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Hotel Highlights

  • Elegant country manor that’s more homey than hotel-y
  • An hour and a half out of London
  • Blissfully isolated rural retreat

Overview

RUNNER-UP: BEST SPA HOTEL – SMITH HOTEL AWARDS 2013

A stately pile fit for a royalty, the Lime Wood hotel in New Forest has a history dating back to the 13th century, where it began life as a hunting lodge. In the 1740s, the manor was reclaimed by the Duke of Clarence. Since then, it has had an elaborate makeover, with exquisitely designed interiors, an indulgent spa, fantastic restaurants, and gorgeously landscaped grounds.

 

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Lime Wood with us:

A bottle of champagne

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Lime Wood

Lime Wood's first mini festival Dinner, bed and breakfast

Facilities

View Gallery
Lime Wood Hotel – New Forest – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

32, including 14 suites and two Forest Cottages.

Check–out

12 noon. Earliest check‑in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $446.00 (£263), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (around £13.50 for Continental; £18.50 for full English).

Also

The Herb House spa is spread across three floors, with assorted treatment rooms (eight single, one double with steam room and garden, one bath house with indoor pool and steam room), a mud house, sauna, steam house, indoor pool, outdoor pool, sun deck with herb garden, a café offering uncooked or preserved food only and a bar serving juices straight from the garden.

At the hotel

Library of books and DVDs, pool, snooker and billiards, mountain bikes and wellies for guests, walking and running trails, valet parking, helipad, free WiFi throughout. The Herb House Spa has an indoor pool. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, preloaded iPod, free bottled water and Bamford bath products.

Our favourite rooms

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. If you like a quirky attic abode, plump for an Eaves room.

Packing tips

Leave sensible shoes and coats at home – there’s a whole range of wellies and waterproofs to borrow.

Also

Pets are allowed in the outside lodgings – the Coach House, Crescent and Pavilions. In-room spa and beauty treatments can be arranged.

Children

Little Smiths are well looked after at Lime Wood – cribs are £10, extra beds are £30; there’s a children’s menu and bikes and scooters on loan. Babysitting with a local nanny costs £55 an evening (48 hours’ notice required).

Pet‐friendly

Yes: in the outside rooms (the Coach House, Crescent and Pavilions), dogs stay for £30 a stay: beds and bowls are provided, as well as a Bonio wrapped up in a ribbon.

Food & Drink

View Gallery
Lime Wood Hotel – New Forest – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

Chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder (who have a formidable Michelin pedigree) plunder their British and Italian heritage, forage for fungi in neighbouring woods, hand rear their meat and cure it in the onsite Smokehouse to bring refined comfort food – on small, less formal plates – to Hartnett, Holder & Co. The dining space mixes aristocratic eccentricity with trattoria bric-a-brac, including an espresso machine, oak bar and Tracy Emin artwork; or guests can get cosy on a velvet corner sofa and split a sharing dish for more intimate affairs. Adjourn to The Courtyard for alfresco afternoon tea or opt for a leaner, but no less delectable, salad at Raw & Cured, the Herb House Spa’s café.

Hotel Bar

The light and bright Courtyard Bar has cosy sofas and swivelly Chesterfield-style bar seating; it's a sociable place to enjoy a glass from their extensively researched wine list, a freshly shaken cocktail or a few bits to nibble from the grazing menu. Roasted heritage beetroot with goats cheese, arancini and comfort food including eggs and marmite toast and meatballs and Tuscan ragout are just some of the finger foods with flair on Hartnett Holder and Co's menu. 

Last orders

Breakfast is served in the Scullery between 7am and 11am. Hartnett Holder & Co serves lunch and dinner from 12 noon until 11pm. The grazing menu in the Courtyard Bar is served until 11pm.

Room service

Dishes from the Hartnett Holder and Co à la carte can be eaten in-room from 12 noon to 11pm. After hours (until 7am), a few select picks from the Courtyard Grazing menu can be brought to your room.

