Deliciously secluded between Kendal and Windermere on the Crook Road (B5284). Pray for four-wheel drive.
The 20 rooms in the main house, arranged across four room categories, are packed with flourishes of individual character and calmed by soft-tone furnishings. Of these, the six Garden Suites come with their own hot tub submerged into the decking beyond patio doors. Worth an extra £120 per night.
I liked tucked-away Sergeant Man best, a high-ceilinged suite with more contemporary touches and a sense of privacy. The only prying eyes are those of the llamas grazing in the fields beyond. Intimate.
Seriously swanky - even the copy of the Radio Times has its own designer-leather sleeve to luxuriate in.
Old money, aside, however, I did like the terracota-hued bar leading to an external decking area alive with local birdlife. Proof that fat cats and garden birds do mix after all.
Eating and drinking
The menu, overseen by head chef, Russell Plowman, covers all bases from morning coffee to afternoon tea via a five-course signature dinner. The latter puts a modern twist on classical dishes and most guests tend to dine in each night.
There are four small dining areas rather than one large room, making for a more private, intimate feel. The wine list is huge, so ask the sommelier to devise a plan for your dinner. He will choose wines by the glass to reflect your courses.
And, if you're dying for a pint, there's Hawkshead Brewery ales on tap.
You name it, they can arrange it: croquet on the lawn, boat trips on Winderemere, guided walks. The management provides complimentary passes to the nearby Old England Hotel leisure facilities, including swimming pool, gym and treatment rooms.
Alternatively, with notice, you can book an in-room spa treatment, or take a dip and a treatment at the Lake House - anyone for a chocolate body wrap?
One word: unfaultable.
Who stays there
Serious money. Bankers with bonuses. Repeat business.
Rates include complimentary use of nearby spa for hotel guests and an in-house spa for Lake House guests. Dinner, bed & breakfast (DBB) rates include a five-course dinner. Lake House rates also include a light afternoon tea and a chauffeur to and from Gilpin in the evening (if dining). Minimum two-night stay at weekends.
- Business Centre
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Culture vultures
- Mature travellers
- Seasoned travellers
- Escaping the crowds
- People watching
- Special occasions
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Private hire available
- Meticulous service
- Luxury sanctuary ambience
- A little stuffy at times
- Heavy dinner could get too much after several nights