So what’s the plan?
It’s an impromptu road trip through country lanes and past wild horses (yup, we’ve got it stuck in our heads as well) to the five star hotel and spa Limewood. Set slap bang in the middle of the New Forest, Limewood is possibly the best spa retreat we’ve ever encountered. Imagine a period building surrounded by acres of woodland, individual snug suites and a ginormous spa with no less than three pools, a health food café and rooftop yoga. Perfection.
Ok, we’re here, what’s the room like?
One word – amazing. Set outside the main building, we’re retreating to a Garden Lodge complete with our own post box and al freso dining area. Fancy. But the best part has to be when you arrive, leaving the bitter February cold outside, we're welcomed by a roaring fire, a bottle of fizz and an ipod and speakers playing chilled tunes. Ideal. Tucked round the corner is a ginormous bed that practically screams ‘Jump on me!’ flanked by old school Scrabble on the bedside table and the largest bathroom we’ve ever seen. Roll top bath? Check. Double rainfall style shower? Check. His and hers sinks? Triple check. Oh and the stone floors are heated. They’ve thought of everything!
We've had a quick nap on the amazing bed, now we're hungry...
You'll want to head to the hotel restaurant then. Set inside the amazing main building with glass doors onto the massive patio, Hartnett Holder & Co. is the delicious love child of Head Chef Luke Holder and our massive chef girl crush, Angela Hartnett (she hates coriander too!). A menu of locally sourced but totally indulgent dishes await us on the most delightful illustrated menu we've ever seen. It's cute unique touches like this that Limewood nails.
It all looks amazing, what should we choose?
You're gonna want to start with the celeriac and parmesan soup with truffle toast. Essentially the best soup we've ever tasted - rich, velvety and complete with the most indulgent truffle cheese toastie ever. Continue the food love and treat yo' self to the unctuous beef cheek and polenta. Highly recommended by the waiter, this was not a disappointment. Sticky glazed tender beef sat neatly on creamy polenta that was so good we took a doggy bag back to our lodge. Still got room? The raspberry tart with salted oat ice cream is the way forward. A (slightly) lighter finish to the meal, we couldn't get enough of the oat ice cream which genuinely tasted like an amazing bowl of cereal. Our top tip? Grab a seat on the plushy booths, you're gonna need to settle in for this one.
We've eaten all the food and slept for days, now we want extracurricular activities...
Well, you've come to the right place. Why not embark on one of the many forest walks that start practically on your doorstep. Stop by the main building boot room to choose from a rainbow of Hunter wellies available for hire and don't forget to take your Limewood walking map (it's in the lanyard by your room door - adorable much?!). Not much of a walker? Grab yourself a bike and helmet from the hotel store and cycle over to Limewood's sister hotel The Pig for a much-needed mid-exercise pick me up, aka a fancy cocktail.
We're back, we're muddy, where can we chill out?
This is where the spa comes in. The largest in-house spa we've ever seen, there's everything and more you could ever need for maximum relaxation. With no less than three separate pools, including an outdoor jacuzzi and hydrotherapy pool complete with muscle pummeling water jets, chill out rooms full of beds, fashion mags and ipods, a giant sauna and steam room and a rooftop herb garden for those morning yoga lessons with a view, this is the most rave-worthy spa we've come across. Did we mention the sauna has forest views through it's floor to ceiling window? Yup, we sweated it out whilst making friends with a curious little red-breasted robin who lived in the neighbouring forest. And we haven't even got to the changing rooms yet. Equipped with everything you could ever need, these are luxury without reservation. Hair straighteners, plush towels and your own digitally coded locker ease you in before you're hit with the individual roll top baths ready to while away the hours in. And we did.
It all sounds amazing, how do we book? Right HERE
By George Driver