Lot of Love, Fifi
My recent visit to Lime Wood Hotel in Hampshire was such a treat. My trip had been organised with military precison and had been in the diary for a few months. The timing of my stay turned out to be perfect…. get your violins ready people …. all I will say is end of term craziness, school inductions, busy blog, burning candle at both ends and regular day to day life in the Fifi Friendly household had left me feeling frazzled. I was looking forward to it so much that I basically had a Lime Wood countdown on …. I could pretty much tell you at any point how many days and hours it was until I went! On the day of my arrival at Lime Wood, I left Heathrow as early as possible with the vague hope that I would arrive in time to catch something light to eat before my treatment in the Herb House Spa.
I was surprised how easy it was to get to Lime Wood from London. However, much to my annoyance a dithering and time wasting car hire company at Heathrow ….. (how can it take 90 minutes to pick up a hire car! ….. especially when it was still dirty)…….meant that my longed for and lovely chilled out time before my treatment was not to happen. Instead I arrived just in time for my 11am treatment at the Spa. Don’t get me wrong this was not going to spoil my delight of arriving. I was practically skipping.
The drive up to Lime Wood is stunning. I knew fairly instantly that I was going to love this place…. I first got this feeling driving through the front gate. Little did I know how much I would enjoy the next 22 hours and 42 minutes in the care of the lovely people at Lime Wood. Outside, it was about 27 degrees when I arrived and I was to be there on the most glorious sunny day. I suspect though, that Lime Wood would be a welcome sight at the end of the drive in any weather!
These guys know how to let you arrive. I drove up to the front door and was met by the ever so friendly and helpful Cameron. He offered to take the car and the bags so I could head straight to the Herb House Spa. He even supplied a small Lime Wood bag to decant any necessaries into. Sadly in my rush to leave for Lime Wood from Heathrow, I omitted to put my swimwear and things I needed for the spa at the top of my bag. I quickly discovered it is hard to look refined …. as you rummage to the bottom of your suitcase in the compact space of a car boot!
The Herb House Spa at Lime Wood is a few steps from the main building and is like a fabulous retreat. The smell as you walk in is light, refreshing, relaxing and just perfect….. ( warning…. the word perfect may feature a lot). I have no idea what they thought of me arriving, but I let them know in no uncertain terms that I had been looking froward to this visit for a long time. I was then given a short tour of the facilities which are on 3 floors and cover 22,000 square feet. I managed …. just …. to contain my excitement…. who am I kidding I was hyper. As you may see from the amount of pictures ….. I wanted to capture as much on my new Sony camera as possible (….. lesson learned…. think of the editing at the other end!).
All of the product houses used at The Herb House at Lime Wood have holistic well-being at their heart, these include the natural and Ayurvedic ranges of Bamford, Voya, Pai, Aromatherapy Associates and Tri-Dosha.
My day was the Re-balance with Bamford De-stress Day Spa. The Herb House is the first spa to offer Bamford treatments outside of it’s wonderful home, The Daylesford Haybarn Spa. Included in my day was a 60 minutes Bamford De-Stress Massage, full use of the Spa facilities and lunch in Raw & Cured … the delicious cafe housed within. It was great also to learn that with this Day Spa you get complimentary soft drinks, tea and coffee. Just what I needed for the very hot day ahead.
I made my way to the changing rooms downstairs to get ready for my treatment. Each locker had a dressing gown, bottle of water, flip flops and a towel. It was super easy to find an empty locker to use …. plus point as it is frustrating to start a spa day walking around tirelessly trying to find a locker. There was also plenty of room to hang your clothes up. One of the things I find hardest about reviewing a spa is you always want to take pictures every step of the way, but this is challenging to do in changing rooms, pools and saunas with other people trying to relax there. Always best to avoid any awkward conversations as to why you are taking pictures!
I managed to take a couple of shots in the changing rooms…. stealthily if I do say so myself….. when no-one was in view. (Any other shots were taken when I went early the next morning). The changing rooms are cool, dark lit, relaxing and with some awesome showers at the far end. The main product house in the changing rooms is Bamford, which is has such a lovely natural range. When I was ready I made my way to meet with Chelsea, who was to look after me for the next hour. What I loved about Limewood & The Herb House Spa so far was how un-stuffy it felt. The staff were welcoming, friendly and smiley, without being saccharin. I instantly felt relaxed, even though I was still incredibly excited to be there. The walkway to the treatment rooms was so bright and airy and the treatment rooms themselves were beautiful too.