Smith Insider

Dress code

There’s a grown-up manor feel, so clean off the country muck before dinner.

Top table

Pick a quiet table for two by the window, or ask to dine at the chef’s table in the kitchen.

Local Guide

View Gallery
Lime Wood Hotel – New Forest – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Get out into the country air for a spot of horse riding, archery, falconry or rambling. Stock up on seasonal fruit and veg at Warborne Farm (www.warbornefarm.co.uk), a mile and a half east of Lymington. Visit the vintage cars at the Motor Museum in Beaulieu (www.beaulieu.co.uk) then walk along the river to Buckler’s Hard (lovely at high tide). Take the ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, then hop on an open-top bus to see the Needles. Let Lime Wood know in advance and they'll arrange a kayak trip on the nearby Beaulieu River.

Local restaurants

At Beaulieu, call in at The Master Builder’s at Buckler’s Hard for lunch or dinner – this elegant rustic pub makes the most of the excellent local produce, turning a recent shoot’s venison into sausages and cooking up comforting Sunday roasts (+44 (0)1590 616253; www.themasterbuilders.co.uk). More locally sourced fare awaits at the Oak Inn on Pinkney Lane in Bank – seafood from Lymington in summer and game from within a five-mile radius in winter (+44 (0)23 8028 2350). For something more Continental, head to Franoi on the high street in Lyndhurst (+44 (0)23 8028 2745; www.franoi.co.uk), an Italian trattoria serving up authentic delights from Emilia Romagna.

+ Enlarge
New Forest’s ancient capital

Lime Wood

Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst, Hampshire SO43 7FZ, United Kingdom

Set in neatly manicured grounds on the outskirts of the New Forest, near to Lyndhurst, Lime Wood is easily accessible from London and close to Southampton.

Planes

Southampton airport is the nearest, a mere 15 miles away, or 25 minutes' drive. Bournemouth airport is 25 miles (40 minutes' drive) away.

Trains

The nearest station is Brockenhurst, a 10-minute drive (six miles) away) with trains connecting you to Winchester, Southampton, Basingstoke and London – South West Trains (www.southwesttrains.co.uk) can whisk you here from London Waterloo in about 90 minutes.

Automobiles

The hotel is conveniently located just 20 minutes from Southampton and has free valet parking for guests, as well as an additional car park for spa- and restaurant-goers. A car's not essential if you're weekending here, but for longer stays you'll want one to get out and explore.

Other

There's also a helipad (call ahead if you're planning on making a big entrance): N50:51:52, W01:33:11, OS: 196 (SU) 314073.

Reviews

View Gallery
Lime Wood Hotel – New Forest – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Katie Derham , Prom queen

Spotting wild ponies and singing loudly to the Glee soundtrack in glorious evening sunshine isn’t a bad way to pass the time in the mother of all traffic jams. But then this is a Friday evening, and we are heading to Lyndhurst. Yet it is with peckers up that we turn off the Beaulieu Road to Lime Wood. In the style of the best country house hotel arrivals, we approach a suitably patrician Geo…
Read more

Lime Wood

Anonymous review by Katie Derham, Prom queen

Spotting wild ponies and singing loudly to the Glee soundtrack in glorious evening sunshine isn’t a bad way to pass the time in the mother of all traffic jams. But then this is a Friday evening, and we are heading to Lyndhurst. Yet it is with peckers up that we turn off the Beaulieu Road to Lime Wood. In the style of the best country house hotel arrivals, we approach a suitably patrician Georgian house in golden stone along a sweeping drive flanked by well-tended lawns. Perfection. All we need is a dashingly handsome young man in a slightly self-conscious tweed cap to take our bags. Ah yes, there he is. Next, cheery front-of-housers joke with the children, ignoring chocolatey faces and bare feet. Lime Wood, you do welcomes very well indeed.

