Welcome to Cape Cod. The painted clapboard, side-gabled pitched roof, dormer windows, decked veranda and sash windows all tell you you’re just a stroll from the beach in a lovely corner of south-eastern Massachusetts. Only the postcode reminds you that this is England, tickling the fringes of the South Downs National Park.
Tickle away. Or be tickled by the sheer wonderful wowness on offer at Meon Valley House, sleeping 17 plus dog. It all begins while still in the car. Anything with a long, tree-lined driveway had better be good. And boy, is this good. It’s sauna and swimming-pool good, five acres of garden-good, football pitch-good and games room-good.
Inside, vaulted ceilings, crisp, contemporary décor and pastel pigments are the hallmarks. Summon up some Sky Sports or a box set on the 90-inch TV, escape with a book to the snug, raid the honesty bar in the family room, kick the kids out to the play area, catch up with business in the study. Try to accept departure with good grace.
From the tree-lined driveway to the heated pool, Meon Valley House pinches five acres of the South Downs National Park, and makes the best possible use of them.
Sit out with a gin fizz and follow the path of the sun on the wraparound veranda with its valley views. Dine out on the deck. Catch some sun on the terrace. Let the kids loose on the adventure playground. Let inner kids lose themselves on the family-sized footie pitch.
Splash around in the 10m x 5m heated indoor pool, open up the bi-fold doors and soak up the sun and the valley views on the terrace, then sweat it out in the sauna. What’s left? Maybe some croquet or cricket before tea, then an evening on the terrace watching stars drift and constellations shift across the dark sky.
Get cosy on the L-shaped sofa, grab a beer or a Beaujolais from the honesty bar or fridge, open up the French windows to the veranda. Get some Sky Sports, BT Sports or Netflix on the 90-inch TV. Pick a fight on the PlayStation. This is what family and friends time in the sitting room looks like.
There’s more screen time in the snug, or just time for burying your head in a book while staring out at the scenery. And for anyone whose tastes are more movies than Manchester United, the large, light drawing room offers alternative viewing warmed by a woodburner and set against a gallery landing.
These are stunning spaces – interiors that mirror the New England look of the exterior, with easy pastels creating a calm serenity for reunions, celebrations, gatherings and good times. As a bonus, Spy Sports, Sky Movies, Apple TV, Now TV, Netflix, Sky Plus, BT Sports and superfast unlimited broadband are all invited to the party.
Put the broadband to work catching up on business email in the quiet, two-desk study. Then shake off the office shackles and get down to the games room for a little eight-ball pool or table tennis. Meon Valley’s spaces slip seamlessly into the outdoors, with its sun-chasing wraparound veranda and its views of the Downs.
All kitchens should be like this – a contemporary classic with an island the size of Madagascar, two ovens, an induction hob, Quooker boiling water tap for instant cuppas, and adjoining dining room for sociable serendipity. Your cooking comes with a supporting cast of two freezers, steam oven, microwave and two dishwashers.
The three-metre island, extending into the dining room, is perfect for grabbing breakfast in shifts or just chatting while others chop. And everyone can get together to butter the bread and uncork the wine around the 12-seater dining table. Or open the doors and slide out to the deck for al-fresco steaks and salad in the south-coast sunshine.
Turn special into spectacular with an in-house chef. Choose from locally sourced dishes or put in a request. Let us set the table, cook the food and deal with the dishwasher. Pick from a one-off celebration, an occasional treat or a fully catered break. Need a waiter? A butler? Put your feet up and leave it with us.
Popping out to the pub? Dog-friendly The Bold Forrester is just a two-minute pop, with beer garden, play area, Thai veg curry and baked hake. Lengthen your stride for duo of lamb or pork belly at The Roebuck Inn in Wickham. Or designate a driver and head for The Baker’s Arms in Droxford, for local trout and crispy crab wontons.
There’s a happy Hollywood glam to these bedrooms, with Sky and Sky Sports up on the walls, vaulted ceilings, statement windows and clean, modern furniture.
The master bedroom offers a super kingsize bed and TV with French doors opening theatrically onto a private balcony. An en-suite bathroom comes with walk-in shower and double vanity sink. Bedroom 2 sits primed for kiddie chaos, with a double bunk plus two single beds and TV. Bedroom three is a twin with TV.
Pause here for a me-moment on the landing’s double sofa and balcony that overlooks the drawing room. Then it’s on to bedroom four, offering a zip and link, which can be made up as a superking or twins, plus a single bed with TV. An en-suite bathroom provides a walk-in shower.
There’s a super kingsize in en-suite bedroom five, TV, and an L-shaped sofa bed suitable for kids. And bedroom six comes with kingsize bed, TV and en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower. Double-aspect windows capture the best of the countryside.
On-site exhaustion is perfectly possible, as kids grapple with the stuff that’ll make a million memories. At the end of the day, they’ll be snoozing in seconds, provided you can hide the bedroom Sky remote, leaving the grown-ups with the onerous task of passing the snacks and pouring the wine.
It all begins and ends in the indoor pool, ten metres by five of pure fun and heated to 29 degrees. Pack your inflatables, bring a ball… have a ball. When you’re done, you can open up the bi-fold doors to the terrace and towel off in the sunshine. Next up? Swing and slide in the adventure playground or kick a footie round the family-sized pitch.
Indoors, family and friends are joined by some other top guests, including Sky Sports, Sky Movies, Apple TV, Now TV, Netflix, Sky Plus, BT Sports and superfast unlimited broadband. This is techo teenage heaven. You can even compete for family bragging rights on the sitting room PlayStation.
The bookish can slip out to the snug, and the games room sits ready for a little eight-ball pool or table tennis. At night, energy permitting, light the drawing-room fire and wrap up the day playing cards and charades. You’ll have to carry them up to bed.