Two weeks ago on a sunny Friday morning I was lucky enough to be hauling my bag onto the Wightlink Ferry, with Bodhi trotting along behind me, headed for a beautiful lodge on the Isle of Wight. Our home for a few days would be the rather idyllic Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat; a Hoseasons site nestled close to Fishbourne, at the end of a long, winding country road, surrounded by forests and coastline. I took a friend with me and we couldn’t wait for some forest-based relaxation on the Isle of Wight.
We arrived around lunchtime on the Friday, and whilst the lovely people on site fussed Bodhi and told us our room would soon be ready, we went and sat in the decking of their onsite bar enjoying a cold cider in the afternoon sunshine. Lodges on the site are situated deep in the woodland right up to just beyond the shoreline, so it really feels as if you’ve found a little slice of British paradise – complete with artisan pizza, a country club restaurant and a stylish bar.
We stayed in one of their Nettlestone lodges, which come complete with a four poster bed, with French doors opening onto a balcony with a hot tub. This is definitely not camping, or even glamping – this felt seriously indulgent.
Hoseasons had kindly filled up the fridge with goodies (even with dog treats for Bodhi!) so upon arrival, lazing in the hot tub with a glass of champagne was definitely in order (not that the journey was particularly stressful – the ferry only takes 45 minutes from Portsmouth and cost £21). It was a huge advantage that I could take Bodhi – all of the lodges take up to two pets and Bodhi was more than happy lounging on the decking whilst we relaxed in the hot tub.
On the Friday evening we wandered up to their restaurant for dinner. We had a three course meal including steak (cooked to perfection) and a delicious cheesecake. Of course after all that eating, it had to be followed by a soak in the hot tub. Lying under the stars, drinking fizz and staring up at the trees was an experience I’ll remember for some time (I even downloaded an app to find out the names of all of the stars – geek for life!)
In the morning it was time for a brisk walk to burn off some of the onion rings and chips from the night before! There is a woodland walk right from the Hoseasons site, and it’s an amazing way to blow away the cobwebs in the morning. The beach at the bottom of the site was totally empty and it just felt like you were in the middle of nowhere. It was totally relaxing to sit for some time and watch the boats go by.
We cooked a huge brunch in the lodge (the kitchen is incredibly modern and perfect for long leisurely breakfasts) and then it was time for a bit of pampering. Onsite there is an Aromatherapy Associates spa, where you can get massages, facials, scrubs get your nails done and a wide variety of other beauty treatments. I chose the Aromatherapy Massage – a one-hour treatment where we selected essential oils based on my needs and lifestyle, which were then included in a full body massage featuring the essential oils, body oils and other products. It was totally blissful – I nearly fell asleep at one point! The therapist was incredible and I left feeling like I was on cloud nine (or – a cloud nine surrounded by stunning woodland, bathed in warm sunshine!)
After the treatments we went on a long walk with Bodhi, and since it was a beautiful, warm summer’s day, we had to stop at the pub en route to keep ourselves hydrated. The area around the site is very quiet, with boats bobbing on the shore and a few country pubs and restaurants. We spent the afternoon and evening munching on yummy food from the shops, taking dips in the hot tub and watching films on the huge TV in the lounge.
Sadly on the Sunday morning it was time to wave our woodland lodge goodbye. I was incredibly sad to be leaving our temporary home complete with swish interiors and huge hot tub! Why isn’t drinking champagne in a hot tub a more frequent activity?
I am desperate to go back and visit Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat again soon – I found it gave me amazing headspace just to be away from civilisation and enjoying complete relaxation. It was incredibly upmarket and felt like a chic, modern getaway rather than anything you might expect from staying in a lodge. You can stay there for a week from £325, which I would call good value! I’ll definitely be going back in the summer when they have their al fresco artisan pizza area open, as well as their South African Barbecue Restaurant which looks and sounded absolutely amazing. I can’t imagine anything more idyllic than sitting outside on a warm summer’s evening and enjoying a ‘food safari’ of barbecue food.
Have you visited the Isle of Wight? If not – you must, it really is so pretty and the perfect UK getaway. I would massively recommend a Hoseasons stay if you are thinking of hopping across the Solent.
Oh AND – we made a little video of out stay, flawlessly edited by the wonderful Rosie Lord. I hope you enjoy it!