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Spa Guide

Spa Of The Month: Herb House Spa At Lime Wood Hotel

Set within the pony-clad New Forest National Park, Lime Wood Hotel is permanently abuzz with well-heeled Londoners and discerning locals alike.

With sumptuous suites and laid-back, but luxurious restaurants, it will take little persuading to upgrade your day trip to the Herb House Spa to an overnight (or even longer) sojourn.


A smart country pile, full of Regency character and bedecked in climbing wisteria, Lime Wood Hotel is instantly impressive. It successfully executes what all five-star hotels want to achieve: meticulous attention to detail and impeccable service without any stuffiness, instantly putting guests at ease and making them feel right at home.


Relaxation is practically mandatory at Herb House Spa. An ode to the beautiful forest surrounds, it focuses on natural, holistic wellbeing. This ethos is thematic throughout the indoor-outdoor design and the treatments themselves. Speaking to my therapist, she tells me people often visit from far and wide just for a facial – but, trust me, you’ll want to linger longer, thanks to the impressive array of amenities spread across three floors.

The outdoor heated jacuzzi pool is lined with giant olive plants and loungers. A social, but serene spot, time here was punctuated with peals of laughter from delighted guests. There is a large 16m indoor pool, for languid lengths, whilst vigorous jets of water mollify tense muscles in the hydrotherapy pool. There’s a mud bath and steam room too, whilst the large wooden sauna, lined with tree trunks, offers a moment of tranquility with breathtaking forest views thrown in for good measure. Atop the spa sits the calm-inducing herb garden where fragrant notes of lavender, mint, and sage make for a meditative spot.

There is a state of the art rooftop gym, filled with Technogym equipment to burn off last night’s calories, and personal trainers are on hand to put you through your paces if you are in need of a little encouragement. Look out for a roster of complimentary group exercise classes from gentle Pilates and yoga, to high energy aqua fitness, spin classes, and circuits.

Feeling a little peckish? The spa’s restaurant, Raw & Cured allows you to nibble on nutrient-rich, virtuous dishes, like cumin and carrot hummus with crudites or raw salad. If detox to retox is more your style, sip on a glass of Hambledon English fizz whilst you recline on the lime green poolside loungers; you’re off-duty after all…


Herb House was the first spa to offer Bamford body and skincare treatments outside of the original Bamford Wellness Spa at Daylesford, and it remains a key draw. I opted for the Bamford De-Stress Massage: 60 heavenly minutes in which my body was soothingly pummelled with the signature geranium oil, working away at areas of tension and improving circulation. I floated off of the gently warmed bed feeling cloudlike.

Aside from the stellar line up of Bamford facials and massages, the spa’s restorative treatments champion an array of boutique luxury British brands, including VOYA, which uses wild, hand-harvested seaweed hand-picked from the coastline of North West Ireland and Skinesis by London’s elite facialist, Sarah Chapman. Indeed, Herb House is the only outpost aside from Chapman’s Chelsea clinic where you can experience the wonders of a Sarah Chapman glow-inducing facial: a cocktail of LED, her famous gymnastics massage technique, and high-performance products. We can guess the waitlist may be a little shorter here too…


There are 33 rooms in total, from romantic boltholes to family suites. The Forest Hideaway Suites are best for romantic getaways, nestled in the grounds away from the hubbub of the main house. These two-floor luxe cottages are kitted out with four-poster beds, cosy fireplaces, and free-standing roll-top baths; bathrooms are stocked with fragrant Bamford products – an extension of the spa offering.

Susie Atkinson, of Soho House fame, has recently brought her own stylish sense of comfort and calm to all bedrooms – think botanic prints across soft furnishing and patterned wallpapers – for a sophisticated take on countryside chic.

Expect a well-stocked pantry equipped with all you need to make an expert Martini, as well as other alcoholic beverages, plus local shortbread and kitsch treats to appeal to your inner child  – we’re talking Jelly Babies, Tunnock’s teacakes and more.


Self-confessed foodies will be delighted to hear that Lime Wood’s gastronomic offering is just as spectacular as its spa. The Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder restaurant, Hartnett Holder & Co, is a masterclass in laid-black luxury, serving a stylish and unpretentious menu of relaxed Italian dishes, using seasonal produce and local ingredients, including cured meats made in the on-site smokehouse. Hearty beef rib to share, followed by light polenta and pistachio cake are decadent menu highlights.

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The Courtyard Bar, designed by Martin Brudnizki, is the beating heart of the hotel, with vivid orange Chesterfield seating, mosaic floors, and a retractable glass ceiling through which light pours. Here, affable waiters whip up classic cocktails with a twist for a potent nightcap.

By morning, take breakfast in The Scullery, tucking into the flakiest, XL croissants, fresh fruits, and cereals, chased with freshly blended smoothies and juices. If you are after something more substantial opt for the hearty gypsy eggs with chorizo or Welsh rarebit made with locally sourced cheese.


With surrounding nature trails begging to be explored, life at Lime Wood Hotel is all about immersing oneself in nature. It’s easy to be cajoled outside with Hunter wellies and waterproofs available to borrow free of charge from the boot room.

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