November 2015

What a Lovely Surprise

What a lovely surprise it is when something quite unexpected happens to you! I attended the Women of Our Time luncheon yesterday at the Chewton Glen Hotel which is held annually to raise money  for Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington. Before we enjoyed a delicious lunch we listened to Sally Armstrong present a talk about her days as an air hostess on Concorde. Sally stepped in at the very last minute as the speaker who had been booked had been taken ill and although she had never done a public presentation before her talk was full of interesting facts, humour and behind the scenes gossip. We all thoroughly enjoyed it.  Her book 'Vintage Champagne on the Edge of Space' [What a wonderful title] has just been published and is well worth a read. Every year there is an award for a local woman who in the eyes of Oakhaven Hospice Trust has achieved and I had no idea I was about to be this year's recipient. What a wonderful surprise and honour and I'm still so excited that I'm on Cloud Nine. I didn't recognise myself when Chair Anna Rostand first started to read out my biography but when she said I had founded the Wessex Women's Network I realised it was me who was receiving this prestigious award! I was presented with these beautiful flowers and glass trophy.







Talking about the Wessex Women's Network we had a meeting on Wednesday November 4th when we heard Christine Ames give us a fascinating talk about behind the door of No10. I have known  Christine for many years and I had no idea she had worked at No 10 for 7 years when Harold Wilson was in power. Even though the number of ladies who attended were down this month we all had a great evening with lots of networking and laughter. Our Christmas Dinner is on Saturday December 5th at 7-30pm when the ladies can bring their husbands, partners or friends to enjoy the event.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Avril


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Cosy Nights

The clocks go back tonight and the evenings are drawing in meaning that winter is on the way. I love the cosy feeling of the dark evenings when you can sit and relax by a roaring log fire and enjoy a glass of wine. However like most of us I do not like the cold and frosty days although if you wrap up warm you can still go for long walks in the New Forest and return to enjoy a hot chocolate to warm you up.
The Autumn colours are stunning this year and well worth a visit to the New Forest to see them before it's too late. The colours are usually at their best the first week of November and that is when our winter tariff starts so why not take  a weekend break before Christmas and take advantage of our winter weekends stay 2 nights and get the third night FREE.

There was a beautiful sunset this evening over the forest the sky looked alight so I had to take a photo.


Thank you to everyone who came and supported our World's Biggest Coffee Morning on September 25th. We raised £465-00 for Macmillan Cancer Support. We had far fewer people attend our coffee morning this year, I think more and more people are holding coffee mornings now but thanks to our waitress Annette who made 2 delicious sponge cakes for the raffle she boosted the funds by  £98-00. Annette is our 'Mary Berry' and makes the lemon drizzle cake for the afternoon teas at the Cloud Hotel and her cakes are delicious.

The Wessex Women's Network continues to thrive and on October 7th  thirty three ladies had the pleasure of hearing the fascinating story of Maureen Rose who was dressmaker to the Queen. It was one of the most interesting talks we had heard and what a lovely lady. Our next meeting is on November 4th when Christine Ames will be telling us her story 'Through the Door of No10' sounds like another interesting talk. The Wessex Women's Network meet once a month at the Cloud Hotel, there is no joining fee and it isn't just for businesswomen so if you would like an evening out to share ideas and have fun with likeminded women do get in touch at avril@cloudhotel.co.uk.

Before we know it Christmas will be here so if you haven't booked your pre Christmas lunch or dinner don't leave it too late as some days are fully booked already. Mike Dacombe of Inspiration will be putting the Christmas decorations up on Sunday November 29th. I know many of you like to come and see them as he always makes the hotel look magical.

Enjoy your extra hour sleep tonight!

Avril



Thursday, 17 September 2015

World's Biggest Coffee Morning

The next big event at the Cloud Hotel is the Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support to be held on Friday September 25th from 10-30-11-45am. This is an annual event and the Cloud Hotel has taken part almost every year since it started and has managed to raise much needed funds for this excellent charity Please do come along bring your friends sit and relax with a cup of coffee or tea in one of our lounges or garden if it's fine and enjoy our moorish chocolate brownies.

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas! The Christmas cards are appearing in the shops and before we know it we shall all be hearing Christmas Carols being played. I think it is far too early to be bombarded with Christmas cards and decorations but we too have our pre-Christmas lunch and dinner menus available as we are being asked for them! If you have a special date you want to celebrate with your friends or family it is advisable to book as soon as possible as we have already taken quite a few pre- Christmas bookings.

The Autumn colours are usually at their best the first week of November so why not take advantage of our winter weekend break stay 2 nights and get 3rd night FREE.

