Easter is one of my favourite times of the year to explore my adoptive country, and even though I've lived in London for over ten years, I had never been to the New Forest, so I thought this year would be perfect to venture there. I had heard good things about Lime Wood, a refurbished Georgian country house come luxury hotel with spa, and booked a couple of suites for my parents, Hubby Dearest, Litttle Monsieur and me just in time before this little gem got booked up.
Our suites were both split-level rooms in the main house, right next to each other, much to the thrill of Little Monsieur who delighted in running from one room to another at all hours of the day. This in itself should tell you that Lime Wood is a very chilled place, totally child-friendly, in fact Little Monsieur was one of many younger visitors, the smallest of which seemed to be no more than four months old.
He had the snuggliest little bed made in the lounge area of our suite, and the all-day menus were easily adaptable to his appetite, though the one dish he particularly enjoyed was an adult-size portion of pancakes he ordered on his first breakfast here... We tapped into the wide children DVD collection for him on Friday, and of course took him swimming in the indoor spa pool, which welcomes children at set times in the day which conveniently fit with the little ones routines.
The location of Lime Wood is absolutely perfect, right on the New Forest, with its hikes, poneys and gorgeous sceneries, but also close to the coast, although the place in itself is so perfect you'd be forgiven not to want to wander much outside of the gates. The grounds are big enough for a little after breakfast walk, with ponds, ducks (which Little Monsieur had no time for, as he wanted to try to coax the fish out of the pond with his new magnetic toy fishing rod!)
We had a couple of meals here, including a delicious afternoon tea, all in the light-filled courtyard, which is the setting to a pretty cool bar. But for me the scullery where breakfast was served was the centerpiece. It's the perfect setting for the perfect meal. I loved it. We sampled the buffet (yummy), the aforementioned pancakes (Little Monsieur still raves about them), the eggs benedict (perfect hollandaise) and a porridge so nice I wish I had asked for the recipe.
I guess my only regret is that I didn't have time to try the spa, which I hear is incredible, but this stay was more about family time and less about me time, so maybe next time... it did look very nice, and the treatments sounded really nice, even though the ladies who tended the spa reception were a bit too chilly and haughty for comfort when we came across them on our way to the pool. Haphazard service was the only real low in our stay: some employees were incredibly helpful and sweet, like the waiters in the courtyard or the reception staff, others, like the scullery waitresses, were miserable. I'll put it down to them having to work on a Sunday morning and give them the benefit of the doubt, and will certainly be back regardless, because the majority of the staff did everything they could to make us feel at home (a very nice and luxurious one, it's true).
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Hampshire SO43 7FZ
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