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Waterhead Hotel
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Reviewed 25 April 2013

This was my first stay at the Waterhead, and I am pleased to say that it seemed to deserve its current position as the top rated hotel in Ambleside. I booked the one night stay through Laterooms at a cost of £159. Whilst it’s difficult to see the Saturday night rate of any hotel in the Lake District as good value, I didn’t think this was too bad. The Langdale (with its onsite leisure complex) were after £179 and The Lakeside (with its more upmarket feel) wanted £199 for the same evening. Ultimately it was the Waterhead’s proximity to Ambleside (a 10 – 15 minute walk) that made the decision.

First impressions were fairly good; we pulled into the car park and took the last available space, entering the hotel via the back door and quickly finding the cosy reception area through a not too intimidating labyrinth of corridors. Temperature was a bit of an issue though, as it appeared that the heating was jammed on full blast. Someone had opened all the windows in the communal areas in a not very environmentally sustainable attempt at sorting the problem, but it was still like a sauna.

As expected we had been given a room overlooking the dreary car park (Room 51), although we could just about see the lake. I imagine that the views greeting those lucky enough to be allocated a room at the front of the hotel would be exceptional. View aside, the room exceeded my expectations. It was very spacious, with a King Sized bed, large-ish TV and a peculiar coal-look electric fire (which I have to say didn’t really do it for me, but I am sure some will appreciate it). There was no mini bar in the room, which I will not judge to be either a good or a bad thing, but if they’d have had one then they’d have sold a couple more beers than they did that night.

Eventually I did decide to wander down to the bar where I tried a Czech lager the name of which escapes me. It was excellent. The restaurant looked pretty good too. I had already booked a table at the Thai restaurant in Ambleside, but I shall definitely try it next time.
Breakfast was everything it should be in a 4 star British hotel. Masses of choice, all very well presented, and superbly organised by the competent and cosmopolitan staff. In fact the quality of the staff is worthy of further mention; for they all seemed rather better trained and motivated than one finds to be the norm. I can only assume it’s good management.

I will return to the Waterhead. Ultimately if I was simply looking for somewhere to stay in The Lakes and the Waterhead was the same price as the Lakeside then I would choose the Lakeside. But given the usual difference in cost and the better location for most walking activities, I expect to return here rather a lot.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank LeePhilipCollins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 April 2013

Just returned from a 4 day stay at the Waterhead hotel, went to celebrate husbands birthday and our wedding anniversary, hank you Waterhead staff for card and balloons, This is a beautifully appointed hotel, we had booked a house double room, very luxurious, beautiful bathroom with fantastic shower and good range of toiletries, replenished daily as required. The bed was the biggest most comfortable bed i have ever slept in. Ice bucket also replenished daily and champagne bucket supplied without even having asked for one. food in the bar and grill is of good standard and inexpensive. breakfasts were superb, such a choice! the staff were lovely, very friendly, amazed that some people do not think this hotel lives up to boutique hotel mode, i totally disagree i think it more than hits the mark and i am fussy.

Room Tip: House double rooms are very luxurious
  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank sukeStockport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2013

I visited the Waterhead on 1st April for my 50th. This was my second visit, the first one being last September. Totally agree with the review by graninwonderland, the restaurant service is just not up to scratch for a boutique hotel. On my birthday we went for dinner only to be told they'd run out of fish, not just a certain item - all fish! I ordered the lamb three ways, looked good but the toughest rank of lamb I've ever had to be honest. My sons burger arrived rare despite asking for it medium / well. Quite aware it was my 50th but no effort made, not even a free drink or dessert, not very impressed. Next morning my wife asked for the Eggs Benedict but we were quickly reminded that there was no fish, that meant no salmon either see. I asked for the manager, but then all of a sudden they'd found some salmon. It had just arrived they told us!

I also agree the bar was a bit amateur and pretty dead too, no atmosphere. When we queried it the barman said most people went into town because it was cheaper! mmm.... seems like it would be a good idea then to do something to encourage people to use the hotel bar maybe?

Don't get me wrong it's a pretty decent hotel, the staff are friendly enough and the rooms are lovely. Problem is that it is totally unacceptable to run a restaurant in that manner in this price bracket, there's too much competition. I did complete the feedback and got a reply offering me a discount if I ever returned for a meal. To be honest having messed up my 50th I'd expect a free meal or an invite back at half price to be the minimum, there again perhaps I wouldn't in this case.

Would I return? Not likely, so many other good hotels to try out in the Lakes.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank SteveFussy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Waterheadmanager, General Manager at Waterhead Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 April 2013

Dear Stevefussy,

Thank you again for sharing your feedback on your recent stay with us. I can only apologise for the shortfalls you experienced in our restaurant.
I am a realistic hotelier and appreciate we may get it wrong from time to time although of course it is our goal to meet all of our guests expectations which as you see from our TA reviews we do most of the time. As I mentioned in my feedback I would be happy to invite you back to the Waterhead to restore your faith in our Food and beverage product and can only apologise we did not create a more memorable 50th birthday for you.

Best regards

Mark Needham

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 April 2013

This is a nice hotel but not quite the "boutique" standard it's trying to talk itself up to. Spent a couple of days here recently with a friend, just for a quiet break. It's clean and comfortable with modern, but welcoming furnishings. Where it doesn't hit the mark is in the food and beverage side. Staff were lovely, very friendly and chatty, but I don't expect, in a "boutique" hotel that advertises cocktails, to have to teach a barman how to make a simple Bloody Mary or classic Martini. We ate in the hotel both nights. First night I had to send my Dover sole back as it was uncooked in the middle. Second night I asked for my venison rare and it was very definitely blue. Fortunately I'm an unreconstructed carnivore and a little blood doesn't offend me, but my friend was nearly put off her own meal (which was fine). With a bit of training for bar staff and a bit more attention to timings from the kitchen, this could come close to justified in considering itself "boutique".

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank graninwonderland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Waterheadmanager, General Manager at Waterhead Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 28 April 2013

Dear Graninwonderland,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review of your recent stay with us. I would like to apologise for the shortfalls you regretfully experienced in our Bar and Grill. I can assure you I will discuss this with my Food and beverage team and ensure the necessary training is put in place. If you are in the area again I would appreciate the opportunity of restoring your faith in our food and beverage offering by doing a preferential rate.

Thank you again for your invaluable feedback and I hope we can welcome you back to the Waterhead in the near future.

Regards

Mark Needham

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2013

Excellent value on a discount deal for two days. We were given an unrequested upgrade to a lake view room- much appreciated. It was well appointed apart from a lack of hanging hooks or rails in bathroom. Bathrobes & slippers provided. Room service excellent ( e.g. towels changed each day) & checked by house manager.
Food was very good- so much so that we ate here on our second night ( with a discount of 10% which was not advertised)
Maitre d' & restaurant staff were pleasant, efficient & attentive.
Free Wi Fi in bedrooms.
All-in-all much better than many four star hotels.

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank dalesman23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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