“ Address: Thornbarrow Road / Windermere / Lake District / Cumbria / LA23 2DF / Telephone: 44 (0)1539 443 636 „
I've just got back from a long weekend in the Lake District. You might question the wisdom of going to the Lakes for a weekend of watersports and outdoor activities in wintry March, and you'd be right to do so! However, the gale force winds, hail and snow were made bearable by the excellent Hillthwaite House Hotel where we were staying. The hotel was an absolute haven!
The hotel is a family run business and has about thirty rooms. We were staying on a special weekend offer and paid £185 each for three nights, including bed, breakfast and dinner. The hotel is in Windermere and is about a fifteen minute drive from the M6. It has a swimming pool, sauna and steam room.
The hotel had sent a brochure after I booked on the phone and the brochure had a map on the back so I wasn't expecting any navigational issues when getting to the hotel, but I was wrong. The map, however, was pretty useless so we ended up having to ask for directions from the tourist information office. The hotel was a two minute walk from the centre of Windermere so was ideally located, however, the only problem is that the hotel is situated on top of a very steep hill, the road to which is only wide enough for one car at a time. I wouldn't have wanted to attempt ascending that hill in the dead of winter!
My review has been a bit negative so far, but that is all about to change! Dinner (which was included in the price we had paid) was served every night in the restaurant. There were no less than five, yes that's right, I said five, courses! We pre-ordered dinner during the day which meant that there was no fuss over ordering and we didn't ever have to wait for ages to get served. Each night we were at the hotel there was a completely different menu on offer, and all the dishes my friends and I had can only be described as exquisite! Most of the food had a French theme and would probably be described as being quite fancy but I couldn't fault it. Portion sizes of posh food are often on the small side for my liking, but not in this restaurant. The service was fantastic too - all of the staff were friendly without being over-familiar. My only slight issue with the restaurant would be that it was exceptionally quiet - background music does play in the restaurant but very quietly. It was hard to have a conversation at a normal level of volume without feeling that everyone else in the room could hear exactly what you were saying. Most people dressed for dinner but you still wouldn't feel out of place in jeans and a t-shirt.
We were staying in basic rooms (hence the cheap price!) but they were more than adequate. Decoration was tasteful and the rooms all the features you would expect - TV/phone/hairdryer/bath/shower/tea/coffee etc etc. The room I was staying in was really near to reception so there was a bit of noise, but it's not the kind of hotel where you get large groups of rowdy nightclubbers coming in at all hours, so it wasn't really a problem. Superior rooms are also available - these boast stunning views of Lake Windermere and have Jacuzzi baths.
Service in the hotel was of an excellent standard. Reception staff were really helpful and always willing to go out of their way to assist with directions or with suggestions of what to do in the area. We hadn't brought a map with us and the staff were happy to lend us one. There was a really friendly atmosphere in the hotel - probably due to the fact that it is run by a family.
Value for Money
The price we were paying worked out as £60 per night which was exceptionally good value for a hotel of this standard. We felt like we were staying somewhere really posh but the price didn't match this. I would have expected to pay at least £30 for a meal in a restaurant of this standard so that meant we were getting our rooms for only £30 a night.
Overall - definitely recommended!
Just a short walk from Lake Windermere, Englands largest natural lake.