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Lime Wood – A Country Retreat

 

Ok, A confession. I am a boutique hotel addict! So when given the chance to visit Lime Wood, a luxury hotel in New Forest, I was clearly very, very excited.

After an hour and a half train journey from Waterloo to Brockenhurst, followed by a 10 minute taxi drive, we arrived at our home for the night. Luxurious Lime Wood!!
Originally a hunting lodge in the 13th Century, Lime Wood has been transformed into beautiful Regency country house hotel with vast but perfectly manicured grounds.
We arrived at 1pm, just in time for lunch. Well, we had to refresh ourselves with a quick glass of champagne first.
It was a Billecart-Salmon, Brut Réserve for me and Billecart-Salmon, Brut Rosé for Mr Silver. While quaffing the champagne we were also able to drink in the beautiful bar interior created by David Collins which is a eclectic mix of
funky bar stools and comfortable sofas, perfect for chilling out at the weekend.

Suitably quenched, Mr Silver and I made our way to the restaurant, which serves a British menu with Italian
elements created by a collaboration of chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder.
Mr Silver and I like to try a bit of everything and so love sharing dishes. For starter we chose to share two fish dishes, one langoustine with leeks and dandelion and the other red mullet.
I found the langoustine dish a little unimaginative but the red mullet was delicious and perfectly seasoned. Both were light and a good choice for a lunchtime starter. A basket of brown and white sourdough bread with lightly salted butter was also a fine accompaniment to the meal.
For main course Mr Silver opted for a hearty rose veal chop with a parmesan crust, while I went for the lighter option of stone bass with octopus and olives. Side dishes were a salad for me and sautéd potatoes for Mr Silver.

Mr Silver very much enjoyed the veal which was perfectly tender. My dish  was a little on the salty side and would have
been tastier with out so much seasoning. It was still enjoyable and a bottle of Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut (zero dosage, less sugar, less calories!!) helped to wash it down.

Lunch finished we were whisked up to our room to unpack before our spa treatment. The room was comfortable and beautifully appointed with a particularly large bathroom, we were surprised as we had chosen one of the smaller ‘cosy’ rooms.

Our next port of call was the Herb House spa.

The spa itself is vast with several treatment rooms, a mudhouse, sauna, steam room and indoor pool, outdoor pool with sun deck and herb garden and a café. Again the spa mixes traditional with new and the gym is equipped with state of
the art machinery while many of the treatments draw on holistic and Ayurvedic therapies.

As Mr Silver and I were at Lime Wood to spend time together, we opted for the ‘Together in Forest’
treatment in the private couples suite. We started off in the mud house where we were given three different  types of mud to apply to the face, upper body and lower body (and Mr Silver decided inside my ear, too!) the mud house heats into a steam room and the mud begins to melt. After half an hour a gentle shower falls to wash all the mud away and our skin was left feeling incredibly smooth and clean. Mr Silver likened it to the experiences
he’d had slathering on mud in the Dead Sea in Israel.
Next, we were taken into the treatment room where were each analysed by a spa therapist toestablish our individual ‘doshas’ (unique mind and body type) and then given a massage to suit the appropriate character. Next we were given some privacy in the hot tub, after being provided with fruit and herbal tea we were able to relax
and enjoy the beautiful view of the herb garden.

Treatment over, we retired to the room for a bit of relaxation and to get ready for dinner at Hartnett and Holder once again.

The restaurant itself has an informal style, its not ‘cheffy’ for but rather homely and comforting. Starter for Mr Silver was wild mallard carpaccio with trompettes and capers, certainly not something you see on many menus! I went the slightly less adventurous route of aubergine with parsley, feta and thyme (I’m a bit obsessed with aubergines)

Starters were good though I had to clear about three quarters of the feta to avoid feta overload!
Main course was Venison with orzo, spinach and rosemary for Mr Silver, again perfectly rare and tender. Mine was lemon sole with baked clams, the dish had managed to avoid the salt-loving chef and was perfectly seasoned to my
tastes. In fact it was my foodie highlight of our stay. Unfortunately as we were enjoying a rather fine and crisp Chilean Sauvignon Blanc a bit too much we forgot to take pictures of our main courses! With still a small amount of room for dessert Mr Silver ordered a chocolate pudding and I went for an apple fool with home made ice cream. By this point we’d begun a great conversation with the couple on our neighbouring table and paid little attention to the dessert before heading back to the bar for more drinks with Richard and Ben.

Breakfast is always highlight of a hotel stay for me and we enjoyed a buffet of fruit, homemade bread and yogurt which was served in The Scullery adjacent to the bar.

Mr Silver also opted for his usual full English and for me it was poached egg and smoked salmon. Lime Wood is the only hotel in the New Forest with its own Smoke House and they smoke and preserve all their salmon on site. All
the smoke house produce is featured on the bar and restaurant menus too.
It was a beautifully sunny October day so we took advantage of the weather to explore Lime Wood’s beautiful grounds.

 

We didn’t want to leave just yet so we spent the rest of the morning relaxing in the lounge and enjoying the Sunday papers. Where couldn’t resist grazing on some homemade fish fingers.

We decided on a leaner lunch at Raw and Cured, the spa café, where natural healthy food is served. Here we shared a combo of grilled aubergine salad, raw cauliflower and lime cured scallops. All of which were low calorie but high in taste.
And now it was time to say goodbye to lovely, lovely Lime Wood as we jumped into a taxi to Brockenhurst station all ready to start our diets tomorrow…