The term country house hotel can conjure up images of crumbling Edwardian piles with drafty rooms, threadbare furnishings, and a culinary oeuvre that trades heavily on spotted dick and bangers and mash. Lime Wood—a voguish 29-room gem helmed by hotelier Robin Hutson, formerly of the classic country retreat Chewton Glen—defies the stereotypes.
Situated among wooded glades in the heart of the New Forest, an hour-and-a-half drive from London, Lime Wood is the product of a deft transformation of a Regency country house. Its five-year, $48 million reinvention included the addition of three ancillary buildings by architect Charles Morris (known for designing the Orchard Room at Prince Charles’ Highgrove House). The hotel, which opened in November, features the obligatory fireplaces but breaks the country house mold with stylish interiors by David Collins Studio. Plush velvety seating areas in royal blue and abstract paintings abound. Lime Wood also offers a pair of eateries by Alex Aitken, former head chef of the Michelin-starred country restaurant Le Poussin in nearby Brockenhurst. Lime Wood, +44.23. 8028.7177, www.limewoodhotel.co.uk