We booked into the self-catering, Leatheswater, apartment. It is on the first floor and accessed by a flight of steps up the outside of the building which do need some careful negotiation especially in the wet. Inside, access is via the bedroom into a middle hallway which then leads to a kitchen/lounge/dining area. The bathroom leads off from the lounge. The location is truly beautiful with views across Thirlmere. The grounds are a little overgrown but we personally liked that. There is a path that leads down to the main footpath around the lake. Despite being on the main road between Keswick and Grasmere it is set well back along a driveway in trees and very quiet. Thirlmere is actually a reservoir and one of the quieter lakes – there are no powered boats. Despite other comments on here there are plenty of walks to be had including permissive signed routes and of course, Helvelyn.
The apartment is generally clean but some attention is needed to the windows and in particular the entrance door which is covered in dead spiders. On the penultimate day of our stay we opened the door and were shocked to encounter a swarm of flies that had been nesting in the door frame.
The bed was extremely hard and uncomfortable. Yes, mattresses are a personal preference but the springs could be felt digging into your back and it needed to be replaced. Adequate blankets were provided and the heating was on in the evening. The windows are of a traditional sash-type but do have doubled glazed panes.
The kitchen is joined to the lounge so any cooking smells are present there too although there is a filter fan above the oven. We were worried about activating the fire sensor so opened the window whilst cooking. The kitchen has the usual facilities. As expected in a remote location the oven is electric. There is a dishwasher, fridge/freezer and toaster, kettle etc. The seal around the oven door requires replacement so I would not want to cook anything that needed to rise.. There is a notice about using the dishwasher sparingly due to the septic tank but disappointingly there are only two sets of plates, cutlery etc so it is not possible to wait for a full load. There are no recycling facilities which is unacceptable, especially in a national park were green tourism is now a hot topic.
The television is very small and the reception is poor with a loud buzzing noise on all the channels and disappointing in an age where we all expect large plasma/LCD screens. The sofas were two individual chairs which were comfortable but even though the apartment is for a couple do not allow you to sit together as a couple.
The bathroom is clean and spacious. There is a shower above the bath which is warm and powerful enough. There is a heated towel rail powered by a switch in the lounge The water is from a borehole (which we were told about during booking). It does have a brownish colour but is perfectly safe to drink and tastes fine.
We enquired about food in the hotel and were told that it was fine dining at forty-odd quid a head and there was a pub nearby. Perhaps were were being over-sensitive but we were left with the impression that they didn't want us there. Later in the week we enquired about the menu which changes each day. In the end we decided to eat at Morrels in Keswick.
Overall the setting is excellent. I manages to balance quiet seclusion with easy access to popular parts of the Lakes. However, the apartment is starting to look tired. Some attention needs to be made to sorting out the basics like the hard bed and the inadequate TV. Also a good clean of the doors and windows would improve things enormously. In fairness we probably should have raised these concerns at the time with the owners.
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- Also Known As:
- Dale Head Hall Keswick, Lake District
- Dale Head Hall Hotel Keswick