Lime Wood Hotel – The Perfect Country Retreat in The New Forest

A former 13th-century hunting lodge is now home to Lime Wood Hotel, one of the UK’s chicest boutique country house hotels, a mere 2 hours from London, in the New Forest Park.

The interiors, from celebrated designer David Collins, involve a modern take on the traditional country house style: effortlessly luxurious, striking a perfect balance between being cool, modern, classic and sophisticated.

Lime Wood Hotel Entrance

The main house perches ceremoniously at the end of a long, sweeping driveway, with beautiful manicured grounds leading the way. The 29 rooms and suites at Lime Wood Hotel are split between the main house and the various outbuildings – the Coach House, Crescent and Pavilions.

Rooms range from the entry level ‘Cosy’ (Cosy in Lime Wood’s definition means spacious and extremely comfortable) through to signature Forest Hideaway Suites. Our Crescent duplex suite was a delight with a wood burning fire on each floor – a real treat for us city folk!

Lime Wood Hotel Pavilion Room

The rooms of Lime Wood Hotel’s main house are a series of cosy lounges with plump couches and roaring fires, which are inviting at any time of day – from reading the morning papers with the sunshine streaming through the windows, to taking afternoon tea or sipping the final glass of port after dinner.

There are plenty of logs by each fire and the relaxed feeling of the house means you are free to feed the fire on your own and truly feel like the lord of the manor. Service at Lime Wood is seamless – the staff, dressed in fashionable country clothes, are ever present but never noticeable, which is a difficult thing to master.

There are two restaurants on offer at Lime Wood Hotel: The more informal Scullery, which, with its whitewashed wooden floors, flower pots and condiments on show, could only be described as ‘country house chic’, and the main restaurant, The Dining Room, which provides an informal setting for serious cooking and a perfectly glamorous night out, once again highlighting the hotel’s ability to be both luxurious and relaxed at the same time.

Lime Wood Restaurant

Organic and locally sourced seem to be high on the priorities for both restaurants – wild mushrooms, garlic, local venison and home-reared beef and lamb – which one would expect given nature’s prominence all around.

The Herb House Spa is a true gem, with a whole host of treatments on offer, a Technogym, an indoor pool, sauna, indoor Jacuzzi and a magnificent outdoor pool that was blissful on a January evening where temperatures plummeted below zero. (If you like hotels with pool, read our guide to London hotels with swimming pools).

The rooftop sunlouge was redundant on our visit but would surely be a huge hit in the summer months. There is also an adjoining Raw Bar serving a selection of fresh salads, smoothies and cocktails.

Lime Wood Hotel Spa

One of Lime Wood Hotel’s greatest assets is the natural surroundings within which it sits.  The immediate grounds surrounding the hotel resemble a beautifully groomed English garden, complete with a swing hanging from one of the century old oak trees.

On leaving the property through the designated gates, you are immediately in the heart of the New Forest with its stunning scenery and wild horses roaming freely in the parkland.  After a long walk through the forest, there is no better place to return to than Lime Wood and its roaring fires.

For a chic, glamorous yet utterly relaxing weekend country break from London, Lime Wood Hotel really hits the spot.

Our luxury travel service would love to plan your next weekend getaway – contact us now to enquire about membership.

The Best New Hotels Opening During 2012

Emyr Thomas gives us the lowdown on the most exclusive hotel openings to look forward to throughout 2012.

Thompson Belgraves, London


Thompson Belgraves, Thompson Hotels’ first hotel outside of North America will open in London in February 2012, in a joint venture with The Harilela Group. The hotel will be located in the exclusive Belgravia district and will feature 85 rooms, an 80-seat restaurant from celebrated chef Mark Hix along with another outpost of Mark’s Bar, his popular bar in Soho.

Palacio Nazarenas, Cuzco, Peru

Palacio Nazarenas is Orient Express’ latest venture in Peru, scheduled to open in June 2012 in a former palace and convent, the culmination of a three-year restoration project.

The all suite hotel will have oxygenated suites (Cuzco is located 11,000 feet above sea level in the Andes mountain range), iPads in every room, and will be a contemporary reflection of Cuzco culture. It will feature the first outdoor pool in the city, a glassed in original Inca wall in the spa, and an all day dining experience showcasing contemporary Andean cuisine.

W Hotel Paris

Opening on Valentine’s Day, a year to the date that the London equivalent opened, the W Hotel Paris will have 91 rooms as well as a signature W lounge and bar area. The hotel is located a short walk from the Garnier Opera House and ideally positioned for the upscale shopping boutiques nearby.

Monastero Santa Rosa, The Amalfi Coast

Monastero Santa Rosa

Perched on the Cape d’Orso’s cliff edge, Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa was originally a 17th century monastery, which will be reinvented as a 21 suite boutique hotel and spa in May 2012, located between Postiano and Amalfi, creating another exclusive stop on the Amalfi Coast.

Palais Namaskar, Marrakech

Palais Namaskar

Located between the Atlas Mountains and the Djebilet Hills in Marrakech, Palais Namaskar is due to open in April 2012, only a 30-minute drive from Marrakech International Airport. The hotel will include 41 Villas and Suites, as well as two restaurants, a bar lounge and a 650 square metre spa.

Palais Namaskar will be the fifth hotel to join The Oetker Collection, which currently include Hotel Le Bristol Paris; Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc Cap d’Antibes; Château Saint-Martin & Spa, Vence.

Bulgari Hotel, London


The second London hotel to feature is the Bulgari Hotel, which is scheduled to open in April in the exclusive Knightsbridge area, adding to the brand’s properties in Milan and Bali. The hotel will feature 85 stylish rooms and will also offer a restaurant, bar and spa.

SLS Hotel, South Beach, Miami

The first SLS hotel opened in Los Angeles in 2008, and in the first half of 2012, its sister will launch in South Beach, with further hotels in New York and Las Vegas planned as well.

Once again, Philippe Starck will take charge of the interiors and Jose Andres will reign over the restaurant. Lenny Kravitz is reported to be involved in designing a luxury poolside bungalow and penthouse suite.

The Yamu, Phuket

COMO Hotels and Resorts will launch a brand new property on the Yamu Peninsula of Phuket in Thailand, scheduled for September 2012.

Only 20 minutes from Phuket airport, the hotel will have 129 rooms with panoramic views of the Yamu Peninsula and the surrounding Andaman Sea. The resort will offer a 100-metre swimming pool, a COMO Shambhala retreat with a yoga studio, two restaurants and a private beach.

Niyama Maldives

Due to open late February 2012, Niyama promises ‘an edgy, modern resort that will offer guests more than a romantic Maldivian escape’.

Niyama is from the people behind Huvafen Fushi in the Maldives and Desert Palm in Dubai, and will feature 86 studios and pavilions, some with 24 hours butler service, private pools and exclusive beach access.

There will be a variety of dining options, including a signature restaurant that is accessible by boat, and an underwater nightclub.

Castello di Casole, Tuscany


The Castello di Casole Hotel is a 41-Suite five-star boutique hotel, situated on a private estate of 1,700 hectares in the heart of Tuscany, located 20 minutes southwest of Siena, 45 minutes south of Florence and within easy reach of the Chianti region. The hotel will feature beautiful landscaped gardens, an outdoor pool and a large spa.

For further information or to make a booking, please contact your concierge at Bon Vivant. To make sure you’re kept informed of similar updates on a regular basis, subscribe to the blog, our fortnightly newsletter, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook!