AN ICONIC Hampshire hotel is under investigation by a public health watchdog.

A report from environmental health chiefs, who carried out an inspection at the Botleigh Grange Hotel and Spa gave it a food hygiene rating of 1 out of 5.

It found that systems to ensure that food is safe to eat and that staff know about food safety needed major improvements.

Inspectors found that the hygienic handling of food including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage at the hotel needed improvement.

Despite previously holding a five-star or “excellent” hygiene rating, the cleanliness of the premises on Grange Road in Hedge End also needed improvement.

Inspectors from the environmental health partnership of Eastleigh Borough Council undertook the visit on November 15.

According to the council full details of the inspection cannot be revealed as the hotel is still under investigation.

However, the authority is making regular visits to Botleigh Grange and reportedly providing support and advice.

Set within manicured lawns the hotel is a popular venue for school proms with hundreds of Hampshire youngsters visiting each summer.

According to its website the hotel, in Grange Road, Hedge End, was originally built as a private country house during the 17th century.

Oliver Cromwell is even believed to have stayed there.

It has fifty-five bedrooms, five function rooms, a restaurant and bar.

It also has “picturesque” gardens and terraces with landscaping which sweeps down to two lakes, and a small woodland area.

The hotel has a three out of five-star rating on review site TripAdvisor.

The Daily Echo has contacted Botleigh Grange and is awaiting comment.

The hotel website states: “Ideally situated in the heart of Hampshire, this beautiful 17th century country house hotel with expansive stunning lakeside gardens will offer you the warmest of welcomes.”