Hotel review: Hillthwaite, Lake District

As far as rural landscapes go, it’s difficult to beat the Lake District. Forming England’s largest National Park, it’s home to 16 lakes, rugged peaks and lush, sprawling forests, coloured in deep blue, emerald and burnt orange hues and steeped in poetic and local history. Whether you’re a Lakes connoisseur or seeking a first glimpse of what this area has to offer, journey to the shores of Lake Windermere for a classic experience, complete with a sojourn at one of the area’s most hospitable hotels: Windermere’s own Hillthwaite.

Image courtesy of Hillthwaite
Image courtesy of Hillthwaite
Image courtesy of Hillthwaite

Alongside an enviable hilltop location, chic boutique style steals the show at this pet- and child-friendly, family-run abode, which underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2017. It offers a bright reception area and cosy residents’ lounge – the latter comes complete with a fireplace, light-filled conservatory (the perfect spot for cream tea or a cocktail), and views over the town, lake and mountainous landscape in the distance. With just 34 bedrooms, attentive staff and an intimate atmosphere, you’ll feel right at home here and filled with a sense of warmth, made even toastier by the steam room, sauna and indoor pool that make up the hotel’s leisure facilities – all-too tempting treats after a day out cruising the lake and hiking in the fells.

Image courtesy of Hillthwaite
Image courtesy of Hillthwaite
Image courtesy of Hillthwaite

A true highlight to any stay at Hillthwaite is the food, served up by a small team of five chefs who rely on local produce to deliver perfectly presented, seasonally-changing menus. Settle into your seat and take in the scenic views at the elegant restaurant, before whetting your appetite with home-made bread, butter and chutneys. Order yourself a glass of wine, of which the selection is extensive and exquisite, and ready yourself to relish the myriad flavours across your starter, main course and dessert.

Image courtesy of Hillthwaite
Image courtesy of Hillthwaite
Image courtesy of Hillthwaite

On our visit, the chicken liver parfait was a light and airy treat, the slow-cooked beef brisket with mashed potatoes and red wine jus offered plenty of melt-in-the-mouth indulgence, and the Sunday roast was a hearty option with which to end a weekend. As for desserts, the sticky toffee pudding was rich and pleasant, while the English Garden combined chocolate soil, chocolate and basil sorbet, lavender meringue and berries with a creative and beautiful presentation. Once you’ve had a taste of such culinary perfection, you’ll delight at the thought of a full Cumbrian the following morning, and the prospect of settling down later in the day with a colourful afternoon tea of savoury sandwiches, scones and pastries – as much a feast to the eyes as they are to the stomach.

Image courtesy of Hillthwaite
Image courtesy of Hillthwaite
Image courtesy of Hillthwaite

Follow a laid-back meal up with a tipple at the Poets Bar before ascending the stairs to your room – a sumptuous affair decked out in soft pastel hues and quintessentially British decor. The Classic rooms are perfect for short stays, while the Occasion rooms make for an ideal romantic retreat, complete with more spacious living areas and sophisticated decor. Opt for the Signature room to enjoy added luxurious touches, such as a Nespresso machine, complimentary wine, a spacious en-suite with bathtub and rain shower, and scintillating lake views. Whichever room category you choose, you’ll find silence and tranquillity are guaranteed for a most comfortable and relaxing night’s sleep.

Find out more about the hotel by visiting their website, and click here to book your stay now.

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