Weekend treat: Lakeside Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge, Cumbria
The luxurious, four-star lakeside hotel gently soothes away your cares with its stunning location, exquisite food and relaxing spa, finds Gillian Hook
Nestling on the south-western side of Windermere’s vast expanse, Lakeside Hotel & Spa is set away from the hustle and bustle of the more popular parts of the Lake District and yet a short drive or boat trip takes you to the popular tourist hotspot of Bowness and beyond.
This four-star luxury country house boasts plenty of character and charm combined with contemporary touches. You’re welcomed to the hotel by a giant Peter Rabbit sitting at a desk – a popular photo opportunity for guests of all ages. The public areas have high ceilings and dark wood furniture, plus a large fireplace where during winter they light a crackling fire. Surrounding it are comfortable chairs in which you can lounge and catch up with complimentary newspapers or while listening to the hotel pianist tinkling the ivories. There is a large conservatory with views over the lake in which guests can sit and enjoy a drink or some lunch.
Service and facilities
The contemporary touches at the hotel can be found in the spa, gym and swimming pool areas. Lakeside is the only Aveda destination spa in England, offering a complete range of facial and body treatments. The pool and relaxation area is filled with natural light and includes a main pool with views of Windermere, plus a second shallow beach-style area perfect for families. There is also a Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, plus a well-equipped gym.
Staff at the hotel are friendly and welcoming – porters whisk your bags up to your room and park your car while you’re checking in and reception staff quickly assist guests with any queries.
Our bright and airy room looked out over the lake and featured elegant armchairs by the window where you can sit and enjoy the complimentary tea and coffee while drinking in the view. The bed is large and comfortable, the wardrobe holds dressing gowns and slippers for any visit to the spa and the bathroom boasts Aveda products.
The hotel is on the west side of Windermere down a winding country road that makes it feel like it is miles from anywhere. However, right next door is the Aquarium of the Lakes, one of the area’s top attractions, with its fascinating displays of fish, insects and other creatures that can be found in this country and overseas. Windermere Lake Cruises depart from just outside the Aquarium and take you to Bowness, Brockhole and Waterhead near Ambleside. This is a great way to see the area and you don’t have to worry about parking. You can combine your ticket for the cruise with one for the Haverthwaite steam train that takes you back in time. A short drive away is the Blackwell, a historic house that is a beautiful example of the Arts and Crafts Movement. As well as inspiring rooms there are fabulous views to enjoy and a bustling cafe.
While you’re at the hotel, pamper yourself with an Aveda spa treatment. The indulgent aroma massage costs from £59 and is the perfect antidote to daily life. While you’re there, ask to try some of the liquorice and peppermint tea – delish! During November and December, guests can have a complimentary five-minute spa experience. Contact the hotel for details.
Food and drink
This four-star hotel offers you five-star dining at either the Lakeview Restaurant, with its traditional décor, candlelight and fresh flowers, or the more contemporary John Ruskin’s Brasserie and Bar. Enjoy starters of ham hock terrine with gooseberry jam, butternut squash and brioche, or beetroot salad with goat’s curd, hazelnut and nasturtium. Then choose from rare breed steaks done to perfection and served with your choice of sides, such as sweet potato fries, avocado and chickpea salad and creamed rosemary cabbage. Or try Cornish sea bass, pressed Herdwick lamb shoulder, or butternut squash gnocchi. Follow it with desserts such as Lyth Valley damson soufflé with plum sorbet, peanut and chocolate parfait or a selection of cheeses sourced from across Europe.
From £480 for a two-night break with dinner, bed and breakfast. Lakeside Hotel, Lake Windermere, Newby Bridge, Cumbria, LA12 8AT. 015395 30001, lakesidehotel.co.uk