The evenings are drawing in and we will soon be lighting the log fire! Every year seems to fly by faster and faster a reason to enjoy every day.

Avril



Saturday, 15 August 2015

A Wonderful Family Day.

I don't usually report on family events or celebrations as I like to keep them private but on August 7th my daughter Emma married Kevin Walker in Bournemouth on what was a wonderful day. The sun shone all day not a cloud in the sky and Emma looked a radiant sparkly bride and so happy. It was a perfect day with all my family there and some great speeches!

Bournemouth Air Festival takes place from August 20th until 23rd. This is one of the world'd best air shows and is well worth a visit. You can catch a train from Brockenhurst to Bournemouth Central station or it's only a 45 minute drive into Bournemouth by car.

The weather is looking good for this coming week and we still have a few vacancies if you fancy a short break in peaceful surroundings [no children under 14 years]. September is one of our most popular months in the year so if you are thinking of coming away in September don't leave it too late as some weeks are fully booked already.

I know it seems rather early to be talking about Christmas but we only have one standard twin bedded room available for this Christmas. The pre Christmas lunch and dinner menus are now available from reception. This year is just flying by!

Our next charity event is the World's Biggest Coffee Morning to be held on Friday 25th September at the Cloud Hotel between 10-30am and 11-45am. All proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support so please come along and bring your friends. We aim to raise alot of money for this excellent charity and worthwhile cause.

The evenings are slowly drawing in but hopefully we will enjoy some more warm sunny days before the autumn so you can sit in our secluded garden and enjoy afternoon tea, a glass of wine,  Pimms or just relax.

Happy holidays

Avril






Friday, 24 July 2015

Special Breaks in August

We raised £700-00 at the charity cream tea held at the Cloud Hotel on July 5th and the proceeds were shared between Naomi House Children's Hospice and The Variety Club Children's Charity. It was a lovely sunny day so most people sat outside in our secluded garden to enjoy a delicious cream tea. We were very grateful to Jennifer Williams of Naked Jam who generously donated the strawberry jam and Wrights Dairies for donating the clotted cream.

The New Forest and Hampshire County Show takes place on Tuesday July 28th until  Thursday
July 30th, fingers crossed that the weather will be fine for everyone to be-able to enjoy the day.

I can't believe it will soon be August where has the year gone? I know many of you avoid August as it is the school holidays but you can still experience the peace and quiet of the Cloud Hotel as we only accept children over the age of 14 years. You can take advantage of our special summer offer in August  stay 2, 3, or 4 nights and get the one night FREE!

If you are thinking of coming away for Christmas we only have one standard twin bedded room left, Christmas is a very popular time at the Cloud Hotel as guests return year after year.

We had an exciting day yesterday morning when a baby donkey was born on the green opposite the hotel during breakfast! The photo below was taken when he was only a few hours old.

I look forward to welcoming you for a relaxing break in the heart of the New Forest, cyclists are welcome and we can store your bikes in our secure covered bike shed overnight.

Avril

Monday, 22 June 2015

Charity Cream Tea

The Cloud Hotel is to hold it's annual Charity Cream Tea on July 5th in conjunction with Hampshire Fare Food Festival from 4pm until 5-30pm,  all proceeds are to be shared between Naomi House Children's Hospice and the Variety Club Children's Charity. Both these charities do wonderful work for children who do not have the quality of life that many of us enjoy and they are both very worthwhile causes. If you would like to join us and help raise lots of money call 01590 622165 to book. The cost is £7-00 per person and all proceeds are donated to these charities.

Yesterday was the longest day and I'm told summer is now here? It's still quite chilly in the mornings but we have had some lovely sunny days and our customers have been able to enjoy the peace and quiet of our secluded and colourful garden! The lupins, foxgloves and delphiniums are a blaze of colour at the moment. Fingers crossed the weather will continue to improve and we will have a warm summer.

After 18 years of loyal service to the Cloud Hotel our Head Chef Stephen Gates is to move on to pastures new. Steve's final accolade was the Cloud Hotel was awarded the maximum score of 5 for the food hygiene rating which was well deserved.  We shall miss Steve but I am delighted to announce that John Egan is joining us as Head Chef  John is a very experienced chef and had his own Restaurant in Lymington for 15 years. Egans Restaurant had a great reputation and he recently sold it but wants to continue to work in the industry so I' m delighted that he has decided to come to the Cloud. He is passionate about his cooking and using fresh local produce.

