The Holbeck Ghyll is a country house hotel with breathtaking views, welcoming staff and fabulous cuisine. It manages to combine exquisite attention to detail without a stroke of stuffiness. Especially when the general manager, Marco Frik, is always on hand to offer warm welcoming chat whenever you step into the main house. His amiable presence knocks away any of the pomposity sometimes found in smart boutique hotels.
The main house of the Holbeck Ghyll was built in the 19th Century, and bought in 1888 by Lord Lonsdale, one of the richest men in the country, to use as his hunting lodge. In 1973 it was converted to a hotel.
The 18 acre estate is comprises country gardens and ancient woodland. A layered canvas worthy of a Turner masterpiece, where the far reaching vista of Lake Windermere gives way to nearby hills, grassy fells and, in the far distance, snow capped mountains.
For special occasions and celebrations there are a number of lovely private dining rooms.
The Holbeck Ghyll welcomes adults and children – appealing to both since this magnificent country house hotel feels so utterly cosy.
The accommodation at the Holbeck Ghyll comprises 32 luxury rooms and suites, some in the main house and others located in lodges in the grounds.
There are beautifully spacious bedrooms in the main house as well as lodges in the grounds, some with patios and all set against a breathtaking view high above Lake Windermere.
We booked into the rather sweetly named Miss Potter Suite – well Beatrice is the poster girl for this neck of the woods – just a few yards from the main house.
Comprising a smart bedroom, contemporary bathroom and separate lounge, it also opens onto a slate terrace with an outdoor hot tub.
Yet our suite also made us feel like we were ‘playing house’ – a little bolt hole away from the rattle and hum of the outside world.
Food and drink
Though Ambleside and its panoply of restaurants is only a five minute drive away, the hotel has become something of a magnet for foodies. This is thanks to the fine dining offered in its award winning restaurant by its 26 year old – yes, that’s just 26 – head chef Jake Jones, who has introduced modern British style fine dining to the Holbeck Ghyll. Only a year into the job, he has already snagged his third AA Rosette.
The menu, served in an elegant dining room offers a range of mouth-watering fish and meat dishes – including gigha sea halibut,orange king carrot, smoked butter and sea lettuce – all sourced from local ingredients, whilst the forced rhubarb white chocolate, almond dessert crushes any hope of keeping to that diet.
Jake even manages to make vegetarian food – so often the poor relation on smart menus – interesting and the memory of his caramelised cauliflower with, toasted barley, gooseberry still lingers.
It was only the prospect of a serious walk the following morning which meant we could enjoy his delicious menu as well as the over ample breakfast served in the oak panelled dining room.
Whilst the energetic may want to have a game on the hotel tennis court, the Holbeck Ghyll is also home to a luxury spa with sauna, steam room, and a relaxation room. All this alongside an outdoor hot tub overlooking Windermere.
A trained aromatherapist can blend essential oils specifically to suit each individual whilst the spa offers a wide range of treatments. And though difficult to choose I opted for the delux luxury facial using dreamy Espa products. (£85 for 55 minutes) whilst my husband enjoyed a full body sport massage (£75 for 60 minutes). We left feeling utterly boneless and profoundly relaxed.
The beauty of this kind of accommodation is that if you want crackling logs , inglenook fireplaces and the hushed cosy opulence of a country house hotel you can simply take up residence in one of the sumptuous lounges of the main hotel.
Is WiFi Available
Yes, WiFi is available throughout the hotel and you can log in through the guest portal. If you prefer not to submit your personal information, just speak to the front desk and they can provide you with some complimentary WiFi vouchers.
Room rates vary substantially depending on the seasons. A basic double starts at £160 per night (with breakfast) based on two people sharing. In high season a suite (with breakfast) starts at £410 per night. Dinner is an additional £50 per night (excluding drinks).
SPECIAL OFFER: Book before 30th April 2018 and you can get luxury rooms for a rate of £149 per night based on bed and breakfast, or £249 per night based on dinner, bed and breakfast.
There are so many lovely walks to do around the Holbeck Ghyll. Or you can drive into Bowness, only three miles away, and take a boat trip around the lake. Indeed Bowness on Windermere with its teeming streets, charming shops and endless eateries is a tourist honey pot. Or if you fancy something a little quieter and you love a bit of history there’s the turrets and towers of Victorian neo-gothic Wray Castle.
Everything is quite spread out in the Lake District so the only way to access the hotel is by car or taxi. Contact The Holbeck Ghyll in advance if you would like them to arrange a chauffeur service.