Lime Wood, a boutique country house hotel, is set in the heart of the New Forest National Park, 1.5 miles from the small town of Lyndhurst and just an hour and a half drive from London.
Lime Wood likes to think of itself as a luxury country house hotel with a difference. They have used the building’s classical structure as the basis of their design but have lovingly renovated it, keeping the spirit of its past, taking inspiration from its extraordinarily beautiful surroundings and adding the odd contemporary twist to bring it to life.
It took five years of development and the results are a rich collaboration of creative talent at its best. The architectural parts were designed by Charles Morris and Ben Pentreath, interiors have been added by David Collins and more recently Martin Brudnizki, food is by Luke Holder and Angela Hartnett. Combined with great food, immaculate service and facilities, Lime Wood is the only 5 star luxury country house hotel in the New Forest National Park. The hotel is the ultimate countryside getaway; perfect for weekend breaks, a dash from the city, or an escape from home.
Architecture & Interiors
Lime Wood’s exterior is an architectural triumph in itself. A stunning Regency country house originally established as a hunting lodge in the 13th Century, the hotel has taken great care not to over-run its original charm. It’s a charm that has evolved over years and one that’s given the country house a unique character that guests can’t get enough of.
Ben Pentreath of Working Group Design restored the main house and its extensions, comprising 16 bedrooms, a series of classically designed sitting rooms, library, dining room, informal eatery, bar, cellar and billiard room. Meanwhile Charles Morris, whose previous work includes the Orchard Room at Highgrove, designed the additional buildings which include a further 11 suites and two guest rooms.
The New Forest luxury hotel interiors were originally created by David Collins with Lime Wood’s team and more recently by Martin Brudnizki who has created the interiors for their restaurant Hartnett Holder & Co and the Courtyard bar. The style is both luxurious and relaxed – an elusive and enticing balance. They have made the most of local materials to ensure that the interiors complement the surroundings. In order not to lose Lime Wood’s original charm, the furniture is an eclectic mix of antique and bespoke pieces with hand-picked artwork and objects d’art. In honour of it’s history as an old English country house, there’s the odd eccentric touch to always give something to be amused by. This is the perfect place to kick back, relax and soak up the atmosphere to your heart’s delight.
Hartnett Holder & CO
Hartnett Holder & Co is a relaxed, stylish and comfortable upscale restaurant – full of character, yet unpretentious. Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder, with their team, create locally sourced English dishes with a respectful nod to the seasons and to Italian culinary ideologies. This collaboration is reflected in their fresh, confident approach ensuring that this is “fun dining, not fine dining”.
Hartnett and Holder’s food is out-and-out British yet comes with the much loved Italian approach to eating – where sharing and provenance is everything. The style is chefs’ home-cooked food not chefs’ food cooked for restaurants. Both Angela and Luke are famed for their informal, grounded style of cooking and their respect for local produce.
Expect a menu of Italian influenced forest dishes with English classics, pulling together both Chefs much admired signature styles, which will remain constant and other dishes on the menu will change daily with forest and seasonality being the driver.
Chef Angela Hartnett is one of the most high-profile female chefs in the restaurant world. Angela worked under Gordon Ramsay at Aubergine, and then under Marcus Wareing where she soon became Head Chef at Pétrus. In 2004 she gained her first Michelin star. In 2008 she launched Murano in Mayfair.
Joining Angela in the kitchen is Luke Holder who has worked in some of London’s busiest and most exclusive restaurants including Orrery, The Sloane Club, and the Oxo Tower on the South Bank. Luke then spent a year cooking in the Italian kitchen of Enoteca Pinchiorri, 3 Michelin stars, in the heart of Tuscany, Florence – this experience ultimately changed his philosophy on food forever and firmly placed his focus on cooking locally and seasonally, at the highest level.
For more information on what to do and see in the New Forest and where to stay, please visit the New Forest Tourism Association website www.thenewforest.co.uk
The SLOAN! Review
Driving up the long drive to the main house, the opulence of Lime Wood invites you with its unassuming and unimposing yet majestic stature. Having just driven through the forest it was a delight to be met by probably the youngest yet most well-mannered staff we have encountered on our journey. Having had a slight accident with a very expensive bottle of wine and Red’s entire wardrobe in the boot of our car (a packing error) the staff not only jumped to collecting the items damaged, simply taking them to the laundry before any stains set in. They removed and washed the bag, later drying it in their hot room, and sent us to the hotel spa telling us to relax and that by the time we left the spa that our room would be ready and crisis averted. This incident was a true test of a hotel’s character when dealing with the unexpected, a full five stars!
The Herb House Spa was pleasant and relaxing but the only thing i would say is the reception staff in the spa could do with a little more relaxing energy inline with the hotel staff. In the spa I was made to feel I wasn’t getting it right, in contrast in the hotel you can do what you want within excepted reason. The facilities at the spa however made up for any slight niggle and before long we were enjoying the hydrotherapy pool, the hot stone seating and the steam and sauna rooms.
On departing the spa we were shown to our room Pavilion I. This has to be by far the nicest apartment we have ever stayed in. Set over two floors, with two log fires, a private garden, a master bath in the bedroom suite, one bathroom and two W.C.’s, a small room on the ground floor which is fitted with bunk beds and a large opening plan reception room. The apartment overlooked the main house with landscaped gardens, 2 ponds and sculptures of wildlife it transports you into a haven of peace tranquility and luxury. Balancing such opulence and elegance with the manor of every single hotel member of staff who were upbeat, friendly and couldn’t do enough for every guest. I did not hear one complaint during my stay,quite to the contrary the guests were over joyed, felt included many greeted by name and regulars were definitely aplenty. Lime Wood had the perfect balance of respecting your space but being there when needed.
Hartnett Holder & Co, the restaurant at Lime Wood, was in a class of its own. You can see a pictorial representation of what we indulged in below. An absolute must for an important celebration is to request to dine in the kitchen there is a table of 10 which works out at £85 to £100 per head. The advantage to this is not only can you watch your food being cooked but if you want to you can help cook your own food. The kitchen staff again were very young. Head chef Luke Holder joked with us about how one of his team was born in 1999, making all of us feel our age. The young members of staff are highly diligent and passionate about their role. This was also evident in the wait staff from waistcoats to management their knowledge of the menu passion for the food, wine and construction of the menu shone through. An example to this was the fact they stayed up late trying 30 cheeses to bring the perfect cheese board together. This cheese board was without a doubt the best cheese board we have had blowing the competition out the water.
On return to our room we were greeted with a beautiful turn down service. The curtains were drawn and we had a bottle lavender oil left on our pillow. After a perfect night sleep in a beautifully soft bed, we were peacefully woken in the morning by bird song.
Lime Wood is pure indulgence everything can be catered for, archery is available for private lessons at an additional charge but bikes can be borrowed for free with a helmet, map, water and a little travel bag containing a small bag of chocolate limes sweets with jokes of sending out search parties if you don’t make it back! Seriously though Lime Wood say you can phone them if you get lost, the only flaw is whether you get reception in the forest.
For a thoroughly enjoyable stay in the New Forest, Lime Wood has it all. If you’re looking for unadulterated luxury look no further. Lime Wood is in a class of its own and we can’t wait to visit again.
Lime Wood, Beaulieu Rd, Lyndhurst, SO43 7FZ
Reservations: 023 8028 7159