Thursday, 3 May 2012 1:34 PM
Travelbite editor Sarah Gibbons goes in search of the ideal ‘staycation’ in the Lake District and discovers another hotel ‘hot spot’– Linthwaite Country House Hotel in Bowness-on-Windermere.
The first thing I noticed was the view – miles of undulating hills, pine forest and the glistening waters of Lake Windermere.
With the hotel’s elevated position overlooking the lake and surrounding lakeland fells, it was clear that the panoramic vistas would be one of the great perks of the hotel; a fact that was quickly confirmed when we saw the view from our room.
It was clear, however, that the hotel offered far more than a great view. On entering, past a line of colourful wellies by the door, the crackling fire, cosy but sophisticated furnishings and instantly friendly staff made my partner and I feel right at home.
Our ‘preferred room’, one of the hotel’s 30 rooms and suites, was light and airy with a (very comfortable) king-sized bed and all the usual mod-cons including free WiFi. I was especially pleased to see a large glass bottle of water in the fridge, which gets replenished daily (as the hotel’s in-room pamphlets points out, this is much more eco-friendly than supplying plastic bottles of water). This is one of Linthwaite House’s many initiatives in its quest to ‘go green’ (their website lists all their eco-updates to date).
Alongside a television and a reasonable variety of channels (some of which had slightly dodgy signal) we also had a DVD player in our room.
Luxury loft suite (photo: Linthwaite Country House Hotel)
You can ‘rent out’ DVDs from reception (for free) and they have a fantastic selection, split into genres. They also offer movie goodie bags; for £8 (for two people) you can get popcorn, ice creams, nuts, crisps, soft drinks and chocolate bars and if you really want to splash out – you can upgrade to a luxury goodie bag which includes a half bottle of champagne (£37). This proved to be a fantastic way to relax in the evening and we were thrilled that the hotel offered this service after a long day’s walking.
During our stay, we enjoyed a superb meal at Linthwaite House’s restaurant, which is recommended by the Good Food Guide. The evening began with a drink (I opted for a G&T) and canapés in the conservatory whilst we perused the menu. It was a very enjoyable way to start the evening, gazing at the sun descending and reflecting in the rippling waters of Lake Windermere.
The candle-lit restaurant had a nice atmosphere; the tables were close but not close enough to hear your neighbours’ conversation (always a good thing) and the general ambiance was relaxed and unstuffy.
We began our meal with warmed rolls and a pre-starter of delicious leek and potato soup, served in a white china cup. I followed with a starter of soft shell crab, both served dressed and with a light tempura, accompanied by lemongrass and mango which was very refreshing. I did, however, have slight food-envy of my partner’s cured trout with avocado and wasabi mayonnaise (I had a small taste; the trout melted in my mouth. Delicious!). For the main course, I went for perfectly-cooked, pan fried sea bream, globe artichokes, lemon purée (which I wasn’t so keen on) and a tomato and coriander dressing which worked wonderfully with the delicate fish. For dessert, I went for something I had never tried before – a coffee panacotta – served with an orange purée, amaretto jelly and white coffee ice cream. I polished it off with ease.
The restaurant sources local ingredients (photo: Linthwaite Country House Hotel)
By morning, I was already looking forward to breakfast, especially seeing as we were planning another day of hiking. The choice was extensive, from a selection of cereals, fruit and yogurt to a full menu of cooked options. Tempted by both the sweet and the savoury, I decided to try one of each for the two mornings I was staying at the hotel. The first morning, the homemade rosti, caramelised onions, grilled mushrooms and soft-fried egg caught my eye. Served in a neat stack, it definitely set me up well for the day and I polished off every last morsel (and still had room for toast!). The next morning I opted for the pancakes with blueberry compote which was equally as delicious.
Our stay at Linthwaite Country House Hotel had certainly offered everything I was looking for in a Lake District ‘staycation’: a great location with wonderful views, delicious food and most of all – personable and helpful staff.
I will definitely be back.
By Sarah Gibbons