Get pampered and fed in style in the New Forest

Soak up the country life at the new Lime Wood country house hotel in the New Forest, with fabulous rooms and luxury dining.

Lime Wood in the New Forest may have been open for only 18 months, but it has already attracted devoted followers. Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum even got married there. I can see why since my visit last month I've been recommending it to just about everyone. The reason it is so popular is best summed up by Fiona Duncan in The Daily Telegraph it "bridges the gap between the tweedy traditional country house of yore and taxingly cool Babington and its ilk".

The hotel has been created from the shell of a Georgian house in a secluded location on the edge of the New Forest. The bedrooms in the main building boast large inviting beds and en-suite bathrooms filled with luxury products. There are also plenty of individually styled rooms in the other buildings that dot the grounds. The pavilions, for example, offer freestanding baths in bay windows and fabulous views of the forest. Meanwhile, the Crescent rooms have back doors that lead straight into the forest and fabulous open fireplaces. For families, on the other hand, the Coach House's interconnecting rooms are ideal.

But don't spend all evening admiring your room make sure you try out the dining room. I can particularly recommend the seven-course tasting menu. Every course is paired with a different fine wine, bringing the total cost to a hefty £119 per person. However, it is worth every penny. My dinner ranged from exquisite milk-fed lamb through to some fine English cheeses in short it was a food-lover's treat. The wine selection was fantastic too, and included the odd surprise such as a delicious English sparkler.

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The latest addition to the hotel is the Herb House Spa, which is located in a separate building within the grounds. The spa itself has been carefully designed with some excellent outdoor areas including a sun terrace with hot tub and a rooftop herb garden with sun loungers.

A variety of well-thought out treatments are on offer. I had the Bamford Signature Treatment. It costs £125 and involves little more than relaxing for two hours while you are exfoliated from head to toe and then massaged. I was left in a practically catatonic state my skin still feels great weeks later.

A double room costs from £245 per night on a room-only basis. For more information visit or call 023-8028 7199.

Three other luxury country house hotels


Chewton Glen

This hotel in Hampshire "isn't as imposing as some posh country pads", says The Times. It has a "homely vibe" with log fires and mahogany bookcases inside the wisteria-wrapped building. The spa has "idyllic views". Doubles from £329 (


Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

This Oxfordshire hotel and restaurant is the "multifaceted, munificent realm" of Raymond Blanc, says The Telegraph. The chef has created a two Michelin-starred restaurant and a luxury hotel with "lavish, gently themed bedrooms". A double starts from £460 (


Babington House

This sister hotel to London's Soho House in Somerset is TV star Ben Shephard's favourite because "it's always incredible and the walled gardens are a luxury". The spa is one of the best in the country. Doubles cost from £320 for non-members (