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Originally a medieval hunting lodge way back in the 13th century, this New Forest manor was reclaimed for royalty by the Duke of Clarence in the 1740s. Since then, Lime Wood hotel has had quite the make over, keeping much of it’s old school charm but brought bang up to date with its myriad facilities, primly landscaped grounds, well designed rooms and two high quality restaurants.
Set in 150 square miles of ancient heath and woodland where ponies, donkeys, pigs, cattle and deer still freely roam the New Forest, you really get the sense that the New Forest has gained glamour and style from Lime Wood, while Lime Wood has gained naturalness from the Forest. They compliment each other extremely well.
A forest escape with a touch of the city
Lime Wood strikes a lovely blend of countryside escapism with a tinge of the trendy comforts of the city. The style and character of the entire place seems incredibly well thought out, with attention to detail prevailing above all else. From the thick oak doors to the soft automatic floor lighting when you walk into the bathroom to the effortlessly styilised rooms of the main house that melt into one and other while still retaining their own unique vibe. There’s even a glass retractable roof above the inside courtyard that can be open and closed at the touch of a button.
The modernity is there, but it’s as it should be, subtle, tasteful and in keeping with the regal vibe that Lime Wood exudes. We were alerted to this from the moment we were given a tour of the grounds, it seemed very ‘cool’ for a spa.
Having been suitably wowed by the walk around we were surprised even more by our room; a two-floored pavilion suite complete with Juliette balcony, working fireplace, two TV’S and a quite stunning bathroom. There was even a fully stocked iPod / dock with a number of well-chosen playlists for all tastes. It’s exactly what you want from a forest hideaway. Once we’d forced ourselves to leave the comforts of our room we had something even more special to come in the form of Lime Wood’s signature treatment.
One treatment to rule them all
There are spa treatments and then there are special spa treatments, but what we were given on our visit to Lime Wood was on a completely different level. It can best be described as 3 hours of utter indulgence that you never, ever, want to end. They call it the ‘Essential Harmony’, a couple’s treatment that you do with your better half, and it’s a treat that’d get you in the good books for years to come. 180 minutes comprising of private time in the mud house, followed by a 90-minute full body massage and your own time spent together in a stunning private bathtub and steam room boasting panoramic views of the forest. It’s not only a treat for her, this is something that you can and will enjoy together.
Managing to drag ourselves out of the treatment area feeling suitably relaxed, we were then treated to a 3-course meal at Lime Wood’s newly redesigned restaurant Hartnett Holder & Co, a typically chilled out, inviting space that oozes quality. The brainchild of celebrity chef Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood head chef Luke Holder, the Italian inspired dishes are as informal, yet polished as their surroundings. Fine dining is not the order of the day here; it’s far more about sharing plates and getting a sense of real home cooking. Everything we tried was super healthy, cooked to perfection and packed with flavour, yet another experience at Lime Wood that we didn’t want to end. The following day we took one of the Lime Wood forest walks, had some time in the impressively high-tech gym and chilled out in the hydrotherapy pool. It just doesn’t really get more relaxing.
I’ll let my other half weigh in to give the verdict: “ I didn’t want to leave! Ever! Lime Wood is a real forward thinking place, blending traditional aspects of spas with contemporary ideals that make it the perfect place for city dwellers to escape to. Whether you want to treat yourself to one of the amazing treatments, or go for a walk in the surrounding forest or chill out in one of the many well-designed rooms of the main house it is the perfect place for a weekend treat. I’d go once a month if I could.” Who wouldn’t?
To make a booking visit Limewoodhotel.co.uk
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