In Client Events, DeSouza Associates

We had a belated celebration of our Silver Business Anniversary recently at Oakley Hall Hotel and Bombay Sapphire and a very big thank you goes to Zarina Mahmood from Hotel Republic who helped us to arrange this!

We invited some of our clients and the group met at Oakley Hall for refreshments, snacks and of course cake (one can’t have a birthday celebration without cake!) on a Friday, mid-afternoon.


Oakley Hall Hotel is a deluxe Country House Hotel in Hampshire, 5 miles from the M3 motorway. It dates back to the 18th century and has links to the famous novelist Jane Austen. Over the years, the Georgian manor house was used as a boarding school and a conference venue however, in 2014, a major £4 million restoration project saw Oakley Hall restored to a magnificent country house hotel.

It has 48 bedrooms, a two AA Rosette restaurant and 315 landscaped acres of beautiful grounds. The bedrooms have estate views and feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, plus soaking tubs and designer toiletries. Suites have separate living rooms; some have fireplaces and/or 4-poster beds.

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In terms of meeting and event space, in 2018, Oakley Hall built the Garden Pavilion which is a lovely large space which can take up to for 400 delegates theatre style (350 dining or 200 classroom) and has its own high-tech lighting and PA system. There are a number of other function rooms which can cater for between 16-44 boardroom.

We had our dinner in The Library, which is a stunning room featuring a beautiful Georgian fireplace. It has plenty of natural daylight and is fully air conditioned. It can fit 25 delegates boardroom-style, 28 classroom-style and up to 40 for dinner. Some of the smaller rooms have excellent modern tech facilities, such as large plasma screens with built-in cameras for on-line meetings.

The extensive grounds lend themselves to outdoor activities including corporate hospitality days and team building events. Archery and clay pigeon shooting are available on-site and a number of other activities, from human duck herding and motorised sports, to giant inflatable assault courses, can also be delivered within the grounds, via our suppliers.


Once everyone had arrived and was suitably refreshed, we headed off to Bombay Sapphire Distillery nearby, located in Whitchurch, approx. 20 minutes by coach.

On arrival at the Distillery our group had a private guided discovery tour. This kicked off in the Turbine Bar, where our guests were able to choose a Bombay gin to make their own complimentary G&T using self-service gin machines, before settling in the private screening room to watch a short video giving the history of the site.


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We were able to see the ten exotic botanicals at work in the Glasshouses and Botanical Dry Room and hear all about the rare Vapour Infusion process, used to make Bombay Sapphire gin.

At the end of the guided tour we experienced a Gin Cocktail Masterclass.

This was an interactive session on cocktail culture where we learned the tricks of the bar enabling us to create own cocktails easily at home – cheers to our 25 years everyone! We were hosted by a fab Gin Expert and created 3 Bombay Sapphire cocktails: a *Tom Collins, Negroni and a Clover Club Cocktail, the latter using the Bombay Bramble gin.

The experience culminates in the Shop where we were able to purchase the gins we had sampled, as well as buying Bombay Sapphire and gin-related merchandise.

On our return to Oakley Hall, we toasted the evening with another gin cocktail (of course!)  and then sat down to a lovely 3-course dinner in the Library.

Our guests enjoyed a nice full English breakfast in the Glasshouse fine-dining restaurant before departing on the Saturday morning. This restaurant was refurbished in 2020, so it’s looks jolly nice!


*The history of the Tom Collins:

According to some sources, the Tom Collins originated from a joke told in New York in 1874. A group of friends began telling people in bars that a man named Tom Collins was walking around the city, telling falsehoods about them. So it was, that many began going from one bar to another, in search of the slanderer!

All in all, Oakley Hall and Bombay Sapphire Distillery combine very well indeed for the smaller, more exclusive, possibly high-end events, particularly if you’re looking for something fun and interesting.

Bombay Sapphire also host Christmas Cocktail Masterclasses and other Christmas events in addition to their year around events.. If you are looking to book an activity at a venue then we think Bombay Sapphire would be a fantastic option – give us a call!

Thank you!

Thank you to Hotel Republic, Oakley Hall Hotel and Bombay Sapphire Distillery for helping us celebrate this event with our clients.

Most of all we would like to thank our wonderful clients past and present who have supported us over the past 27 years and continue to do so today. THANK YOU!

Let us help you by doing what we know and love best – booking events!

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