Set in a rural idyll on the northern tip of Bassenthwaite between Keswick and Cockermouth; 30 minutes from junction 40 M6.
A recent wave of refurbishment has refreshed the 42 rooms, divided into four classes. They remain traditional but include lots of contemporary touches, such as iPod docking stations and flat-screen TVs.
The diversity is huge with a country-house lounge all roaring fires and hunting trophies, a sun-trip conservatory leading to a terrace and croquet lawn, and a cosy bar with a jazz soundtrack, cigar menu and late-night feel.
My favourite little hideaway was the billiards room with a full-size table and an open fire.
Eating and drinking
The flagship is the hotel's fine-dining space, the Lake View Restaurant with high ceilings and wood panelling. The five-course table d'hote menu (£45.95 per person) is dress-for-dinner affair with an extensive wine list, a range of house-specialty flambé dishes and superb views across the grounds to Bassenthwaite.
For something more informal, the Courtyard Bra and Brasserie offers a relaxed, all-day menu among comfy sofas.
An Armathwaite tradition is the indulgent afternoon tea, a frenzy of cream, cakes and calories for £18.50 per person.
The £5m spa development, opened 2009, is one of the biggest and most impressive in the Lakes, covering all bases from pool and sauna to 10 treatment rooms with a huge range of therapies.
The whole complex is built around a bright, circular lounge with cream sofas and a central fire.
The smart staff bring an attentive, personal touch to the service.
Who stays there
Pamper weekenders on spa packages, families looking for a luxury bolthole, couples with something to celebrate.
Children under 12 years stay free on a b&b basis when sharing with parents; dogs charged at £15 each.
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Pets Allowed
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Families with teenagers
- Mature travellers
- Great views / scenery
- People watching
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Lots of character
- Refreshed rooms
- Superb leisure facilities
- Hidden-away location
- High prices