When I first moved to the UK last year, I dreamt of luxury weekends at country estates that included copious amounts of pampering, horse riding and indulging in delicious healthy food. The beds would feel like soft clouds, there would be a fabulous day spa and of course loads of healthy activities.
My dreams came true after visiting Limewood in New Forest last month. It’s quintessentially British, but offers all the facilities and food options for the modern day wellness yogi. You could host a lavish hens weekend, a yoga retreat or even a wedding at this spectacular property. In my case, it was a 24 hour health getaway with my girlfriend Amy.
Limewood is a short train ride from London, about 1.5 hours to be exact. We arrived at Brackenhurst train station where we had a taxi waiting for us to whisk us away (Limewood is only 10 minutes down the road).
What can I say about my first impressions. Other than the obvious grand entrance and luxurious green surroundings, I was genuinely blown away by the friendly and welcoming attitude of the staff. We were checked in by a smiley team member at reception and then she escorted us to our Forest Suite which was beyond adorable and spacious.
Champagne, wine, fruits and sweets greeted us as well as a huge king sized bed fit for royalty (or two girlfriends). It felt more like a small apartment than a hotel room, as the Forest Suite included a separate sitting room, a double sized bathroom and oversized bath tub. This bathroom was definitely bigger than my entire room back in London. Bamford organic beauty products were generously sprinkled around the room and we also had a private outdoor sitting area which overlooked a peaceful lush garden. We unpacked a little before slipping off to the Herb Spa for some 5 star pampering.
You are spoilt for choice for treatments at the Herb House with a 48 page spa brochure including the best holistic and Ayurvedic therapies available in the UK. We opted for the “Mud House” treatment which is a perfect for a couple or two friends. The mud house experience is in a private tiled sauna room where you self apply 3 types of muds to your entire body. One for the face, décolletage and lower body. Each mud works differently to optimise the detoxifying process. To start, you begin the experience with a head to toe body scrub which literally leaves your skin feeling brand new. After the scrub, you apply the three different muds and then sit in the hot steamy room to let the hot air penetrate your pores. After about 45 minutes of chatting away, a refreshing rain shower cleanses the mud from your body, leaving you completely rejuvenated. It’s definitely worth trying when you visit. I would call the Mud House UK’s version of a head to toe cleansing treatment, almost like a luxury Turkish hammam.
Now the pampering doesn’t stop there, the Herb house has a communal sauna, steam room, cold shower, hydrotherapy spa and lap pool. So if you don’t want to break the budget you could treat yourself to a sauna-steam-shower cycle to get the circulation going. And don’t worry if you forget your your workout gear or bathers (like I did) as there is a fully stocked boutique including a curated collection of fitness gear, candles and gifts.
After all of our pampering, it was time for some indulgence at the Hartnett Holder & Co hotel restaurant. It’s ultimately a British style cuisine with an Italian influence overlooking the green grounds. It’s more of a relaxed atmosphere than your fine dining experience, but don’t let that fool you. The decor, service and food is on par or above a Michelin style restaurant probably because both chefs have a few stars under their belts. The ingredients are super fresh and sourced locally which I loved. We opted to share a few dishes including the impressive baked bream, lobster spaghetti, courgettes fries and salad.
The main hotel house has many other rooms to chill out, take a light lunch or host a private dinner. The parties and events possibilities at Limewood Hotel are just endless.
After an afternoon of pampering and indulging, we sent ourselves to bed for an early night. The fitness schedule for the next morning was full, so we wanted to ensure we had plenty of rest and lots of energy.
We rose early after a beautiful sleep and enjoyed both the continental breakfast as well as the a la carte menu. You’ll find your traditional english breakfast as well as some more wellness warrior options. Avocado & eggs was my choice of goodness before our workout session.
I haven’t stayed at a hotel which had so many fitness options to choose from. Their schedule included rooftop yoga, eight fitness classes daily, a gym overlooking the garden and there was also the option of personal training. We opted for a weights circuit followed by a 1.5 hour restorative yoga and meditation session. And to top it off with finished the morning with 30 minutes in the sauna & steam room.
We couldn’t leave the hotel without testing at least half of the menu from the restaurant adjoining the Herb House. The more relaxed Raw and Cured restaurant boast an entire menu that is either raw or cured (funny that). Their food sourcing policy is simple: quality, seasonal and sustainable. We quenched our thirst with a wellness elixir and then tantalised our tastebuds with a spread of salads, fresh tuna sashimi and raw vegetable sushi. Of course we couldn’t go past the raw carrot cake to finish off our Limewood experience.
Unfortunately on the weekend we visited, it was raining and drizzly so we missed out on exploring the area. Limewood have numerous walking trails, bikes to rent and a generous range of hunter boots to loan. There are also loads of horse riding facilities near by. We were fortunate for a little ray of sunshine right before we left so we had a little wander around the grounds and had a play on the swings. I’ll definitely be making another trip down to Limewood for a bout of wellness and fresh country air.
Luxury interiors combined with a welcoming country vibe makes Limewood THE perfect destination for your weekend wellness getaway. Their tagline is “they don’t do average, so expect nothing less.”
Visit the Limewood Hotel website for more details and to book your wellness getaway.
Phoebe Greenacre was a sponsored guest of the Limewood Hotel in May 2015.