Deep in the heart of the New Forest National Park sits Lime Wood – a luxury country house hotel that combines old school country house charm with decidedly contemporary comfort.
Perched ceremoniously at the end of a long, sweeping driveway, the handsome, honey-stone Georgian house is surrounded by acres of unspoilt forest gardens and beautiful manicured grounds, complete with copper swings hanging from century old oak trees.
Formerly a 13th-century hunting lodge, today Lime Wood is one of the UK’s chicest boutique country house hotels with landscaped gardens, a super spa, 29 beautifully designed rooms and suites, and a world famous restaurant, HH&Co.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by roaring fires and plump couches, and an eclectic mix of antique and bespoke furniture and hand-picked artwork and objects d’art.
The hotel has taken great care not to lose the building’s original charm, and has instead evolved over the years to develop a unique character, combining luxury, glamour and English heritage with eccentric twists to create a laid-back but luxurious atmosphere.
When we opened the door to our room, we were greeted by the jazz-sounds of Jamie Cullum humming from the iPod (which comes as standard with every room), as well as a bottle of champagne and a charming welcome note.
The room felt opulent and luxurious and was the definition of indulgence; with a cosy seating area with deep sink-into armchairs and a crazy comfortable four-poster bed with more pillows and cushions than I knew what to do with!
The marble ensuite bathroom was complete with a large marbled bath, an enormous walk-in rainshower, fluffy white dressing gowns and Bamford products.
Ready to explore the grounds, we discovered their welly room where we exchanged our shoes for a pair of Hunters, and ventured outside into the gorgeous gardens and woods nearby.
We discovered a huge rope-swing as well as hanging copper designer seats, padded with sheepskins.
After a refreshing walk, there is no better place to return to than Lime Wood and its roaring fires – and of course their spa!
At Lime Wood’s Herb House spa, you can do yoga on the rooftop herb garden, take in the forest views from the massive sauna and eat inspired raw food in the Raw & Cured café.
The spa has a heated outdoor Jacuzzi, heated indoor swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, and large sauna with forest views, and in the changing rooms you’ll find standalone tubs, enormous walk-in showers and plenty of luxury beauty products.
The spa has a state-of-the-art gym and offers a range of exercise, pilates and yoga classes, and their healthy focused Raw & Cured café serves up salads, freshly cured meat and fish from the hotel’s Smoke House as well as fresh juices and smoothies.
Feeling super relaxed and refreshed, we got changed for dinner and headed to the HH&Co restaurant. The “HH” are celebrity chef Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder who work together to create locally sourced seasonal English dishes with a focus on sharing and provenance.
HH&Co is a laid back, stylish and comfortable upscale restaurant – full of character, yet unpretentious, with bare wooden tables, homespun crockery and informal dishes and prices that are nicely grounded.
We started with a delicious sharing platter of smoked salmon (smoked in their own on-site smoke house), meats, pickles and dips. The main courses were generous and hearty and celebrated locally sourced produce and game. We washed it down with an excellent bottle of Pinot Noir and could have happily stayed there all night!
HH&Co also have a cookery school, ‘Backstage’, which teaches small groups of up to 10 students how to master various skills, be it preparing game or making pasta.
When we returned to our room, the curtains had been drawn and a bottle of lavender oil had been left on our pillow. We decided to round our evening off with a glass of champagne in the oversized marble bathtub, before crawling into the mountainous four-poster bed for an amazing night’s sleep.
For a chic, glamorous yet utterly relaxing weekend country break from London, Lime Wood Hotel really hits the spot.