Mothers-to-be: time to pamper yourself with a 'babymoon'

Facing a future of sleepless nights and the end of 'me-time', Jessica Weinstein decided to sneak in a last-minute pampering session with a babymoon in the New Forest


‘Take this opportunity to rest before the baby comes, you’ll never have another chance to just focus on yourself.” So the prevailing wisdom goes — and it’s advice that I’ve been given by family members, colleagues, even the man at the post office. So I decided to listen and booked a babymoon.

I’m far from alone: almost a third of expectant parents are considering a last trip before the baby arrives, according to a recent survey, with 37 per cent wishing they had taken one.

With pampering high on the agenda and long-haul flights off the cards, we headed to Chewton Glen in the New Forest. The country house and spa hotel, set in 130 acres of beautiful grounds, has a luxury babymoon package for parents-to-be.

A 20-minute walk through forest took us to a local beach between Highcliffe and Barton-on-Sea: breathing in the sea air and looking out to the Isle of Wight was the perfect start.

Back inside, Chewton Glen is a mix of old-school charm and modern touches. Our luxurious Marryat Suite, one of 58 rooms and suites in the Main House, has a stuffed pheasant adorning the console table, a tempting wood-burning fireplace in the living room while the cushions on our sofa — one of the plushest and plumpest I have ever had the pleasure of collapsing onto — had hunting dog decorations.

But I had somewhere else to lie down first. After a dip in the hotel’s heated indoor pool, painted and frescoed so you feel like you’re in Renaissance Italy, I had a full body pregnancy massage to look forward to. Compensation for the fact that at 31 weeks pregnant I couldn’t enjoy the hydrotherapy pool, aromatherapy saunas or crystal steam rooms.

Using a special table, I could actually lie on my front for the massage, with padded bolsters creating a hole for my bump to fit through while the rest of my body lay flat

I have to admit that I’ve been dreaming of sleeping on my front for a good few months now — rather than in a seated position or on my side as is recommended — so the thought of actually being able to do so was almost the highlight of the treatment. It did take a bit of getting used to but my worries soon melted away as masseuse Sara worked her magic on my back and shoulders.

In fact, I was so relaxed by the end, I could happily still be in that purple room, listening to wildlife sounds, breathing in the scent of neroli oil and sipping on my rehydrating tea.

Next door my husband was enjoying one of Chewton Glen’s newer treatments, the golf ball massage with warmed golf balls used on pressure points to create a deeper massage for sore, tense muscles: whether they’re the result of a few rounds of golf or the prospect of becoming a first-time dad.

Back in the room we collapsed onto that sofa to watch a film ordered directly from a tablet (well, it’s exhausting being pampered) before dinner.

Our table overlooked some of the hotel’s woodland, with plenty of vegetarian and fish options on the menu. The wine list was so long — it recently won the Condé Nast Johansens 2016 “best choice of wine by the glass” award — that a waiter offered to help my husband “find the right page” rather than spend most of the meal looking for something that might suit.

My starter was one of the biggest plates of smoked salmon I’ve seen for a long time, with a coincidental nod to its Jewish heritage — a rye bread crisp artfully balanced on top of the crème fraiche.

The piece de resistance had to be the chocolate and salted caramel fondant — the perfect end to a wonderful and indulgent day.

I still found enough time the next morning for a final babymoon treat: a pedicure. The dedicated nail room is light and airy, all white wood and Orla Kiely scatter cushions. I’m not sure the pretty pink colour I chose will last me into the delivery room, but I know that my Chewton Glen break will stand me in good stead for the next few weeks.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even find time for a post-baby visit to enjoy relaxing by that wood-burning fireplace.

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