Doing it in Period: Lime Wood Hotel, Hampshire
It was just amazing, I tell my green-tinged boyfriend. Amazing is a selfish word; it gives nothing, but manages to be scattered liberally across conversation. I probably should have taken him and not my mother. Oh well. The transformation of this Georgian house to a luxury getaway was funded by billionaire Jim Ratcliffe through architects Charles Morris and Ben Penreath and designer David Collins.
The result is a country house hotel that surpasses. You can choose from bedrooms in the main house or in garden lodges. We were in the latter, some of which are on two levels and all have sitting rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms with a free-standing baths and rain showers.
On arrival, the porter lights the open fire as we tuck into welcome wine and nibbles. Morning papers and stoked fires whilst you dine are offered. The period-styled porters add to the manor-house feel, topped off with tweed flat caps. Indeed, staying at Lime Wood is a bit like dipping into Downton Abbey. That is, until you enter the spa, Herb House, which is decked out with state-of-the-art equipment including three types of swimming pools.
The nosh is also top-notch, as are the locations in which to eat. Theres a scullery for breakfast, a raw bar in the spa for healthy eating, a glass-roofed courtyard for afternoon tea, and a smart restaurant for dinner. At dinner, we laugh our way through celeriac soup, scallops and seabass as our colourful waiter speaks to my mother in Italian and to me in Spanish. In honour of European languages, we order black olive ganache for pudding.
After the hunt departed – yes, of course they have a hunt – we headed to the spa for the Voya Wrap & Plunge, a couples treatment, which involves lying side-by-side being wrapped in seaweed before having full-body massages. Finally, a soak in a the tub overlooking the woodland – an experience perhaps more romantic with the boyfriend than my mother! Floating out of the spa, we decide to make the most of the fresh air with a bike ride. Grabbing a couple of bicycles leaning up against the garden wall, we peddle off to look for wild ponies and perhaps an authentic yokel with a Dray horse. A weekend at Lime Wood makes the city seem a world (or a century) away.