History of Careys Manor
Established by ‘William The Conqueror’ as a royal hunting ground in 1079, his ‘Nova Foresta’ was one of the most frequented and enjoyed by The King and his entourage. They would hunt from one hunting lodge to the next. Servants would clear up after breakfast and race through the Forest to the Lodge to prepare and light fires, ready for the hunters arrival later in the day.
Most large lodges such as the old manor, now known as Careys Manor, would have a retainer who managed the property on a permanent basis. Charles II gave the old manor, to John Carey for services rendered during the period 1660-1685.
The Bowden-Smith family took over the ownership of the house in 1790 when Robert Smith, a wine merchant, married Miss Bowden from Cornwall.
The original house was built about 100 yards into Brockenhurst College grounds but was demolished. The present house was built in 1888 and stood in approximately 14 acres of grounds with its own tennis court and the village cricket pitch. Herman Bowden-Smith built a row of houses within the village that is now known as ‘Careys Cottages’. These were given to the village so they could be rented to the poor, with priority given to the retired estate staff.
Herman Bowden-Smith was the last member of his family to own the house, which he sold in 1934 before he went to live in Switzerland. A Dutchman called Mr Builderbeck bought the house and turned it into a Hotel with most of the land sold off separately to the local council.
During the Second World War, the Hotel was used to accommodate the 2nd Batallion Welsh Guards. The terrain and natural landscape of the Forest provided the perfect training ground in the lead up to the D-Day landings. The Canadians came to the village in 1943 and an HQ contingent occupied Careys Manor. The children’s Christmas party which they hosted in December 1943 is still remembered with fondness by some today who tasted ice cream and peanut butter for the first time.
Mr John Ferris bought the Hotel in 1957 and added the garden wings in 1966 and 1967.
The present owners bought the hotel in 1975 and added the Carat Club in 1984, the East Garden Wing in 1987 and the Manor Suite in 1988. The Health Club then underwent extensive refurbishment which became SenSpa in 2004. In May 2009, the hotel bedrooms and suites underwent significant refurbishment. Offering a mix of both traditional and modern oriental features, the bedrooms were designed with luxury and comfort in mind. This included 36 Garden Rooms and all Manor Rooms with the garden rooms becoming our well-appointed Oakwood Rooms.
In 2004, The Health Club underwent a £6 million overhaul and was transformed into a 24,000 sq feet state-of-the-art Thai spa, SenSpa. Extensive research was undertaken, visiting spas across Europe and Asia to bring together the best of eastern and western wellness philosophies.