The New Forest & Hampshire County Show takes place in Brockenhurst on 28th, 29th  & 30th July. This is the County's most spectacular show and well worth a visit. The main ring attraction this year is the incredible Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry. The troop will perform on all 3 days of the show. If you book on line at www.newforestshow.co.uk before 20th July you will receive a 15% discount for entry to the show. We still have a few rooms available during that time so book soon before it's too late. I can guarantee it is a wonderful day out.

It's onwards and upwards at the Cloud Hotel and I look forward to welcoming you to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a child free environment. We welcome children over 14 years.

Avril


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Certificate of Excellence 2015


I am proud to announce that the Cloud Hotel has just been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2015 and is rated 3rd best hotel in Brockenhurst out of 12 hotels. This is a great accolade for my loyal and hardworking staff many of whom have been working at the Cloud Hotel for many years.

The weather has been rather chilly for the start of May but I did spot my first foal last week, they seem to be appearing later this year maybe they are waiting for the warmer weather! However I woke up this morning to a beautiful blue sky and a fairly good forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend. We still have a few rooms available for the weekend and are offering a special Bank Holiday Break stay 2 nights and get 3rd night FREE from £222-00 per person dinner bed and breakfast for three nights. If you love cycling you can store your bikes in our secure covered bike shed overnight and we can provide you with a map of the cycling paths. Cycling is a great way to explore the beautiful countryside and see the wildlife of the New Forest National Park.

I am a great supporter of women, being one myself and that's why I founded the Wessex Women's Network in 2003 for women in the New Forest and surrounding areas to meet once a month listen to some inspirational and entertaining speakers, share ideas and have fun. Last night was no exception when we had the pleasure of listening Yvonne Bishop-Weston Nutritionist who spoke to us about the food we should eat to relieve stress! Her talk certainly gave us food for thought!! Pardon the pun!

The NatWest everywoman Awards are now in their 12th year and I have had the privilege of being one of the judges for this prestigious event for the past 7 years. These awards recognise the achievements of women of all ages so if you would like to nominate yourself or know someone else who you think deserves the recognition of the Nat West everywoman awards go to www.everywoman.com/award/2015 nominations close on 6th July.

As the weather gets warmer I am looking forward to seeing the lupins, foxgloves delphiniums and dahlias that I have planted in our newly landscaped garden coming into bloom and for our customers to be-able to enjoy the peace and quiet of our secluded garden.

Avril




Monday, 20 April 2015

Spring is here!

How lovely it is to have all this sunshine, it lifts our spirits and makes everyone feel happier. The New Forest is ablaze with colour as the gorse is in full bloom and I eagerly await seeing the first new born foal any day now. Although I have lived in the New Forest for 39 years I still get a buzz from seeing the foals especially when they are outside the front of the hotel.

I love the Spring when the leaves on the trees are a fresh green, the evenings are getting longer and the forest is coming alive after the dreary winter months. I hope this weather lasts so our guests can enjoy our newly landscaped garden and relax with a glass of Pimms or even dine alfresco as the weather gets warmer.

Exbury gardens is a 'magical place in the New Forest ' world famous for the Rothschild  Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs. For those who can't manage to walk the 200 acre site a steam train is available to take you round. For more details see www.exbury.co.uk These gardens are really worth a visit especially at this time of the year and they are only a 20 minute drive from the Cloud Hotel.

May Bank Holiday will soon be here and we still have a few rooms available. If you don't fancy travelling by car and want to avoid the traffic jams you can relieve the strain and come by train as there is an intercity train  service from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst and it only takes one hour and thirty five minutes. Why not bring your bikes and explore the beautiful scenery by bike and we can store them for you overnight in our secure covered bike shed.

I hope you are enjoying this lovely weather and I look forward to welcoming you to the peace and quiet of the Cloud Hotel.

Avril


Saturday, 28 March 2015

Easter

The clocks go forward tonight which means summer is on the way! However the weather has been lovely recently and my customers have been able to get out and about walking in the New Forest, cycling and enjoying the sea breezes at the nearby coastal resorts. The daffodils are in full bloom bringing a touch of colour to the frontage of the hotel ready for the Easter break. We only have 2 rooms available for Easter so if you are thinking of taking a break over the Easter period hurry and book before it's too late. If you are a keen cyclist bring your bikes as we are able to store them in our secure covered bike shed overnight and the New Forest is a beautiful area to cycle enjoy the scenery and see the wild life.

We are looking forward to the warmer weather so our guests can enjoy our newly landscaped garden which we have opened out and will be more spacious.

Spring is one of my favourite seasons in the New Forest with the appearance of the foals, the fresh green leaves on the trees and the longer evenings. Take advantage of our mid-week breaks and let us spoil you. I hope to welcome you to this haven of tranquillity where you can relax in a child free environment.

