Reviewed by Glen Wilson
There’s nothing better than packing up after a week of work for a weekend away in the Lake District for a little R&R!
Lisa (my wife) and I set out for a stay in the Lakeside hotel situated on the southern shores of Lake Windermere. What was originally a 17th couching Inn is now recognised as “the best 4 star hotel in Lake Windermere” a bold statement so we were eager to see what all the fuss was about. On a little note this was a particularly interesting visit as I myself have spent some 15 years in the hospitality sector so I would like to think I have a little idea of what should be expected.
The Lake District is a beautiful place that we have visited on many occasions and attracts so many different people from all walks of life it’s not just for the elderly who like a bit of cross country trekking! We have brought the children many times and I have also visited on my motorcycle as anyone knows the roads and views are spectacular. On that note after taking a nice little winding drive getting glimpses of the lake and the sun trying to pokes its way through the tree lined path we arrive outside the Lakeside Hotel.
The surroundings of the hotel could not be better. If you had to choose a hotel based on first impressions or “judge it on its cover” Lakeside would be it! A beautiful 17th century building that’s been looked after and extended in its time but still looks as good as you would imagine it first did back then. We pulled up at reception to be greeted by the concierge who was very polite and welcoming, opening the door for my wife and taking in the luggage before parking our car.
The reception area is nicely decorated and there is a nice room adjacent where you can rest and read the paper or take the children for a board game and some reading from a selection provided which I thought was nice touch.
Reception booked us in and again they were very professional and welcoming, taking time to not only tell us but to give us a guided tour of the facilities available before taking us to our room.
We was shown to our room which on first impressions was light and airy, well decorated and furnished throughout and with lovely views of the best kept hotel grounds I have ever seen. A little later on Jonathan the hotel manager will take us on a tour of the hotel and it’s very obvious the grounds man clearly knows his stuff and loves his job taking pride in what he does so well and clearly shows.
The room itself has all you would expect but done to a very high standard. Lovely quality towels, robes and slippers provided along with some samples of products also available from the spa also on the hotel grounds. Tea and coffee facilities were excellent as were the crockery too and the large double king size bed was very comfy. The room overall was spacious, immaculate, well presented and just a nice place to be. It was easy for us to relax and just sit by the window watching time go by, the only problem was do we choose the window with the view of the beautiful gardens or the view overlooking the spectacular views of Lake Windermere and the boats moored gently bobbing away basking in the sun?
As soon as were settled, Jonathan the hotel manager offered a guided tour of the hotel and its grounds. The hotel just to walk around is a treat with its recently added conservatory the views are spectacular. Lakeside also boasts two restaurants Lakeside view the fine dining experience and John Ruskin’s Brassiere and bar both excellent and freshly prepared produce with fine wines and beverages. The hotel is surrounded by some amazing gardens very well maintained and a pleasure to walk around and noticing various apple trees and plants and bushes of all sorts of colour and shape.
There is a mooring point to on the lakeside which you can see from various rooms and the conservatory too. Anyone getting pictures for occasions would be spoilt for choice for an amazing background!
Lakeside also offers various conference and wedding packages. They have recently taken ownership of a building opposite the hotel and is used for conferences and weddings up too guests of around 100. If you was looking for a beautiful place to get married with scenery to die for and a cruise along the largest lake in England you have found the right place! Jonathan also pointed out that the food standard for your wedding will be of the same high level that’s achieved at both of their restaurants which again is amazing and a huge plus as many hotels offer a “dumbed” down version or a very basic meal. The wedding breakfast is very important and I think you would find it hard to find anywhere that would come close to what Lakeland can offer in food, service, quality and outright beauty in the hotels structure and furnishings and not to forget the view of Lake Windermere itself without even moving of the premises!
Also on site is the spa and pool for complete relaxation and a number of treatments are available so if you’re looking for the gym or just relaxing in the sauna and steam room after a swim over the 17 metre pool overlooking yet again Windermere’s amazing views then they have catered for you too.
In the evening we dined in the Lakeview fine dining restaurant and if I’m honest this was my favourite part of the stay. The meal was simply fantastic. The ambience was lovely with the open fire just before entering the restaurant and the piano playing in the background. The restaurant manager showed us to our table and the wine list before we received a selection of homemade breads whilst making our decision. The wine list was extensive and full of quality and choice of all variety.
We received a amuse bouche which is basically a pre starter something to wake up your palate before the starter arrives. We received a confit of duck with orange gel and beetroot which was excellent. For starter my wife had the chicken consommé which I recommended and she never had but to her delight she said it was delicious. I had the scallops with chorizo which was equally excellent and the pickled cauliflower was a simple but excellent part of the dish.
For the main my wife had a beautifully presented fillet of seabass and I had the duck breast cooked to perfection. Before desserts we had a pre dessert again something not everywhere does but helps cleanse the pallet for a change of flavours. Lisa had the chocolate mousse and I had the best treacle tart I have ever had. The whole meal and experience along with service was amongst the best I have ever had I could of gone on forever but it’s not just a food review but anyone dining here would not be disappointed the chefs clearly know their stuff and the skill level throughout especially on the desserts was unbelievable. We retired the conservatory for coffees and some handmade petit fours. Such nice places to relax enjoy the views and take in the atmosphere. There was a mix of people and some families also. The lakeside caters for all and children are most welcome as well.
Morning soon came and we slept very well maybe too well as we awoke a little later than expected so we hurried down to join everyone else for breakfast. All and everything you expect from a high class establishment was availed from full continental breakfast, freshly prepared fruits and Danish pastries to the full English and eggs Benedict or smoked kippers it was all here. As they say in the trade it’s the last impression and the last meal we would have before leaving and as presumed the breakfast was cooked perfectly. Quality produce locally sauced the full breakfast we both had was a great way to leave and start our final day. On the way out after a warm farewell and checkout we decided to take one of the many cruises available along Windermere.
They offer various options but we headed out to Bowden and the Lakeland area which is a lovely village area full of shops and interesting bars and cafes dotting around. You can also hire out small boats or take out larger ones for groups. We could have also taken the steam train and popped off at the motor history museum but again time was against us but there is so much to do here, much more than we imagined and a couple of days just doesn’t cover it. Our only option is we must return very soon!
Lakeside Hotel is a member of Great Hotels of the World Premium Collection. For more information or to book, please visit www.ghotw.com/lakeside or call 020 7380 3658.
Lakeside Hotel, Lake Windermere, Newby Bridge, Cumbria, LA12 8AT