Nestled in the dewy depths of the Lake District is Armathwaite Hall Hotel, a lakeside retreat and spa beckoning the weary and travelled, those sick of the urban lifestyle and those on the lookout for a stay not to forget...
Armathwaite Hall – a slice of paradise and tranquility
Armathwaite Hall Hotel is cosy and luxurious, echoing the feel of a byegone era in such a way that you wouldn’t feel surprised if a member of Downton Abbey flitted past on their way to tea. Dark wooden walls cup flickering candles and a roaring fireplace, and books sit atop tables begging for afternoons of languid thumbing-through, a cappuccino in hand. There are a of different rooms in the Hotel, ranging from deluxre and superior rooms to spa suites.
It is home to an award-winning spa, complete with a number of treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room, swimming pool and outdoor hot tub. This outdoor tub is a real highlight. Deliciously warm it envelopes you like an old friend and offers you breathtaking views over the hotels impressive grounds and the lakes beyond.
We were in one of the spa feature rooms, a modest sized room with a large bathroom, the bedroom overlooking the hotels impressive grounds, blurring into the Lake District beyond. The decor was neutral and but in no way weary or tired, exuding whispers of a grand history. The bed was large and comfortable, chairs sit round a television and a mirror adds a dash of opulence to the space. The bathroom on the other hand is contemporary and sleek, soft marbled surfaces and a large free-standing bath taking pride of place in the centre. It’s unfussy, uncomplicated and the ideal place for hours of rest and relaxation from everyday life.
These grounds are perfect for hours of walks, a picnic or just a gentle stroll (and the hotel even has Alpaca’s you can take for a walk – a USP if ever I’ve seen one!)
Flowered fields lead to stretches of fairytale-Esque woodland, before a clearing opens to reveal the most beautiful lake, shrouded by mountains. It’s so secluded and beautiful, it’s one of those locations you feel is there for you and for you alone. We vowed to come back the next day and bring a picnic lunch should the weather permit.
Dinner at Armathwaite Hall is held in the Lake View restaurant with a pre-dinner cocktail in the lounge before. It’s great to dress up, slipping on a fancy dress and suit and tie and really letting yourself relax for the night. Forget the hassle of city life- the quick rush of popping something in the oven for tea after a day of rushing about, for your meal at Armathwaite Hall is one to be enjoyed and savoured – and one to be remembered.
Once our cocktails had been sipped (an old fashioned and a cosmopolitan) we were led to the dining room. As with the rest of the hotel it was grand and impressive, white clothed tables beckon you over with flickering candles and flowers in small jars.
The menu itself offers a vast array of dishes created using local ingredients. The chef draws inspiration from both traditional English fayre and classical French cuisine. Starters include cartel smoked salmon with horseradish, goats cheese and beetroot, venison pastrami with cured ham, soy and black truffle, and Heritage carrot salad with cream cheese, hazlenuts and olive oil. Each starter is both as beautifully tasting as it is presented, satisfying enough to fill you up whilst still leaving room for your mains.
There are also plenty of choices for mains, designed to take you on a culinary journey. I opted for the Cumbrian beef fillet which was accompanied by oxtail, chestnut mushrooms, vine ripened tomatoes, smoked potatoes and a sloe gin jus. It was teeming with flavours and cooked to perfection, the beef was succulent and the potatoes the perfect balance of soft and crispy. My partner opted for the lamb rump with onion and samphire, again praising the juiciness of the meat and the perfection of the accompaniments. As well as a meat dishes there are fish and vegetarian options on offer.
Dessert wise, there is also ample choice. from lemon tart to coffee caramel to chocolate brownies there is something to satisfy all palettes. For those without a sweet tooth, a varied cheese selection is also available where you can try a number of delicious local cheeses.
Armathwaite Hall encompasses everything you could want from a break away. It is beautifully relaxing, enveloping you in its history, its cosy walled interior and making you never wish to leave. The rooms are warm and inviting, the food delicious and the area breathtakingly beautiful. And if that’s not enough, where else can you take an alpaca for a walk?
Seen in the City was hosted by Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa in Cumbria – a member of the Pride of Britain Hotels collection (never more than 50 hotels, to guarantee quality and exclusivity). The formerstately home is set in 400 acres of deer park and woodland and framed by the dramatic Skiddaw mountains and Lake District fells. The spa – complete with a thermal suite, 10 treatment rooms, infinity pool and outdoor hot tub – offers a range of holistic and wellness treatments. An overnight stay costs from £205 per room (two sharing), including full Cumbrian breakfast and use of the spa. To book call Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929 (www.prideofbritainhotels.com).