“Weekend getaway: Bel & the Dragon, Odiham”- Ideal Magazine

Looking for a place where you and the other half can call time on the stressful city life for a short while? If so, Bel & The Dragon is just the tonic you need

With seven hotels across the South East, Bel & The Dragon has become a firm favourite for those opting for an idyllic getaway. The Grade II listed Odiham venue is a traditional retreat which combines stylish décor with a cosy, inviting atmosphere – the best recipe for a romantic rendezvous. By keeping the inn simplistic and traditional, this is a great place for you to focus on enjoying each other – rather than the pesky distractions you will find in the City!

Idea

Bel & The Dragon aims for guests to experience a relaxing getaway in cosy and classic surroundings. All of which is achieved and complimented by amazing cuisine, fine wine and great service from the attentive staff.

Location

Located deep in the aptly named district of Hart (Hampshire), Odiham is a quaint village that shows off the best of the British countryside. The picturesque, pastoral setting, engulfed in natural beauty, means that there is enough scenery to keep you entertained – whilst being entertained by each other.

It’s the little things that count

If you have an eye for detail and want more than the churned out offerings from a hotel chain, Bel & The Dragon is a great choice. Each room stocks a bottle of either Sloe Gin or vodka for you to enjoy at your leisure (and own measure!), has its own cosy blanket laid out for you to snuggle up into and features sporadically placed piles of novels around the room.

Style

Bel & The Dragon retains most of its originally features from as far back as 1540 and encompasses classic chic décor with a traditional English pub demeanour. Its distinctive cosy and classic look was created by designer Nicola Harding and incorporates thick crisp linens, soothing earthy and natural shades, tartan rugs, comfortable armchairs and an open 17th Century fire.

Atmosphere

The warm and welcoming inn has everything that you want from a romantic weekend away. A popular haunt with the locals, and obviously a favourite for those from afar, Bel & The Dragon is always bustling. Its staff, homely feel and successful execution of mood lighting make your stay with someone special just that.

Rooms

Each room is bespoke in its name (none of this room number lark). The original beams accompanied with high ceilings and mismatch furniture add to the whole experience. The piece de resistance is the bed. The king-sized creation with its crisp white linen has a visual appeal that you both won’t be able to resist. Each room has an en-suite bathroom complete with power shower and crystal clean bathtub.

Food and Drink

Both the restaurant and the bar area are accessible to the public, but you need to book the restaurant in advance. Bel & The Dragon is well known for its fine selection of wines served from a magnum in the restaurant.

Group Head Chef Ronnie Kimbugwe, who spent 7 years with Gordon Ramsay, has created a menu that focuses on British food. The menu has a mix of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes with whitebait, flat iron steak, ludicrously naughty macaroni cheese and thyme and duck fat roast potatoes to name but a few dishes. Not to mention an outstanding dessert menu – gooey chocolate fondant and salted caramel ice cream, anyone?

If you also can’t cut of wholly from the city life, a cocktail menu is on hand. We can personally recommend the Elderbubble cocktail – a mix of Elderflower cordial, champagne, lemon juice and a splash of vodka.

Why visit

If you want to take some time out from that hectic lifestyle then this place is perfect for the weekend. You can spend hours enjoying each other’s company in the romantic lounge areas and, of course, the bedroom! Odiham itself has an array of independent shops, coffee houses and the hotel itself is a ten minute walk down to the beautiful canal and the Galleon Marine boatyard.

The independently run yard gives you the chance  to hire out a rowing boat and embrace your inner Rachel McAdams (pray for the rain and that your partner looks like Ryan Gosling)  and enjoy the calming waters. If you wanted to splurge and take a less strenuous trip, you can hire out a narrow boat and cruise along over 35 miles of the River Thames – with a glass of fizz in tow.

In the summer, the nearby beer gardens and country paths are filled with people and remind you why it’s oh-so-amazing to embrace the British countryside. You can see more about the Galleon here: galleonmarine.co.uk

Nitty Gritty

Bel & The Dragon” is open to diners, drinkers and potential stopovers.

Room prices start from: £115 per night

Website: www.belandthedragon-odiham.co.uk

Email: [email protected]

Contact Tel: 01256 702696

Free WiFi available

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