The Lake District claims to be the birthplace of the country house hotel. This is one of the finest I have stayed in anywhere in the world. To succeed in this market requires an attention to detail, an ability to exploit every advantage of the location and a willingness to change and upgrade. I believe Holbeck Ghyll does all of this very well.
The main house has been converted to hotel use in a way which retains the feel of a house. This involves some compromises, for example the location of the bar, but was obviously the right choice. The dining rooms retain the room divider between them, so that each has a separate ambience. The lounges remain intimate and do not feel like 'public' rooms.
The bedrooms are a mix of the original accomodation and more modern constructs in the gardens. The ones we saw (or heard from others about) were well appointed. Many have stunning views over the lake.
The gardens are attracting and are presently being refurbished in parts. Like the house it self, they are well maintained and a pleasure to walk around.
The staff were discreet and professional, whilst at the same time being friendly and conversational when required. This is not an easy art when operating on such a small scale. This brigade do it to perfection.
The food is excellent. Local ingredients are to the fore, but their cooking and presentation is as far from rustic as it is possible to get. This is of a standard with an attention to detail which is on a par with several restaurants with two Michelin stars (eg, Gidleigh Park and Winteringham Fields some years ago when at its best). The Gourmet menu bravely has Turbot as its centre piece rather than a meat dish and is as well balanced a tasting menu as you could ask for. I would have liked more flavour in the foie gras mousse, but that is a minor criticism of a dish which had a lot going for it in its other flavours and textures.
The wine list is interesting and well constructed. The brief descriptions of each wine were very well written and informative. I would be tempted to look to regional France a little more for some good value alternatives (eg, Cahors for reds, Saussignac for sweet whites etc).
All in all a splendid establishment which stands out amongst its peers. Conversations Participated in and overheard) amongst other guests would suggest that this is an opinion shared by most of them.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This luxurious country house hotel is set in eighteen acres of private woodland and gardens, in England's picturesque Lake District. Holbeck Ghyll offers 23 individually designed en-suite rooms, most with spectacular views over Lake Windermere. The Health Spa offers a range of treatments, sauna, steam room. Food is an integral part of any guests stay, and the Restaurant, which retained a Michelin Star for 14 consecutive years, will not disappoint. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel Windermere
- Holbeck Ghyll Country Hotel
- Holbeck Ghyll Country Windermere
- Holbeck Ghyll Country House Windermere, Lake District