Lime Wood

Hampshire, South East England, United Kingdom Book from Book from £295 per night

MOST UNIQUE SPA TREAT MOST UNIQUE SPA TREAT
Country house hotel: pure luxury, exceptional spa, friendly service and world-class food
Heading up the long drive, Lime Wood cuts an imposing sight. In the heart of the New Forest, its Regency style oozes class without the frayed edges. Grand renovations have made it a stunning place to relax, amidst extensive grounds and a lake, yet it's all very easy. Think formidable English country house sans a scintilla of stuffiness.

Interior design is by David Collins, so perfectly balanced. Classical features meld with contemporary traces: lots of portland stone and oils paintings but you’ll also find colourful splashes, warm silks and inverted chandeliers. Look up from the central courtyard to a giant retractable roof - a bit of technology and hey presto, you’re alfresco. Best of all, service is friendly, not formal. Staff wear smart jeans and smiles; porters dressed like stable boys will stoke your fire in winter. Sublime.

Highs

  • Beautifully styled accommodation - rooms, suites and lodges - with lots of places to hide away and unwind
  • Their Herb House spa is one of the very best in the country, we left our 2015 revisit feeling wonderful
  • ...And you can eat to suit your mood: finely in their stylish Hartnett Holder & Co restaurant or healthily in the Raw & Cured spa cafe, plus an especially good cocktail bar
  • New Forest walks and horse riding on your doorstep (borrow the Hunter Wellies), plus you're not far from the coast
  • A great sense of homeliness but within a grand setting, and superb quality throughout

Lows

  • Some might like a tennis court, but you can't have everything
  • Luxury doesn't come cheap, though you get what you pay for and Lime Wood's at the top of its game
  • Occasionally the snug library is blocked off for private hire but there are plenty of other spaces to find
  • Getting our head around the room's light-dimming system after a good dinner was a little challenging!

Best time to go

All seasons are a delight here. In winter you can cosy next to one of the fireplaces and rejuvenate in the amazing spa. In summer, the grounds are lovely, there are lots of beaches within driving distance and you can spend most of your day outside. The countryside is equally lovely during spring and autumn with the changing forest colours and hikes on the heath.

Our top tips

Make time for an amazing cocktail in the bar - the barmen deliver charisma and knowledge most mixologists only dream of. And don't miss out on a juice from The Herb House.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Country House Hotel
  • 32
  • Restaurants and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Pool Table
  • Snooker Table
  • Bicycles Available
Room: Generous

Rooms

Hit your luxury sweet spot with a choice of rooms spread between the Main House and garden lodges: the Coach House (an Italian loggia-style building), the Crescent (a Franco, Scottish-New England influenced style) and the Pavilion (enchanting Charles Morris design).

Some rooms come with four-posters, some with roll-top baths, some with wood-burning stoves. But wherever you stay, all are jolly comfortable; there are simply no duffs. Stay in the Main House if you want less of a stagger after dinner, but stay in one of the lodges to get closer to the forest.

All rooms have beautifully comfy beds, great bathrooms with walk-in rain showers and Bamford goodies, and a quality feel that comes from finely tuned attention to detail and deep pockets. The 'pantry drawers' contain tempting snacks from tasty Daylesford nibbles to Sherbet Fountains, as well as those little things you might forget to pack.

Smallest are the Eaves, tucked at the top of the Main House; Cosy are slightly larger. Spacious and Generous give yet more room.

We opted for a Forest Suite, where no expense had been spared in the decor. We loved the super-lux Lefroy Brooks taps, sophisticated light-dimming and jazzy tiger-style marble bathroom. Bigger still, the Forest Hideaway Suites each have 2 floors, sitting rooms and fireplaces and are all in the Coach House and Crescent.

More rustic in style are the Forest Cottages and Cabin; we're yet to personally view them but their small kitchenettes and secluded settings suggest they'd be great for families or longer stays.

For a detailed description of individual rooms, see Rates.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • IPod Nano
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Pantry
  • Phone
  • Plunge pool
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Slippers
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Lime Wood's food formula encompasses everything from super-cool to super-healthy. And all boosted by seadonal fare from their herb garden, smoke house and spoils foraged from the forest.

We kicked off our evening with excellent passion fruit 'Pornstar Martinis' in The Courtyard Bar, before heading to Hartnett Holder & Co, where chandeliers, fine art and delectable dishes await.

If you think the name sounds familiar, you’re right; this is a joint venture between Lime Wood’s Luke Holder and high-profile chef Angela Hartnett. Of their appealing Anglo-Italian menu, we particularly enjoyed the smokehouse sharing board with pickles - all made on site - and the double agnolotti pasta with chicken, new season garlic and chicken liver jus (so good we could have had it twice!).

Breakfast is a picturesque buffet on a long wooden table in the Scullery, and you can order anything hot from bacon sarnies to kippers or smashed avocado on sourdough with poached egg and tomatoes. Food is tasty and well presented, yet good value, too. You can also eat in the courtyard under its vast sliding glass roof - a favourite afternoon tea or morning coffee.

