IT opened three years ago after a massive £30m facelift and famously hosted the weddings of music stars Noel Gallagher and Jamie Cullum.

Now the exclusive Lime Wood venue in the New Forest has been crowned AA Hotel of the Year England at a glittering awards ceremony hosted by BBC presenter Kate Silverton.
Owned by billionaire businessman Jim Ratcliffe, the former Parkhill Hotel near Lyndhurst has been hailed as the last word in five-star luxury.

An AA spokesman said: “Lime Wood is a delightful property with a true country house feel where rooms have been fitted with no expense spared.

“There are 14 suites and 15 bedrooms, many of which have real fires, free-standing baths and private gardens or balconies overlooking the New Forest. Guests can also enjoy the world-class spa, with treatment rooms and an impressive hydro pool and sauna.

“This hotel truly sets the scene for the future of country houses: hi-tech, traditional, unpretentious yet outstanding at the same time.”

Lime Wood received its accolade at the AA Hospitality Awards, an annual event at which the Hampshire-based motoring organising salutes Britain’s best establishments. There were separate categories for the top hotels in Wales, Scotland and London.

Lime Wood’s manager, Robin Hutson, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be recognised in this way.

“While only two hours from London we’re lucky to be nestled deep in the New Forest National Park and guests can enjoy being surrounded by the ancient forest.”Lime Wood opened in 2009 after undergoing a £30m revamp – more than £1m a bedroom.

The hotel, which charges between £245 and £775 a night, made headlines in June last year when Noel Gallagher married long-term partner Sara MacDonald. A year earlier it was the venue for the wedding of singer Jamie Cullum and model Sophie Dahl.

Lime Wood is not the only New Forest establishment celebrating success at this year’s awards.
Hand Picked Hotels, which owns Rhinefield House near Brockenhurst, was named AA Large Hotel Group of the Year.

Jonathan Owen, Rhinefield’s general manager, said: “Each hotel is encouraged to be highly individual. We make the most of our wonderful location, sourcing local produce and encouraging our guests to cycle, walk or ride in the New Forest.”

The Green House in Bournemouth was crowned AA Eco Hotel of the Year at the awards ceremony, held at the London Hilton.