Hedgebrunch visits Limewood Hotel and Spa in the south coast’s New Forest, the perfect foil to hectic urban life.
When the city, which ever yours may be, gets too much, the country retreat is always a safe bet for that much needed decompression. Us Brits are old hands at escaping to the country – it’s a small island of course – and this means full-on silence in open fields or wooded glens is but a few hours away. A small hop for most global citizens used to mean long distance travel.
London, as a global centre, has to be one of the best spots in the world for this. We have so many options for escaping the pressure cooker and forgetting the week’s market woes or the thousandth due diligence question. Limewood Hotel offered us the antidote this weekend.
This grand yet fun pile of bricks is at once superbly finished and welcomingly laid back. A break here feels like a trip to a friend’s country pad as you’re invited to wander the main house’s eclectic rooms, settling in comfy fire-side armchairs or don a pair of wellies to enjoy the great outdoors. Staff are always on hand, yet unobtrusive, so being offered a drink or something to nibble on feels like a you’re in good company with warm hosts rather than demanding service.
There are rooms in the main house but also outbuildings, including a large coach house, cottages and cabins. This serves to create a lovely collegiate atmosphere about the grounds. Families, couples and the odd four legged friend bounce around, all showing happy a relaxed grins – there’s something in the water here.
We stayed in one of the Pavilion suites: at the foot of the gardens, it was mere feet away from the main house but could have been a million miles away once inside, such was the sense of serenity and privacy. With a roll-top bath facing bay windows looking into the forest outside, a huge four poster bed and your very own log fire, you’re hard pressed to find a reason to leave. The bed was so comfortable that we might never have left it were it not for the fact that an early morning swim at the spa seemed equally as appealing.
The spa at Limewood is everything you could hope for; three floors of single and double treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor pools of every nature. Plus there’s steam and sauna rooms and a fantastic raw food café offering healthy but hearty fare that manages to be good for both your body and soul at once. At the end (or indeed the beginning) of a long day you can’t go wrong here. Your whole stay can easily be filled in this haven- but for the more adventurous, there’s biking and hiking aplenty in the New Forest too.
You really don’t have to move if you don’t want to though – we spent one of the days we were there working in the main study which was a welcome change to the office. It’s available for board meetings or casual use and you can easily take lunch and enjoy service whilst there. For a company away-day or weekend it suits perfectly.
Most guests don’t come to Limewood for a place to work though, with many enjoying some incredible eats and treats throughout their stay alongside all other activities. The healthy side is of course great but the more indulgent food and drink here is as good as you can find. You can choose to eat from a variety of menus pretty much wherever you’d like and the lauded Angela Hartnett (of Murano and Café Murano fame in the capital) produces with aplomb.
Limewood and The wider Pig group of hotels and restaurants is simply superb, you won’t regret your stay in any way. For more information and to book visit please click here.
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