Luxury and the Lake District is a genuinely wonderful marriage and the Rothay Garden Hotel in Grasmere is absolutely a product of just such a union.
We’d booked a two-day stay to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in one of the most romantic parts of this country and by the time we left we both agreed we’d had the best mini-break in years.
Grasmere, home of the world famous poet, Wordsworth, is one of the most popular locations in the Lakes, a village bustling with cafes, restaurants and places to buy everything you could ever need to tackle the fells around. The hotel is a five-minute walk from the centre, but a world away from it nevertheless.
It’s set in two acres of grounds with 25 bedrooms and five loft suites. We were staying in the simply beautiful Grasmere rooms which had a balcony looking over the stream below and up to the big fell towering over us. It was breathtaking.
The hotel’s modern, contemporary feel is everywhere. Our bedroom was beautifully appointed – a designer bathroom including a great power shower and some lovely smellies to wash with. The bed was both divinely comfortable and enormous and there were ticked boxes for all the typical requirements such as flat screen TV, tea/coffee facilities etc.
It would be simply wrong for guests not to try out the hotel’s Riverside Spa, which is a fantastic way to relax after a long walk. Inside there’s a hydro spa where you can lie bubbling while looking out across the amazing view of the hills beyond. There’s also a herbal sauna, heated infra-red loungers and an Aroma Room, in which you seemed, deceptively, to sweat/perspire without it actually feeling that hot. It was worth the trip in itself.
Rothay Garden has also nailed it on the food front under the stewardship of head chef, Andrew Burton, whose restaurant has two AA rosettes. Food is locally sourced and we dined like kings on both nights on dishes, including Lakeland venison, sirloin of beef, slow-cooked pork belly and a cheese plate featuring six types of local offerings. A strawberry panacotta and strawberry sorbet on our final night was a delicious send-off. Breakfasts are similarly fabulous, with the Cumbrian grill setting anyone up for a good day expending some energy.
There’s so much to do in the Lakes, whether it’s finding out more about Wordsworth (Dove Cottage is a short distance from the hotel), walking or any number of outdoor pursuits, visiting pubs or spending time in Bowness or Ambleside. Special mention in dispatches to Ambleside which has some lovely little shops (and a massive, excellent garden centre, Hayes, currently rammed with Christmas decorations) and a proper beer pub (The Golden Rule).
Walking-wise, we visited the gorgeous beauty spot of Tarn Hows, a magnificent hillside lake set inside a thick forest that was once owned by Beatrix Potter before she left it to the National Trust.
The combination of lots of walking and crisp autumn fresh air makes you feel pretty good anyway, but the prospect of returning to the Rothay Garden in the late afternoon for a spa followed by a delicious dinner is a dizzy one indeed.
For a real treat in one of Britain’s most beautiful areas, the Rothay Garden, with its relaxed atmosphere, stunning food and attention to detail in every part of your stay, is quite simply wonderful.
We couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
Richard Edmondson stayed at The Rothay Garden in Grasmere, Cumbria.
The multi-award winning four star hotel also has two coveted AA rosettes for its food. The Riverside Spa – voted No 1 in Spa Secrets’ Cool List 2011 – is for the exclusive use of guests. For more details call 01539 435334 or visit www.rothaygarden.co.uk
Rothay Garden offers special short break and holiday packages throughout the year. This autumn and winter, couples can stay in luxury in one of the hotel’s fabulous bedrooms or suites from £190 per person for two nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast (DBB) midweek. A five-night DBB Midweek Break, Sunday-Thursday, is from £400pp. All guests are able to use the exclusive Riverside Spa. Weekend Breaks (including late checkout and complimentary Sunday lunch) range from £107 to £167pp per night. The hotel also runs special Food & Wine, Christmas and New Year Break packages. Telephone 01539 435334 or visit www.rothaygarden.com for more information.