Lime Wood Hotel, the Finest Tonic for a New Year

I used to dread the New Year, oft-hungover I’d be frightened of what lay ahead feeling festively plump after too-good a Christmas. 2017 into 2018 however, I started with a slightly different attitude; I wanted to embrace the new start realign how I see January. This month is all about you and making time for yourself, to recover and refresh from the year passed and dare I say the buzzword of 2018, to make time for ‘self-care.’

Towards the end of 2017 I received a special invitation from my friends at Seedlip to enjoy a night at Lime Wood Hotel, a destination that premium travel club Mr & Mrs Smith describe to be ‘a stately pile of perfection, with primly landscaped grounds, devotedly designed interiors, a super spa and a tantalising restaurant.’ We went, we ate, we relaxed and now my husband is evangelical (a man who has never been to a spa) about the merits of relaxing and taking some time, so much so he is on the lookout for a steam and sauna in Hackney. This hotel is stately, luxurious and an expensive treat but you can sign up for special offers too, speaking of which keep an eye on Mr & Mrs Smith’s offers as well!

I digress. In a bid to relive our mini-break I’ve put together something of a photo diary, from Lime Wood’s stately grounds to the interiors, Angela Hartnett’s restaurant and of course what I packed for our stay.

The bathroom interior is serene and luxurious: clean white, marble tiles and surface tops as well as huge windows and mirrors, flooding it in light.
The first thing I did on arriving? I ran a bath, potent with Bamford salts, sat and soaked.
Preening pre-dinner. Wearing Topshop Spot Swirl Plisse Top £30Finery Lilian Autumn Leaf Earrings £39 and Charlotte Tilbury’s bright orange-red ‘Tell Laura’ lipstick.
I know, the vanity of it! Every time I went to the loo I would get lost for at least 15 minutes photographing the paintings, frames, fabrics, wallpaper or umm, myself.
The chicest bar on arrival into Harnett Holder & Co, the hotel’s Italian restaurant headed up by celebrated British chef Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder. ‘Please may I have a Seedlip ‘n’ tonic with a wedge of grapefruit?’
It’s hard to describe both the tastes and experience of Harnett Holder & Co without sounding wildly sycophantic so I’ll keep it short: seasonal, comforting, welcoming, buttery, fragrant – it really was the finest food and service I’ve ever had.
I managed to sweet-talk my way into the kitchen; here’s the chef’s table which you can book for dinner and eat right in the heart of the kitchen – next time!
It was busy, hot and smelt like rosemary and butter and this was when they were in-between lunch and dinner.
If you can spend an entire day in a dressing gown, you do it, right?
In the Herb House you’ll find the spa and Hydro Pool area which has a sauna, steam room and huge hot stone, all overlooking the forest; it feels like you’ve not only escaped the daily grind but also found, literally, heaven on earth.
Raw and Cured, the place to eat where everything is fresh from Lime Wood’s garden. Our lunch was so fantastic we asked for the recipe to their corn bread and plan (well, will try to) make it at home.
Refreshing, sharp and feels indulgent without being alcoholic, do you know Seedlip? The alcohol-free spirit that is distilled in the same way as gin but doesn’t cause tears and a hangover.
Salmon tartare with dill and cucumber, courgette noodles with chilli and feta, fresh bread and locally-sourced ham and a cornbread avocado and roasted tomato sandwich. Encore encore!
Wearing: Topshop Cropped Fringe Boucle Jacket £59, Cos Skinny Fit Cropped Jeans in Dark Blue £59, Camilla Elphick Zip Me UP Boots NOW IN SALE £219.
Wearing: Topshop Cropped Fringe Boucle Jacket £59, Cos Skinny Fit Cropped Jeans in Dark Blue £59, Camilla Elphick Zip Me UP Boots NOW IN SALE £219.
A room with a leafy view and tea for two.
They’ve thought of everything to make sure your stay is the best it can possibly be. No wellies? That’s fine, head to the Boot Room and choose your Hunter’s (and they even have tiny ones for children.)
The hotel is literally nested in the middle of the forest; it’s trees and horses as far as the eye can see.
Wearing H&M, shop similar styles here. 

Thank you very much to Ben, Ellie and Seedlip for inviting us to Lime Wood Hotel and the staff for making our stay an unforgettable experience.