The new owners spent five years and untold millions creating a destination that offers the last word in out-of-town indulgence. The kind of place to spend your bonus admiring a beautiful view, pretending to be country types without leaving your freestanding bath. Lime Wood’s setting is stunning, and the building was handsome even before extensive remodeling, which has resulted in a fabulous central atrium with a retractable roof.

Imaginative annexes have been added to the 29-bedroom property, and an enormous spa, more Champneys than Chiva Som, is set to be booked solid by locals. The gardens are not yet mature, but are spectacular, and showcase excellent sculptures. Inside, David Collins’ decor has won awards, and is what I’d describe as Hotel Costes meets Daylesford: lots of silk upholstery in cool subdued colours and rustic touches applied with exquisite taste in Farrow & Ball. There’s even a basement billiard room with cigars and a massive screen for Sky Sports. The place simply reeks of cash.

And here are we with our mismatched luggage, too-cool 10-year-old tomboy and hot-pant-wearing four year old, alongside my exuberant entrepreneur Mr Smith. ‘This isn’t a business venture, this is a trophy asset,’ he decrees in less-than-subtle tones as we’re shown to our quarters. Is it a little house? A maisonette? Or a duplex? I’m not sure of terminology to suit such rarified surroundings, but there’s a rather lovely sitting room with a massive sofabed for the girls, French windows opening onto our own terrace, and the forest beyond. Upstairs, an opulent master suite displays an orgy of cushions on the bed and just as exrtravagant an array of fluffy towels in the bathroom.

After my second glass of complimentary wine, I declare our little corner of Lime Wood ‘New England show home’ in look. White painted slatted walls, exposed eaves, sisal matting, everything gleaming, no detail overlooked. (Actually, they forgot a corkscrew, but the nice tweed-capped chap soon puts that right.) There’s even fresh fruit and reference books to identify the local trees and tips on how to forage for mushrooms. Yes, there are two massive plasma TVs, but the kids are champing at the bit to choose from a rainbow of borrowable Hunter wellies and bikes. As there are not yet child seats or stabilisers, Mr Smith rediscovers the lost art of the ‘backie’ and we’re off.

Enid Blyton would be proud as we pedal away in the early evening sun, our cheery faces glowing as we explore cycle paths galore. A corner of England where sturdy ponies with fluffy hooves roam freely is undeniably special, especially when you can cycle energetically and safely down country lanes. And thankfully, as after 20 minutes our muscles start to burn, when it even promises world-class cocktails within reach.

Mealtimes are when hotels show their mettle, never more so than when they sell themselves as luxury hotels that actively welcome children. This isn’t a nursery tea and babysitters kind of place (though they are available) – no, this is a grown-up environment that is genuinely friendly towards kids. It’s a tricky path to navigate, and I heartily applaud any establishment that succeeds. There are two restaurants – the Scullery, for fantastic breakfasts, lunches and relaxed suppers, and also a full-on posh-crockery formal dining – and unusually, kids are welcome at both.

Dithering over cocktails in the atrium, we munch on olives as big as the gobstoppers we buy the next day in Lyndhurst’s Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe. From the all-adult, well-dressed clientele in the smart dining room, we consider stage exit left to the Scullery. Yet, feeling it our duty to you dear Mr & Mrs Smith reader to sample that tasting menu, we stay committed. Yes, we’re going Michelin-starred all for you. At this point we meet Lime Wood’s star, Cedric, the charming Belgian maître d’. Proffering not just top-drawer amuses bouches, he also suggests that our family might like the best table in the hotel… Seats at the chef’s table in the kitchen – a rare privilege, of course – and the best of the menus accompanied by the theatre of watching the chefs at work. It is a masterstroke of diplomacy and bonhomie.

