Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

Foresters Hall

Price per night from$200.96

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP162.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Transfigured townhouse

Setting

Pearl in Cowes’ crown

Foresters Hall once played the part of a theatre, but the townhouse went through a few costume changes before it became Cowes’ first boutique hotel, including the eponymous forester's lodge and a labour exchange. And the hotel doffs its stovepipe hat to past roles with period features like chesterfield sofas, brass light-fittings and working fireplaces. The owners have a genuine flair for decor too, cleverly combining the traditional with the more contemporary: take the stripy deckchairs by the pool, or the retro wooden drinks cabinet. Perhaps our favourite feature is the blue-and-white printed wallpaper in the same room, reminiscent of foam-tipped waves breaking softly across the walls – a promise of the coastal scenery that awaits.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of Sea Change Prosecco

Facilities

Photos Foresters Hall facilities

Need to know

Rooms

14.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £195.00, including tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates don’t include breakfast, but it can be purchased at Sara's Kitchen.

Also

Ask the concierge for a map of the Boat Trail, a four-mile walk that takes you through East and West Cowes. Taking you down some of the oldest streets and passing many historical points of interest, it's an excellent way to see the whole town.

Hotel closed

The hotel is closed from 1 November until 31 March each year.

At the hotel

Heated outdoor pool, wellies and bikes to borrow, free WiFi throughout the hotel. In rooms: King-size beds, a well-stocked minibar, flatscreen TV, Robert’s radio.

Our favourite rooms

We like Room One thanks to its own working fireplace; or Room Three has an in-room roll top bath tub for romantic fire-side soaks. If it’s a room with a view you’re after, ask for one in the part of the hotel that was once a theatre, as many of these rooms look out to sea; Room Fifteen's is particularly impressive.

Poolside

Found outside on the walled terrace, the heated pool is surrounded by wicker chairs and parasol-covered tables – the perfect place for an after-dip drink.

Packing tips

Blues, whites and marine stripes – you’ll look great next to the decor.

Also

With the exception of the pool and lawns, all of the public areas are wheelchair accessible; however, the historic nature of the building means that guest rooms are not yet able to accommodate wheelchair users.

Pet‐friendly

Pets are welcome in the hotel's public areas, but aren't allowed to stay in the rooms. See more pet-friendly hotels in Isle of Wight.

Children

Children of all ages are welcome; but the hotel doesn't have any cots or rollaway beds, so older children will need to be in their own room. If you're travelling with young kids, we recommend bringing a travel cot.

Food and Drink

Photos Foresters Hall food and drink

Top Table

There are no bad tables here, but those by the windows get the most light and a garden view. On a warm day, soak up the sun while dining alfresco on the terrace.

Dress Code

Something that'll knock the wind out of your fellow Smith's sails.

Hotel restaurant

Start the day with a freshly-baked breakfast at Foresters Hall’s breakfast bar. Come evening, head to FH Tapas, ablaze with local chatter and serving up first-rate Spanish fare from local produce and seasonal ingredients. For something light, order lemon-infused roasted pistachios and an array of cured ibéricos. Or for more substantial eating sessions, take on the delicious, locally-sourced crab croquettes, paired with a G&T made with the Isle of Wight’s own Mermaids Gin. Bigger groups are welcome to use the hotel’s private dining space; just let reception know in advance and they can set it up for you.

Hotel bar

With a minimalist, marble-topped bar, and a retro wooden drinks cabinet the bar is definitely our favourite spot in Foresters Hall. There’s an award-winning wine list curated by Foresters Hall's owners as well as a discerning whisky and gin selection – this includes the Isle of Wight’s very own Mermaid’s Gin, which has proven quite the catch with locals and visitors alike.

Last orders

The breakfast bar is open from 8am until 10am; followed by all day grazing at FH Tapas.

Room service

Not available, but you’re unlikely to miss it when the sea-facing terrace is just steps away.

Location

Photos Foresters Hall location
Address
Foresters Hall
30 Sun Hill
Cowes
PO31 7TR
United Kingdom

Foresters Hall sits near the top of Sun Hill, a picturesque street in Cowes’ Conservation Area. A stone’s throw from the water’s edge, it’s enviably located by shops, restaurants and yacht clubs.

Planes

Southampton is the closest international airport, serving domestic routes and some European airports. Those flying from further afield should aim for London Heathrow; from here, it’s around 90 minutes by car to reach the ferry terminals at Southampton and Portsmouth. Flights and transfers can be arranged with the Smith24 Team (call 24 hours a day on 03331 306 820).

Trains

There are frequent trains from London Victoria and Waterloo to both Southampton and Portsmouth, which are also well-served by trains from Bristol, Oxford and Manchester.

Automobiles

There's no parking on site, but there's a public carpark around a five-minute walk from the hotel on Park Road. Or, you can use the on-road parking at Church Road and Ward Avenue. The island’s well-maintained roads and convenient car ferries have made arriving by car a popular option. If you’re looking to hire on the mainland, most of the big car rental firms are available near the ferry terminals in Portsmouth and Southampton. Cars can also be hired on the island itself, though the choice of make and model might be slightly more limited.