For healthy options, try the Herb House spa's Raw & Cured. Our imaginative fresh rhubarb, plum and ginger juice completely hit the spot.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Inspired by forest surroundings, you could spend days immersed in The Herb House spa's 10 treatment rooms, mud house, hot pool, indoor pool, outdoor pool, Caldarium and steam room, and rooftop sun deck and meditation area, as well as partaking in yoga, pilates or personal training sessions. As for treatments, you name it, they've got it. Divine

  • Book a cookery course at the outstanding kitted-out cookery school: Hartnett Holder &Co Backstage. They offer a wide variety of relaxed, hands-on courses including 'Beginners Bread', 'Charcuterie' and 'Feel Good Food'. Max class size is 10; full- and half-day courses available (book in advance)

  • Borrow a pair of Hunters and walk out into the New Forest; borrow bicycles for a bike ride or ask the concierge to arrange a horseback trek

  • Make use of your in-room foraging book or spend time with Lime Wood's own forager who can tell you how to harvest hedgerows for wild salads, and find vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts through all seasons

  • Luxuriate in the sublime surroundings. Let everyone else run around whilst you relax and read in the drawing room, play games in their snuggery or have a snooker competition

  • Visit pretty seaside Lymington (25 minutes' drive), Highcliffe beach (16km) or quiet coastal Keyhaven, with sailing clubs overlooking the Solent

  • If you can't resist, play a round at the New Forest Golf Club (5 minutes' drive) or Brockenhurst (15 minutes' drive)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Foraging
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Pool table
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snooker
  • Swimming

Kids

Lime Wood is chic but not too chic for kids. It actively welcomes them (the rainbow of Hunter wellies in the hallway also includes children's sizes). But it has a distinctly smart if homely feel, so you feel best behaviour when mixing with other guests is expected.

The in-room 'pantry' drawers have treats aimed at children, though we couldn't resist the Sherbet Fountains ourselves!

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All Generous rooms and above can hold an extra bed or baby cot. We'd particularly recommend the 2-storey Forest Lodges (each with a second twin bedroom or single bedroom) and the Forest Cottages and Cabin, all of which have a double bedroom plus a set of twin or bunk-beds, as well as simple kitchenettes. Most also have their own entrance, making them hassle-free

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available for an additional charge (minimum 4 hours). Our sitter couldn't have been more lovely; our 4-year-old daughter adored her

Baby listening:

Baby monitors are available but don't reach everywhere within the hotel. Book in the Main House if you want to be sure

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • Baby bedding
  • High chairs
  • Bottle warming

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

Children's menu and half-sized, half-price kids' portions available on request. Child-friendly cafés nearby; plenty of takeaways and nearby restaurants, too

Kids Activities on site:

  • Games consoles, board games and toys (age 4+)
  • Scooters, wellies and bikes
  • Outdoor playground
  • Children's DVDs
  • Indoor heated pool (time restrictions in place for children)

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaulieu car museum
  • The New Forest, its ponies and its wildlife centre
  • Paultons Park (Peppa Pig theme park)
  • Marwell Zoo

Families Should Know:

There are ponds (canals) behind the Main House and a lake in front of the house which are unfenced, so children should not be left unsupervised. Take care by the pool as the wet tiling is very slippery

Distances:

  • Medical facilities: 10-minute drive
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
8/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Fantastic location, on the edge of the New Forest. You are surrounded by nothing but wonderful bird song and clean air. Very friendly staff. It also features a great art collection and very clean and well serviced spa facilities.

9/10,

We were unlucky with our first room (room 6) The bed is directly above a speaker in the restaurant which makes it a bit like sleeping above a club. Avoid room 5 and 6 if you want an early night! I've a feeling the hotel is much more corporate than it used to be. Food is good but doesn't always justify the cost. A nice hotel, a great spa but generally, we felt it was overpriced.

6/10,

Had a great stay. Great hotel, great spa, great people. We were given a beautiful upgraded room and, as it was to celebrate my husbands birthday, there was a bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us. How nice!

10/10,

Excellent service levels from a young, enthusiastic staff. Although more expensive, consider a suite - we were in Crescent 2 which had a log fire in the room. Lovely to come back to after a day's walking. Plenty of good walks on offer around the hotel and further afield. Food very good but not quite top notch. Excellent wine list, the house whites and reds are excellent value. Very good spa, gym and pool. Excellent for a winter break in one of the most attractive parts of the UK.

10/10,

This is a fantastic hotel. Every detail is carefully thought through and nothing is too much trouble for the delightful staff. The grounds are beautiful and the New Forest is literally on your doorstep. We borrowed bikes and wellington boots and cycled through the forest paths, following the various routes provided by the hotel. The hotel is expensive but it is well worth it for a truly relaxing and luxurious holiday.

10/10,

Lovely relaxed hotel, gorgeous room and bathroom with lots of nice goodies. Food is delicious, the staff are great and very attentive. Not cheap but worth it. The only very slight problem is that they seem to be so popular with people who are not staying at the hotel that there might not be anywhere to sit and lounge about as happened to my husband on the Saturday afternoon.

9/10,

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Rates for Lime Wood