By Prof Mary Mellor
This AA four star, 1 Rosette hotel and spa is in a dramatic setting on the side of Lake Windermere a few miles from Bowness. It has spectacular, panoramic views of the lake. It was a pity that on the night of the visit it was pouring with rain as it was not possible to fully explore the extensive gardens, but you have to expect a bit of precipitation in the Lakes!
The gardens include a path down to the lake where there is a jetty and private beach. We arrived by train with a £13 taxi ride from the station at Windermere. We were delighted to find a train that went so far into the lakes, but the location really required a car (for which there is ample parking) to explore the area. However, the setting is fantastics if you just wished some quiet rest and recuperation time, to get away from it all.
The hotel is composed of a number of mainly flat-roofed extensions to an old central house. These progress in steps down the slope towards the lake. The advantage of this rather rambling structure is that fifty two out of the fifty seven rooms have a lake view. We were in a Select room in the original house and the view was so good that we could not tear ourselves away from. The down side is that the hotel is on seven levels with no lift.
The hotel reception and lounge is on the upper ground level with bedroom levels above and below. The spa is three flights down and is luxurious, adding some modern style to the tranquil setting.
While moving around the hotel and its levels felt manageable it would not be suitable for any one with mobility problems. There is a large comfy lounge area and an even larger dining room with lake views. There are also outside catering facilities for those sunny days by the lake.
The bedroom was roomy and comfortable with plenty of furniture including three chairs. It had a bath/shower cubicle while higher graded rooms had more luxurious spa baths. Tea and coffee were provided. My main complaint, that I have of most hotels, is that the bedside lighting is too dim, making late night reading a bit difficult.
We enjoyed an afternoon tea of scones and cream, which was a lovely treat. The breakfast the next morning was substantial and left us full for our journey home, leaving the beauty of the lakes behind us.
The evening meal was beautifully cooked and presented. We had meat and fish but there was a separate vegetarian menu which provided a range of options.
The spa had a good sized pool of a standard depth. For narcissists there is a mirrored ceiling. Next to the pool is a sauna and steam room. The spa bath is outside, in the open air, an unusual experience in the rain but rather fun. There are a range of spa treatments in two treatment rooms, we opted for the back massage, which was very good and took away all the tension. One thing to be wary of, the changing rooms were uni-sex.
Overall we would highly recommend this hotel for its setting and delightful staff. Its facilities are also excellent, for the time you are there you will forget about all of your worries, and just sit back and relax.
For more information vist www.beechhillhotel.co.uk