ESCAPE LONDON: Head to the Beech Hill Hotel and Spa: Relax, Unwind and rejuvenate to the picturesque backdrop of the Lake District
For the second weekend in a row, I was fortunate to be back in the Lake District, near to the town of Bowness-on-Windermere. I had been given the chance to experience two nights in the Beech Hill Hotel and Spa, and as always, I couldn’t wait to escape the pressures of work, for promised relaxation, excellent food and a spot of fell walking.
The Beech Hill Hotel and Spa is near to Bowness on Windermere, a small town in South Lakeland, Cumbria, approximately 280 miles (6 hours) from London. It is a bustling, vibrant town on the shores of Lake Windermere, the largest lake in the Lake District. It is popular with both families and those interested in exploring the scenic outdoors and is home to the popular attraction “The World of Beatrix Potter”. It is a fantastic base for those wanting to hike the low and high fells around Windermere, Kendal and Ambleside, plus has the added advantage of being on the shores of the lake, where boat trips, boat hire and other water-sports await. If you just want to relax and wander around, there is a wonderfully quirky mix of craft, gift and antique shops, outdoor shops and boutiques, together with a huge choice of restaurants and lake-side cafes offering good food and spectacular views.
The Beech Hill Hotel and Spa is located approximately 4 miles from Bowness on the A592, Newby Bridge Road and is situated on the Eastern bank of Lake Windermere overlooking the Western fells. The website describes the hotel as one of the Lake District’s most “distinctive 4 star hotels” and boasts “stunning views, superb food and a homely, comfortable hotel”. The pictures on the website looked amazing: comfortable rooms, a tranquil spa, and an open air pool surrounded by a breathtaking backdrop. It looked like an ideal place to relax and unwind after a hard days hiking and sightseeing. For the first time, I was also staying in a hotel that was a few miles from the nearest town and I was looking forward to seeing whether this would help me to relax and unwind!
I arrived at The Beech Hill Hotel and Spa in time for dinner on the Friday evening. Initial impressions were of a charming, cosy, country hotel, built into the side of the hill, close to Lake Windermere. Unfortunately it was dark when I arrived, so I was unable to experience the breathtaking scenery, which I knew was there! The lounge was typical of a grand, Victorian country house with sumptuous sofas and armchairs, old bookcases and a log fire: a lovely area to relax and unwind after a day in the fells.
Many of the rooms have private balconies or access to the gardens, but all are reported to have “unrivalled views of Lake Windermere”. My room was clean and a good size, although simply decorated, with a large bed that looked extremely comfortable. It had a huge window, overlooking the lake and I couldn’t wait to see what the view looked like in daylight! The bathroom had all the modern conveniences, but was tiny and quite poky, which was a shame, although there were lovely complementary Gilchrist and Soames toiletries. All-in-all, I would describe the room as average, in comparison to many I had stayed in, however, it did look comfortable.
I headed back to the main lounge for dinner, which I was looking forward to as I was incredibly hungry following my drive and I had read extremely good reviews about the food. Burlington’s Restaurant boasts “a culinary experience you won’t forget”. Given the fact that it has held AA rosettes for the last 20 years, I was expecting some excellent cuisine!
As I was early, I settled into one of the cosy armchairs in the lounge, where I was immediately approached by an efficient, friendly waiter, who brought me a pre-dinner gin and tonic, together with complimentary canapes, which I was not expecting and which were delicious. I was provided with the menu to peruse at my leisure and for the next few minutes I struggled to work out what I would have, as it all sounded delicious. The menu was varied, with all dishes made using the freshest, finest, local produce. At least that’s what the website described!
I decided to opt for the soup, followed by the Flame-grilled, fell-bred fillet steak with a cognac sauce. To accompany it, I opted for a glass of Malbec. When my food was ready, I was taken to my table. The dining room was elegant and in keeping with the country feel to the hotel. It was not crowded and there was no overpowering music – a downside to many restaurants. My table was by the window, and would have had a lovely view of the lake had it been light. So did the food live up to its reviews – absolutely!! My steak was beautifully cooked and succulent and perfectly accompanied by the wine. Throughout the meal, the waiters were attentive to my every need and extremely pleasant and efficient. I managed, with difficulty, to find room for dessert and I opted for the toffee apple crumble – proper comfort food, perfect for a rainy day. I left feeling extremely full and satisfied – it was a thoroughly excellent meal: one of the best I have had in a long time!
I was quite tired so I opted for an early night, so I could make the most of the following day. I woke, feeling very refreshed as just like it looked, the bed was extremely comfortable. On opening the curtains, I was greeted by the spectacular view that was promised. The view of Lake Windermere was breath-taking, especially as it could all be taken in from the comfort of your bedroom. In fact, you could just lie on the bed and gaze at the view, and that is exactly what I did for a few minutes, before heading down to breakfast.
Feeling pleasantly full, after a lovely full Cumbrian breakfast, I headed out for the day. My plan was to go for a long walk in the low fells, and then head back to rest my weary limbs in the relaxing spa. Several hours later, I returned covered in mud, worn out and ready to hit the spa.
The spa was everything I thought it would be: both luxurious and tranquil at the same time. I spent the next half an hour relaxing in the 40m pool, letting the stresses and strains of the week melt away. I also checked out the sauna and steam room, before heading outside to the Jacuzzi. I must admit, I have never had the privilege of relaxing in a Jacuzzi, in the open air, surrounded by the fantastic backdrop of Lake Windermere and the Western fells. It was stunning. A brilliant place to relax, unwind and forget the stresses and strains of the day. If the Jacuzzi wasn’t your scene, then there were several loungers to while away the time. In the height of summer, I couldn’t think of a lovelier place to be.
I decided to have a quick walk down to the lake before dinner. It was only then that I could appreciate the location of the hotel as it literally was nestled in the side of the hill, right by the lake. I walked through the lovely landscaped gardens and spent a few moments enjoying the peace and quiet by the lake. I then headed back up to the outside terrace to enjoy the sunset over a glass of wine. The views were amazing and it was blissfully peaceful. Once again, I was brought some delicious canapes, before I was escorted back to the dining room for yet another fabulous meal, that I could not fault.
The Beech Hill Hotel and Spa is a lovely place to stay. The food is fantastic and the setting idealistic. The staff are friendly and attentive and definitely go out of their way to make your stay as enjoyable and as comfortable as possible. There is no question that it is a place where you can relax and rejuvenate surrounded by the tranquility and beauty of the lakes. Unfortunately, parts of the hotel are starting to look dated. Renovation was in progress, so once that is finished, hopefully the hotel décor will be of a similar standard to its food and service.
Beech Hill Hotel, Newby Bridge Road, Windermere LA23 3LR
Heart London Magazine 5 Star Review:
Penny, Heart London Magazine