In the sepia tint of this uncharacteristically clement spring weather, we turn back the clock to 1950, and go crab fishing on Mudeford Quay. Next thing we’re riding horses through the kind of ancient forest that Robin and his merry men would have happily capered about in. How comforting that should the heavens open, we could head back to Lime Wood, settle back against the scatter cushions, book a massage, and order tip-top room service. There’s no question that Lime Wood is a hotel prepared to go to any length to ensure its guests, whatever age, get what they want. It’s not what you’d call understated, and neither – having counted the Porsches and Ferraris in the car park – are its guests. But Lime Wood delivers on its promise of luxury, with genuine friendliness, and a damn-fine melon martinis. Welcome, ladies and gents, to the Nouveau Forêt.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Lime Wood from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We were given a surprise upgrade to a beautiful corner room overlooking the garden with a large marble bathroom - fluffy towels and robes, a super-comfy bed, champagne (thank you Mr & Mrs Smith) and fresh fruit! The hotel is actually in the New Forest and we made use of the walking guides hanging on the back of our bedroom door. An hour's forest stomp was just enough to build up an appetite for what was to be a sumptuous dinner at Hartnett, Holder Co - I also have to mention the fabulous cocktails from the well stocked atrium bar! The spa is really special with its thermal pool and outdoor hot tub. We sunbathed on the loungers with an excellent bottle of rosé before enjoying lunch at the Raw Cured cafe - inspirational healthy food made fresh to order. Before (a superb) breakfast the following morning we spent an hour in the gym - spacious with the latest equipment and I liked the towels, cold water and even complimentary headphones on offer. Lime Wood is not as 'cool' as Babington House but the facilities and service are second to none - we will be back!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The location was good: access to the forest was easy and it's an easy drive to the beach.

Don’t expect

The breakfast could be included in the price.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The service stood out for me - it's the little things such as remembering what you drank the night before, or asking how your treatment was the day before. The grounds were simply stunning. We were in Room 3 and it was done perfectly and just how I had imagined it would be.

Don’t expect

When you're paying upwards of 400 a night I think they should really include breakfast, especially when they are only charging 12.50 (Continental) or 18.50 (Full).

Rating: 10/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on No

We loved

Quite simply, everything was great. The accommodation in the Forest Cottage was superb, the food delightful, the staff beyond competent.

Don’t expect

An instruction manual for the induction hob would have been useful. Yes, we were shown how to use it, but first thing in the morning it was a bit of a blur... A standard electric kettle would have been far easier.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The spa here was the best I've been to in the UK.

Don’t expect

The décor in the rooms was slightly boring.

Rating: 7/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The spa and pool area were lovely and the café in Herb House has the most amazing raw food menu.

Don’t expect

I think breakfast in the main hotel could be included – it seems mean to me to charge extra on top of the room!

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I am not usually a spa person, but Lime Wood's spa is fantastic; you could not get me out! The cocktail bar and staff were excellent, and were happy to make whatever you wanted. The snooker room was also somewhere that was great to spend time.

Don’t expect

I like to choose if I give a tip, not for it to be automatically added to the bill. Although I was happy to pay as the service was excellent, it should still be a choice.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Every aspect of our stay at Limewood was first class and we cannot wait to return!

Don’t expect

We could not recommend it enough.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Everything! It was the most wonderful and relaxing place to stay and de-stress.What really shone through was the genuine friendliness and willingness to please of the staff.We shall definitely return.

Don’t expect

Nothing.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Everything. Such an amazing place for a break. We're still feeling the benefits. I can honestly say that the facial I had at Lime Wood was the best I have ever had and my husband felt the same about his massage. We'll definitely be going back to Lime Wood. I'd have moved there permanently if I could.

Don’t expect

I didn't love having to pay extra for breakfast.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We loved this hotel. I managed to book the wrong dates and we arrived too early! It was sorted with tact and efficiency, and a similar room was found very quickly. The food in the Scullery was amazing and room service was good with everything arriving in a wicker basket. The staff were polite and very helpful.

Don’t expect

The only complaint we had was the noise coming from the room next door. The hairdryer sounded as if it was in our room, and I never like to hear other loos flushing!

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

We loved the decor, the proximity to the gorgeous forest, the attentive and friendly service. It was all lovely.

Don’t expect

Not one thing!

Rating: 10/10 stars