It is based in Walkeringham, North Nottinghamshire, offering a unique romantic waterside, woodland, spa experience. situated alongside the picturesque, green flag awarded, Chesterfield Canal, a site of special scientific interest.
The site was opened in August 2020, by husband-and-wife Ronnie and Josephine Lee. This was a family adventure with the aim being of spending time together with their nine-year-old daughter (who loves her role as security) after a life changing terminal cancer diagnosis, things came to a head with the cancer two years ago when Ronnie had to have spinal surgery, basically to rebuild his failing spine, since the surgery he now struggles with mobility.
Ronnie refuses to just give in and is out and about meeting guests and helping as much as he can. The philosophy for Hawthorn Hideaway is to focus on family, relationships, and community. They want to provide somewhere for couples to “reconnect, recharge and come away feeling so snuggly and rejuvenated”, in the words of one their guest couples.
Prior to opening their new venture Ronnie had spent almost 30 years working in live music, and during that time has worked with bands such as; Green Day, Robbie Williams, Maroon 5, The Specials, Kings Of Leon, The Black Keys, Rammstein and Eminem: “I really want our customers to feel like they are getting the VIP treatment, and that’s what we try to do at Hawthorn Hideaway, I’m used to dealing with people who have the highest expectations, and delivering, and that’s what our guests get.”
There are just two lodges (Swan and Owl Lodge) and a very special canal boat called Kingfisher, all are self-catering with en-suites and fully equipped kitchens. All have wood-burners as well as central heating, each unit has its own private hot tub and outdoor garden area with day bed and a fire bowl BBQ.
Inside the cabins they really have tried to think of everything. With the boat Kingfisher, they are trying to offer something different and exceptional. You can visit for a few days, take the boat for a cruise, but then come back and moor to enjoy all the luxury there is on offer.
Josephine continues to juggle working as a GP, being a part time carer for Ronnie and a full time mother to their daughter Melody, she has used her skills in caring for people holistically to cater to their guests, ensuring a relaxing and natural environment, healthy, fresh and local food, good sleep, privacy and space for couples to connect in and facilities that allow the mind, body and soul to rest and be rejuvenated, be it the sauna, hot tub or with massage treatments.
Each unit is self-contained and has its own garden area and facilities, making it private for the couples.
They have doubled up on ther outdoor seating areas by the canal, so each lodge has allocated seating, where you can sit and fish or just relax and watch the world go by.
Onsite there is a wood burning sauna as well as an indoor BBQ cabin, and an aromatherapy steam cabin, use of these are included in the price of the stay, but are pre-booked, so you get your own private slot.
Each accommodation sleeps just two adults, so is ideal for a romantic getaway.
Hawthorn Hideaway has its own chickens, ducks and other wildlife onsite so can’t accept pets.
“We went for the couple’s market as our own house is right next door to the site, so we didn’t want large groups. We also felt that there was too much fire and water around the site to allow children. Even if you have children, it’s important to get away on your own and reconnect occasionally.#
“As a hard-working couple ourselves, we understand the pressures this can add to a relationship and the need for time for yourselves.”
Two years ago Hawthorn Hideaway was featured on Channel 4’s Four In A Bed programme. “It was an amazing experience,” said Jo: “we really enjoyed it. It was like going on holiday with a big group of friends.
"The crew and the other contributors were all great, we have a group chat with the other contestants and we all still talk online.”
Jo still blames Ronnie for them not winning, he just didn’t take it seriously enough, he just played for laughs all the way through.
"We played it fairly though it was our own huge overpayment (almost £50) that cost us the win. I really wanted a winners’ trophy, I’ve always been a massive fan of the show. I’ll never forgive Ronnie,” Jo said with a laugh. “We don’t really regret it though we know we did the right thing and were completely honest, and sometimes a clear conscience is better than a trophy.”
They also have something to look back on, watching the programme is so strange, says Ronnie.
"The filming was all done before my spine went. So it’s really strange seeing that version of me, being able to walk properly, compared to the new me, where my movement is limited.
“The reviews since we’ve been open are amazing, we’ve had the highest ratings everywhere. We were worried as there are much cheaper places to go, but we do offer excellent value for money. Our guests receive a very generous welcome, breakfast hamper, the eggs from our own chickens are popular and the local butcher provides tasty treats. We offer extras as well, like our massage treatments and afternoon tea – both are provided by our talented neighbours.
"A local florist and chocolatier provide celebration packs of flowers, balloons, and handmade chocolates for our guests, who love to surprise their loved ones and make those special occasions even more special.
"We’ve also just added private dining sessions in our yurt. You can either choose from a varied menu onsite or liaise with our chef Sammy to arrange your own personal menu, it’s basically having your own chef for the day. Sammy is a very talented chef and just recently has been put up for awards, our main worry is how are we going to hang on to her. She’s destined for bigger things.
"Life onsite never gets boring, Hawthorn Hideaway is a brilliant backdrop for all sorts of happenings, we have had proposals, honeymoons, anniversaries and are looking forward to our first wedding on our site one day. It’s an honour to be involved in such major life events and our own situation means we are all about the memories,” added Ronnie.
"We’re not sure what sort of future we have so we need to live in the here and now, I need to leave Josephine and Melody all the happy memories I can. And that’s what we do. Not just for ourselves but for others as well.
“’We’ve really strived to become a part of our local community, and for our local community to become a part of what we do.”