My treatment, the Bamford De-Stress Massage, was a sublime combination of shiatsu, meridian and Swedish massage. It serves to relieve tension, awaken positive energy to help cleanse the body of toxins and restore vitality. This was just what I needed. The treatment started with my feet being put in a bath soak whilst Chelsea and I discussed my form I had filled in. It was here that she explained what would experience in the next 60 minutes.
I am one of these people that rarely falls asleep in treatments the first time I have them. Truth be told I am normally too interested to learn about each part of the treatment as it happens. This de-stress treatment was to be no different, but that does not mean it was was not relaxing. It was wonderfully de-stressing, went by in a flash, I felt light afterwards and my skin smelt amazing.
I totally lucked out on the sunny day I visited Lime Wood. So idyllic to take full advantage of the swimming pool with opening bi-fold doors, outdoor hot tub, outdoor sun loungers, rooftop herb garden and also the in house spa cafe – Raw and Cured – which which opened out to an outdoor terrace. The only room I knew I would not be using was the spectacular looking gym which looked out on some amazing views. Sadly, I left my trainers at home but was surprised how drawn to use the gym I was…. so not like me. The vibe of this place was beginning to make me think of three of my favourite hotels combined into one. Was this to become my favourite hotel? Or was this too good to be true?
If you had told me before that I would be loving my raw food lunch and that I would feel my hunger satisfied by it, I would have been sceptical. The food was quite simply awesome when it came. Who knew that vegan, raw and healthy food could be so tasty, so filling and exquisite. I also loved that a lot of the food was garden grown. I would definitely eat more food like this if I had this on my doorstep or knew how to do it well. These Raw Chefs were amazing. Loved their passion for the food they produce. So easy to get involved with it.
The only thing I would point out as a negative was that although the staff in Raw & Cured were beyond helpful, polite, friendly…. it was apparent that they really needed more staff to help them out. I had a bit of a wait for my food, but there a few others who were waiting over 40 minutes for their meals to arrive. Needless to say they did not feel like this was what they expected of a boutique 5 star house hotel.
Later on while I was ordering a coffee and juice, I overheard a member of the spa taking the General Manager to task about the situation. It seemed she was not the only member of the spa to be frustrated. This was the first time I had really seen management in the area and it was a shame they could not have been around to help the awesome team out earlier.
The heat treatments in the Herb House spa are AMAZEBALLS!! ( I tried to come up with a better way to describe them and a way that is perhaps more professional but I failed). The area was much larger than I thought. I loved the gorgeous views overlooking the forest from the sauna and hydropool. The caldrium, the steam room, the outdoor steaming hot pool and the indoor pool were all blissfully enjoyed. Such a treat for my body.
One of my favourite places at the Herb House was the rooftop Herbery. This herb garden screams relaxation. It’s sundeck had the most amazingly comfy loungers in the world. Lying on them I felt everywhere around me was unbelievably peaceful. I could have stayed there for hours. It was very easy to have a cheeky little doze off! I would love to be there right now. Fresh air, relaxation, comfort and sunshine …. blissful.
The Herb House at Lime Wood is sublime. I would love to come back with my best friends …. they would love it here …. I made sure I Whatsapped them a load of pictures on the day to see what they were missing…. (moo ha ha). The Herb House Spa is optimum health and well-being …. and then some. The food tasted amazing. The Herbery roof top garden was so relaxing, one of the best places ever to unwind to the max. The spa facilities, Curated by Lime Wood and the welcoming staff were all top notch. I can’t wait to go back. I loved my first Bamford treatment. It was everything I expected and more. I can see myself having another one when I visit again.
Next time I promise I will take advantage of the state of the art gym, do yoga on the roof top and maybe use the Mud House or Bath House private treatment rooms for couples. I am also really interested to hear about the Matt Roberts fitness Retreat in October. Looking forward to coming back to see you again the Herb House… and I hope soon!
To find out more about the Herb House go to www.limewoodhotel.co.uk/pamper