Absolutely unwinds at the idyllic Lime Wood Hotel in Hampshire
Words Hannah Hopkins
Lime Wood is a seriously grown up hotel, encompassing everything you could possibly want from a weekend break. Based right in the New Forest National Park, it’s surrounded by acres of beautiful forest, has one of the best spas in the area and even boasts an Angela Hartnett restaurant, designed by Martin Brudnizki. Ideal for girl’s weekends, romantic getaways, a pampering break with Mum and many, many more occasions, the rest of the hotel’s not bad either. Set in a lovingly-restored classical structure it keeps the spirit of its past but has a contemporary twist, with punchy colours, hand-picked artwork and objets d’art throughout thanks to designer Ben Pentreath.
Rooms range vastly from quirky attics tucked up in the Eaves of the main house, with beautiful views looking out over the grounds and forest, through to full-on suites, lodges or cabins – some based in the forest and some nearer the main building. For honeymoon‑perfect privacy, go for Pavilion 1 – it’s separate from the main house and has a dramatic black vaulted ceiling, four‑poster bed and a roll‑top bath in an alcove overlooking the green pastures outside. The bedrooms in the main house are also high on romance, thanks mainly to the elegant Italian marble bathrooms in soft grey and white – Rooms 1 and 2 have bath tubs beneath wide sash windows, and Room 11 has double sinks and an enormous bathroom.
Dinner at Harnett Holder & Co is a must. A joint venture from Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder, its USP is Italian dishes with a respectful nod to the seasons. Kick things off with a cocktail and some arancini, followed by hare lasagne, hake with Salcombe crab and zabaglione for pudding. Post-dinner retire to the Courtyard Bar for a freshly shaken cocktail or to the Library for a nightcap by a roaring fire. Breakfast is served in the Scullery with cooked dishes available as well as a breakfast buffet of champions including porridge, granola, ham, cheese, a variety of fresh fruit and pastries.
Herb House; the three-storey hotel spa, is a modern utopia. Dedicated to natural wellbeing, it has raised the bar for destination spas around the world and is pretty hard to beat. Inspired by its forest surroundings, there are ten treatment rooms as well as hot pools, thermal rooms, the Hands and Feet Room for manicures and pedicures, and private soak baths in changing rooms that feel like decadent bedroom suites fit for royalty. There’s a state-of-the-art roof top gym with forest views, a 16-metre Ozone treated indoor lap pool with retracting glass doors to the garden and a workout studio offering classes from Body Pump to Zumba; Aerial Yoga to Tai Chi. Don’t miss a post-workout/treatment smoothie and sushi-style nori roll at Raw & Cured.