The Jewish Chronicle - - Life/travel -

This south coast haven hides its virtues like a Vic­to­rian bride. All you see from the A337 into Lyn­d­hurst is a French bistro and a few hedges di­vid­ing it from the col­lege cam­pus next door. A short drive into the green­ery and you’re pre­sented with a coun­try house where a wood-pan­elled re­cep­tion gives way to long 70s mo­tel-style cor­ri­dors.

But it’s at the rear where this for­mer hunt­ing lodge comes into its own. A £6 mil­lion up­grade in the mid 90s added a size­able — and award­win­ning — ori­en­tal spa.

It’s staffed by smi­ley Thai ther­a­pists, packed with a pot pourri of themed ar­eas such as a crys­tal steam room and an ice room in a swish tiled maze of a build­ing.

Spa-break­ers and busi­ness types rub along nicely; the for­mer en­joy­ing break­fast in their bathrobes to Asian tones piped into the ap­pro­pri­ately named Zen Gar­den while the lat­ter en­joy the full English in a large, airy din­ing room.

There’s a green feel to the place. Staff of­fer ad­vice on walk­ing and cy­cle routes through the for­est around Brock­en­hurst and there’s even a dis­count for those who leave the car at home and use the train (they’ll pop out and get you).

The rooms have a fairly un­pre­ten­tious feel, are de­cent four-star qual­ity and many have bal­conies or French win­dows lead­ing to a com­mu­nal gar­den.

The bistro at the front has a quirky feel, with a pri­vate area to the side com­plete with Parisi­enne mu­ral and vin­tage Citroen rammed into a wall in pop arty a sort of way. Just don’t go on a Fri­day. The lo­cal lan­guage club meet for cof­fee, crois­sants and a se­ri­ous natter en français.

Careys manor: do­ing its best to go green in the for­est with an award-winning spa

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