Now six years old, the Brimstone Hotel at Langdale stands out, not only amongst the plethora of accommodation on offer in England’s popular Lake District, but amongst hotels in general.
Situated in the Langdale Estate, some two and a half miles west of Ambleside, Brimstone offers 16 luxury bedrooms, half of them being suites and the remainder what the hotel describes as “Plush Rooms”.
You know you are going to be staying somewhere special when your host calls you up the week before to ask if there is anything that you hadn’t thought of, when booking the room, that you might want them to provide on arrival.
There is no formal reception, you are met my one of the hotel’s dozen or so hosts (remember, it only has 16 rooms) and led into the Reading Room, for a relaxed check-in and details of Brimstone’s facilities and services.
There is no “adults only” policy – and some of the hotels’ suites have their own common entrance lobby with an adjacent Plush Room, so you could have a family enclave – but the hotel certainly has an adults-only feel and children would probably not get as much out of staying at Brimstone as their parents.
A look around the car park, which is filled with high-end motor cars (there is even a Tesla charging point in the Brimstone parking garage), offers a pretty good insight into whom the hotel is aimed.
There are luxury hotels that are full of polished marble and which scream opulence in the least subtle was possible. Brimstone is not so blatant. The building and the rooms within it are much more in-keeping with their surroundings – so think really high-end ski chalet. What it offers, however, in terms of accommodation is certainly special.
The “Plush Rooms” are beautifully kitted out with leather lounge furniture, a free standing bath in its own area, a separate wet room and truly sumptuous beds.
I get to stay in many hotels, but the bed was so comfortable that I stripped it to see what make it was (made by local British company, Sealy, by the way). Each room has its own balcony with rattan table and chairs for al fresco dining or chilling.
The suites cost only 20-25% more than the Plush Rooms, but offer a great choice. All have real fires (with glass doors to stop any risk of embers popping onto the carpet) and each one makes a romantic feature out of its freestanding bath tub.
The Fireside Suites have a bath facing the fire, in the Spa suites you’ll find an oversize tub in a bathing room complete with its own private balcony and the Duet Suite features two side by side slipper baths in the bedroom.
Staying in a split-level Mezzanine Suite, we found a large freestanding bath in our living room cupboard (!) while upstairs, the bedroom area featured a walk-in wet room. Room furnishings are opulent yet comfortable and cozy.
There’s also several really nice detail touches. The fires are ready to light with one quick burst with the gas lighter or follow the instructions to how to build your should you need to – everything is provided.
The bath comes with bath cream in a jug, a rubber duck and a second set of shampoo. On the desk are two metal “sports” water bottles, to take away with the messages “together we can save the planet” and “ask your host to fill it for you for your journey home”. The turn-down service provides a Thermos Flask so you can make a hot chocolate or malt beverage – complete with marshmallows.
Your room rate includes unrestricted access to Brimstone Spa with its seven different thermal experiences, foot massage spa and indoor-outdoor pool. Treatments – facials, massages – are extra and use Elemis products. There is also a couples Spa area, should you want something completely private, but booking for this is essential.
For those who want to take on the walks and climbs for which the Lake District is famous, Brimstone provides a complimentary kit room, where the hotel will kit you out with anything from boots, through trousers and jackets to hats and rucksacks, courtesy of Canadian gear specialists Arc’teryx.
The hotel’s Land Rover is available to take guests to local destinations, or to the station – an excellent touch, again included in your room rate, but perhaps the outstanding plus is the Reading Room.
This is effectively a Residents’ Lounge, with comfy chairs, books, games and a large TV. Food and drink there is again inclusive and is available 24/7, changing with the time of day: tea-time offers scones and cakes; early evening sees a fridge full of sandwiches and later on you can add fruit and a cheeseboard to this. Beverages and soft drinks are a given, but the Reading Room also offers unlimited beer and wine – with real quality White Red and Rose wines “on tap”, which one can drink en-situ or back in your room.
Food and Drink
Breakfast is included in the room rate and can be taken either in the Stove Restaurant or in the room. The Stove provides a buffet, with further kitchen-made choices should you want and the in-room breakfast has an even better choice of cooked dishes. If you are not sure, you can still opt for in-room on the day, with the proviso that it might take up to 60 minutes to arrive.
The Stove Restaurant serves the whole Langdale complex and is open for all meals, offering a great view at the foot of a pair of water wheels. Our dinner was fuss-free, well served and offered high quality food – much of it local. Those looking for something on the Langdale Estate that is more homespun can also eat and drink at Wainwright’s Pub, while anyone seeking adventurous cuisine will find that part of the Lake District offers lots of choice within a 15-20 minute drive.
Is WiFi available?
Yes, it is free throughout.
Brimstone Hotel is not cheap but it does represent really good value for money. Plush rooms come in at £350 per night, Fireside Suites at £420, Mezzanine Suites at £460 and Spa & Duet Suites £490. The good news is, that if you book more than 30 days in advance there is 15% off the rates – and, of course, breakfast, unlimited Spa access, Kit room, hotel car pick-ups and Reading Room benefits are all part of the deal.
Brimstone is right in the centre of the Lake District and within easy reach of the largest of England’s lakes – Windemere as well as Coniston. The Langdale area has numerous great walks and climbs – as does the Lake District as a whole, with its incredible scenery. Researching your walks is advised, but the hotel and its hosts will help and advise.
Also within easy reach are the Beatrix Potter museum and Wordsworth’s house and museum are both within easy access. The Northern and Western lakes, really require a car, but there is so much close by that you can spend many days without having to even think about going beyond the local area. More information is available at the official Lake District website.
Car is the optimum way to travel to be able to easily have all of the Lake District at your disposal. But access by train into the Lake District from London is surprisingly rapid – you can get from London to Oxenholme Lake District (close to Kendal) in 2 hours and 35 minutes if you pick the right train – and there are 18 per day – and take advantage of Brimstone’s pick-up service with the option of hiring a car at some stage to go touring.