Other

Still the only way on and off the island, ferries are the order of the day. For those on foot, the most convenient of them is the Red Jet high-speed catamaran operated by Red Funnel, which leaves from Southampton and disembarks minutes from the hotel. Red Funnel also has a car ferry, which takes both foot and car passengers, and disembarks in East Cowes (which connects with West Cowes via a floating bridge). The hovercraft is the fastest way to get to the Isle of Wight, taking just 10 minutes to make the journey from Portsmouth (Southsea) to Ryde on the northeast of the island. Note that it only takes foot passengers.

Worth getting out of bed for

If you’re experiencing some of the island’s plentiful sunshine (it averages around 2,000 hours a year), head eastward to Sandown Beach. A wide stretch of gently sloping golden sand, Sandown is backed by cafés and restaurants and has a view of the white limestone cliffs up the coast. Another great seaside attraction is the chairlift at the Needles Landmark Attraction, around 35 minutes from the hotel by car. From your vantage point, you’ll get an excellent view of the Needles, three distinctive chalk stacks that rise tooth-like from the sea. Those hoping to sample local tipples should head to the Isle of Wight distillery, based at Rosemary’s Vineyard in Ryde. The island’s only distillery, it produces the renowned Mermaids Gin alongside more leftfield creations like Apple Pie Moonshine. West Wight Alpacas let you take the reigns as you walk these fluffy critters through their fields and the Garlic Farm in Sandown is a gloriously green family-run estate where you can learn and taste and pet dinky ponies.

Local restaurants

Just down the road from Foresters Hall is the award-winning Smoking Lobster, where Asian-inspired seafood and sushi awaits, and The Coast Bar & Dining Room, another restaurant with a classically coastal interior that specialises in sea-to-plate dining. Italianate hearts will rise at the sight of the pizzas, which are fired in a traditional brick-lined oven. Be sure to ask reception to book ahead for The Hut, the celebrated beach restaurant at Colwell Bay serving fish tacos and lobster. 

Reviews

Photos Foresters Hall reviews
Daisy Hoppen

Anonymous review

By Daisy Hoppen, Style counsel

On a small street in Cowes, surrounded by small townhouses all painted in various shades of blue, you’ll find Foresters Hall: the first truly boutique hotel to open in this Isle of Wight hotspot. The feeling of calm when you enter it is immediate.

We’d escaped London for a girls’ weekend in search of delicious food, a relaxing atmosphere, a new area to explore and some fresh South Coast air.

As we were shown to our room, staff pointed out free cookies (they disappeared quickly), a nicely stocked minibar and the fluffiest of waffle robes. So far, so ahh.

The bedroom was spacious and chic – sensitively styled to the town’s nautical roots but with a modern twist of dove greys, clean whites and contemporary furniture. It turns out the hotel’s owners run their own home and interiors shop in town, and they’ve used their decorative know-how to masterful effect.

I hopped into the bath immediately (something I’d been dreaming of for every minute of our three-hour journey) and happily pickled myself for a while. Afterwards, I wrapped myself in the thickest waffle robe and relaxed on the incredibly comfortable soft-cotton-sheeted bed.

Revived, we headed for drinks and nibbles in the hotels’ tapas bar, FH Tapas. Our waiter didn’t bat an eyelid at our opening less-than-standard drinks request (tequila and soda – apparently the cleanest and best hangover-free drink around) while we got stuck into the warmed olives.

We decided to sample the local seafood – Mrs Smith sampled the crab croquettes while I tried the crispy squid. The rest of the menu was suitably seasonal and portions generous. We eventually waddled back to our room.

We rose the next morning and decided to pick staff’s brains about what to do and where to see. Cowes itself is definitely worth a wander, we’re told. So too is Osborne House (Queen Victoria’s country palace). Breakfast first, though, and we’re offered a lovely mix of continental options as well as delicious eggs with avocado (the Millennials’ favourite). My lactose-intolerant Mrs Smith was cheered when staff easily sourced her some oat milk.

It’s around a four-mile walk there and back to Osborne house – and it's worth the uphill part. The palace has been beautifully restored; home to Queen Victoria’s personal art collection, some dazzling chandeliers and, recently, Judi Dench and co, who filmed Victoria & Abdul here (and rumoured to have stayed in Room Twelve). Visitors can wander the extensive gardens and visit the private beach which has a lovely café selling knickerbocker glories and coffee.

After our day of walking, the re-stocked ‘treat’ tin full of cookies was very welcome on our return to Foresters Hall. That evening we decided to sample the hotel’s nearby restaurant, the Coast. The menu is more European influenced – with lovely pies and a good selection of wines (courtesy of London-based merchants Corney & Barrow). The desserts in particular were highlights: sticky toffee pudding with honeycomb ice-cream was most definitely worth the calorie count.

On our last day, we took a tour of the hotel’s outdoor area – where there’s a heated alfresco pool. In stylish greys and with lots of wicker chairs and daybeds, it would be the perfect place to relax on a hot English summer’s day. There’s also a well-styled patio drinking area with mismatched vintage chairs and tables and a fire pit for when the temperature drops. Staff even have a well-stocked basket of locally made wool blankets for further warmth.

Inside, the hotel bar compromises of two rooms: the first with a log fire and beautiful china-blue wallpaper; the second a library-style hideaway painted vivid egg-yolk yellow – the perfect place to play board games, read a newspaper or just hide away from the world for the weekend.

We’d ticked all of our restful-girls-weekend boxes and it was, sadly, time to return to London. Victoria might not be around to enjoy this area any more, but given how attentive, helpful and charming our hosts were, we certainly felt like queens at Foresters Hall.

Price per night from $200.96

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