Avril

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Spring is in the Air

Now Valentine's Day is over the next big event in the diary is Mothering Sunday on March 15th. Although many people think Mothering Sunday has become very commercialised it does give you the opportunity to give Mum a day off and show her how much she is appreciated. Treat her to a weekend away where she can just relax, unwind and put her feet up! Take advantage of our winter weekends, stay 2 nights and get 3rd night FREE from only £186-00 per person dinner bed and breakfast in one of our standard rooms. If you are not able to bring her away spoil her with Sunday lunch or one of our delicious afternoon teas.

Spring is in the air, we have daffodils out at the Cloud Hotel, the weather is getting warmer and the evenings are getting longer all good signs that we are leaving winter behind!

We now have a new suite in the bar lounge where you can unwind and relax in these lovely comfy chairs in front of the log fire. Customers have been so delighted with them and commented on how comfortable they are.

Our set afternoon teas have become very popular with sandwiches, homemade cakes and scones with clotted cream and delicious locally made strawberry jam from Naked Jam. This is a lovely way to get together with family and friends to celebrate a birthday, wedding anniversary or a special event. Booking in advance is essential. Alternatively if you just want to enjoy a clotted cream tea or tea and cakes no booking is required.

Speaking of birthdays and wedding anniversaries we do have a private function room that has access to our secluded garden and can cater for up to 32 people for a sit down lunch or dinner and approx 20 people for a buffet. This is also available for funeral receptions.

Finally I am aware that some people are not happy that I do not take young children in the Hotel or Restaurant. I took this decision a few years ago when I realised that the Cloud Hotel did not have the facilities for today's younger generation and that they were disturbing my regular customers. I decided that I  would leave the young children to go to hotels and restaurants that cater for them leaving my customers to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Cloud Hotel.

I look forward to welcoming you sometime in the near future.

Avril






Monday, 2 February 2015

Love is in the Air

This year Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday giving you the chance to treat that special person in your life to a romantic weekend away. You can stay 2 nights and get the 3rd night FREE from £196-00 per person dinner bed and breakfast including the 4 course candlelit dinner in the Encore Restaurant
The Valentine's dinner menu and the lunch menu for the young at heart can be found on our website. We can offer you total relaxation in a child free environment and a warm and friendly atmosphere. If you feel like being energetic explore the beautiful New Forest by bike, we have a secure covered bike shed where you can store your bikes.

There are signs that Spring is just around the corner in spite of the cold weather. We have had some beautiful sunny days here in the New Forest, the daffodil buds are beginning to appear and the snowdrops are in flower. All good signs that the warmer weather will soon be here.

The Cloud Hotel has a very attractive function room with direct access into the garden. It is ideal for family celebrations, wedding anniversaries, private dinner parties and funeral receptions. We can cater for up to 32 guests and my dedicated staff will assist you to plan your event and tailor the menu to your requirements be it a cream tea, afternoon set tea, lunch, dinner or a buffet reception.

On February 14th I have been asked to judge the Great Brock Bake Off with Tim Daykin of Radio Solent fame. I was one of the judges last year and was amazed at the high standard of cakes that were entered by the local residents. I am delighted to have been invited again and look forward to this year's challenge with the theme 'Love is in the Air'.

Luckily at the time of writing we have not had any snow in Brockenhurst however if you are in an area where there is snow please take care.

Avril





Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Open for Busines

The Cloud Hotel re-opened for business in time for Sunday lunch on January 11th after two weeks of decorating some of the bedrooms, cleaning the carpets and general maintenance. It's always a rush to get all the work done in such a short space of time but somehow we made it!

The staff have returned relaxed and refreshed after a two week break ready for another busy year. Valentine's day is only a month away and it's the ideal time to treat that special person in your life to a romantic weekend to unwind and relax in the beautiful surroundings of the New Forest and enjoy a candlelit dinner in our Encore Restaurant.

Easter is early this year and we are already taking bookings so if you want to come away to relax and enjoy a child free environment remember we only accommodate children over 14 years.

Short breaks are very popular and even in the winter months you can enjoy having a break from your everyday routine and take advantage of our winter breaks, stay 2, 3 or 4 nights and get one night free.
After a day either walking or cycling in the New Forest you can return to a roaring log fire in our cosy bar lounge before enjoying a delicious dinner in the Encore Restaurant.

The Cloud Hotel afternoon teas continue to be very popular and if you want to celebrate a birthday, wedding anniversary or just come out with friends we look forward to welcoming you but it is essential to book in advance for our set tea.

I hope the weather will be kind to us this winter and I look forward to welcoming you to the Cloud Hotel.

Avril