Reviewed by Janet Linsell
Dalston Hall Hotel is situated 7 miles south of Carlisle, a family run hotel with a friendly welcoming atmosphere in an excellent position to explore the castle, the museum and shopping of Carlisle, the western stretches of the Roman Wall, several National Trust properties and, of course, the Lake District. Only a few miles from the M6 it is a good stopping point on route north to Scotland or south into the heart of England. Well signposted and easy to find there is ample car parking in three separate areas.
Walking through the reception into the hotel, one is immediately struck by the character of this old building. The ground floor space is divided between a large, pleasant bar, a dining room and a large, high ceilinged main hall hung with chandeliers. A first floor gallery surrounds the main hall with offshoots and passageways to thirteen bedrooms. Guests are welcome to enjoy the numerous intimate seating areas in alcoves, windows and niches around the balcony and main hall as well as in the comfortable bar.
The hotel contained in large well cultivated gardens within which there are many places to sit offering attractive views over the surrounding woodland and countryside. With sections of the hall dating back to the sixteenth century, major extensions from the 1890s and an ultra-modern wedding/conference centre, the hotel has a quirky character bringing together old and new, a theme which continues into the room décor.
Our bedroom was very spacious and well lit, with a large four poster bed and a large dressing table of traditional design together with a white leather settee, chrome and glass coffee table and tall modern chair. All fitted together well; a good deal of thought had gone into the décor. Everywhere was exceptionally clean, even the windows, a feature which many modern hotels seem to forget. A well-appointed en-suite bathroom contained a large shower and, in an alcove, a Jacuzzi bath. The bed was comfortable and a complete absence of road noise contributed to a peaceful night. There were all the extras you would expect in a luxury hotel. The free wifi service was easily accessed and reasonably quick.
The evening meal was served in a comfortable dining room offering a choice of five starters, six main courses and four desserts. For our main courses we chose breast and rump of lamb with red emaille mash imaginatively put together with pureed vegetables and rosemary and redcurrant sauce whilst my partner had fillet steak with mushroom, tomato and chips with a pepper sauce. All three courses were attractively presented and well-cooked using quality ingredients.
A “traditional” hotel breakfast was served with a wide range of cereals, yogurt, fruit and croissants as well as a selection of cooked alternatives. I sampled the traditional English breakfast which was freshly cooked and, as with the evening meal, using quality ingredients.
The hotel has the most remarkable wedding/conference facilities in what seems at first glance to be a large marquee with space to accommodate as many as 300 guests. But this is a marquee with double glazed walls, sloping inwards to reduce reflections, a double skinned roof made rigid by inflation, state of the art lighting and sound systems, a quality wooden floor and classy décor. A wedding here would be truly unusual because there is no other venue like it in Europe. Within the gardens is a large pergola with a substantial seating area ideal for conducting a wedding ceremony.
The family who own and run the hotel are balancing the needs of an attractive historic building with a modern outlook ensuring that the comfort of their guests comes first. In this their staff who are welcoming, friendly and efficient are a great asset creating a relaxed atmosphere which made for an enjoyable and memorable stay.
Rooms rates start from £95 to £195.
For more information or to make a booking visit www.dalston-hall-hotel.co.uk or call 01228 710271.
Dalston Hall Hotel, Dalston, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA5 7JX | 01228 710271