The moment my body melted into the lounger in the low-lit relaxation room, with its barely-there background music and intoxicating scent of essential oils floating on the air, I felt completely chilled out.

This was my second day at The Solent Hotel, and I fully intended it to be full of downtime and indulgence. And so far, things were entirely going to plan.

I had a foot and leg massage booked, along with a two-course spa lunch, and as I waited to be called into the treatment room, I snuggled into the fluffy robe and towelling slippers the staff had provided, and closed my eyes, reflecting on how good it felt to be doing something just for me, away from the demands of work and family.

Great British Life: The outdoor hot tub is perfect for couples enjoying a romantic escapeThe outdoor hot tub is perfect for couples enjoying a romantic escape (Image: Solent Hotel and Spa)

Not that I’d had to go far to feel so good. The Solent Hotel and Spa is nested in woodland just a few minutes’ drive from the M27 between Southampton and Portsmouth, and could not be easier to reach, or better located, for an escape from London, which is exactly what I had done.

Surrounded by places to visit, it’s the perfect base from which to explore Hampshire, but for me, there were only two things I wanted to do: rest, and hit the designer outlet stores at Gunwharf Quays, just fifteen minutes away.

I checked in to The Lodge at Solent, the budget hotel in the grounds, on a Sunday afternoon after visiting the outlet centre. Though basic, the room totally met my needs, with plenty of touches I appreciated: charging ports for my phone on both sides of the bed, an iron and ironing board, and a coffee machine with a generous amount of pods, but best of all, a balcony with bistro table and chairs.

Great British Life: Enjoy head to toe pampering in the salon areaEnjoy head to toe pampering in the salon area (Image: Solent Hotel and Spa)

The dining facility at the Lodge is in the Parson’s Collar Pub and Kitchen, which appears as popular with locals as with guests, bustling and lively on the Sunday evening. Despite that, the waiting staff were speedy and efficient, and the menu excellent, catering wonderfully for my fussy vegetarian diet.

As I worked my way through three courses, I was approached by another diner who was staying for a conference and wondered if I was too. We had a brief but enjoyable conversation about the merits of pub grub, and the attentiveness of the staff, and it struck me how the laid-back, friendly atmosphere had allowed for this exchange – it certainly would never have happened in my local pubs at home.

Full of nachos, a vegan burger and the most incredible chocolate brownie, I returned to my room to enjoy a glass of wine on the balcony. It was a balmy evening, and watching the world go by and the sun go down was the perfect end to my first day.

Great British Life: Another relaxation area provides the chance for a snoozeAnother relaxation area provides the chance for a snooze (Image: Solent Hotel and Spa)

The following morning, I moved across to the 4-star Solent Spa Hotel – literally a minute’s walk from my room at the Lodge, but a different world in terms of what was on offer.

Prior to checking in, I was heading for some me time in the spa and fitness suite, where the most dedicated gym bunny would be impressed with the equipment, while those just there for the R&R – me – would be equally as pleased with the pool, hot tub and sauna.

My main reason for visiting the spa was for a massage, specifically, a foot and leg treatment to ease away the aches and pains of my previous day’s 15,000 steps around Gunwharf, and to prepare me for another walk later in the day.

In the beautifully scented therapy room, the therapist, Hazel, talked me through the treatment and left me to change, dimming the lights as she left. As I de-robed and made myself comfortable under a heated blanket on the massage table, I wondered just how much more relaxed I could get; both the spa facilities and my snooze in the relaxation room had already left me feeling totally zoned out.

Twenty-five minutes later, I realised I could indeed reach a whole new level of chilled, as my exfoliated, deeply moisturised and massaged legs and feet floated me off to the onsite FYR restaurant for a delicious two-course meal, and then to reception to check into my room.

Great British Life: One of the premier suites at The Solent Hotel One of the premier suites at The Solent Hotel (Image: Solent Hotel and Spa)

I was staying in a premier suite, tucked away on the top floor of the three-storey building, and comprising a sleeping area, wet room, sitting room and kitchenette, plus a separate bathroom with tub.

Two televisions, The White Company toiletries, robes and slippers, and little extras such as a mini box of truffles, a fruit bowl, and vast selection of teas and coffees to choose from made it the perfect space in which to unwind.

But as much as I would have liked to have stayed in my gorgeous suite doing not very much at all, I did want to go for a walk around the local area, and get some fresh air. There are woodland paths and trails surrounding the hotel, and while it is very well-connected transport link-wise, you very quickly feel you are away from it all.

Great British Life: FYR is the new dining concept at The Solent HotelFYR is the new dining concept at The Solent Hotel (Image: Solent Hotel and Spa)

At dinner that evening – another three-course affair, this time in the high-end surroundings of the FYR restaurant, I had a text from a family member telling me that as a history buff, I must visit the 13th century Titchfield Abbey just 10 minutes from the hotel.

I explained I was on my last night and would be checking out the following morning.

‘Then you’ll just have to book another stay,’ came the reply.

‘Yes,’ I texted back, between mouthfuls of delicious roasted root vegetables and halloumi, ‘I most definitely will.’