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The Samling Hotel
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Reviews (747)
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Reviewed 11 November 2013

I feel I should post separate reviews for restaurant and hotel experiences, but can see the Samling is reviewed primarily as a hotel. However, this is a extremely rare beast, in our experience, as it achieves high standards on both fronts. We're used to the rooms attached to wonderful restaurants being something of an afterthought, or the food at a wonderful hotel not quite delivering restaurant quality. Not so at the Samling. The hotel itself is absolutely lovely - in an elegant, understated sort of way. There's nothing too glossy or 'designer' here - and that suited us well. In fact, the (very comfy) tartan sofa in our lovely suite (Pym) was a little threadbare, but that seemed oddly OK in the context. The atmosphere in all the rooms (including the public ones) was lovely. It all seemed so well pitched - furnishings, art, lighting - in keeping with the historic nature of the house, and with its surroundings, but not at all old-fashioned in feel. Service is really outstanding - there is a strong impression given from the outset that nothing will be too much trouble. The suite was extremely comfortable with a sitting area featuring an enormous television and a window with a view over the lake. All that alone would make this is a special place to stay, but the food makes it a destination for keen diners. This is clearly an ambitious kitchen. Again, the service was exemplary from the young, all-male team and we particularly enjoyed Tom, who was looking after the dining room we found ourselves in (there are two small ones - only 11 tables in total at the moment, one for each room, making it hard for non-residents to enjoy dinner there, though there are apparently plans to expand). He really added to the experience - there is a certain theatricality to the food, particularly the tasting menu (not in a gimmicky way - the flavours are spot on too), and he clearly relished presenting it and managed to create a group atmosphere in quite a clever way - before too long we were watching spectacular dishes arrive at other tables, with accompanying showmanship, and sharing the enjoyment between us, without breaking too much of the intimacy of a romantic dinner for two. We went a la carte, as that contained the choices we wanted: an Asian-influenced quail and Morecambe bay shrimp starter then venison for me, beef tartare and grouse for him, followed by a generous selection from an impressive cheese 'chariot' - knowledgeably and entertainingly presented - and an extremely pretty sloe gin brulee the shape and colour of a blackberry. The main courses were beautifully autumnal with a range of complex but balanced different flavours from accompanying vegetables, purees and sauces.This was exciting, entertaining food - not completely flawless, perhaps (I left some of the generous truffle shavings as felt they slightly swamped the venison), but all the more interesting for it. I'd have the tasting menu next time. I notice prices have just gone up, but I felt dinner was very good value for money for the quality. Wines were lovely. Breakfast wasn't quite so smooth - guests are encouraged to dine in their rooms but we came down, as did the majority of guests, and it appeared as if the staff wasn't totally geared up for a 9.45 rush. If I'm being harsh - and it's OK to be a little bit so at a place pitched and priced as the Samling is - the hollandaise on the eggs benedict was woefully lacking lemon and/or vinegar. Other minor niggles: the towel rail in the bathroom remained steadfastly cold for our stay, resulting in damp towels which weren't replaced at the evening turndown. We asked for more in the morning and they arrived - as did any requested drinks - very quickly. We loved our suite but could hear the kitchen fan fairly distinctly - obviously it has to run until fairly late and start up fairly early. I'm not sure what could be done about this, but I might book a different room next time. These are extremely small quibbles, though, which did nothing to dent the quality of the overall experience. It's pricey but such a treat (and we did book one of the more expensive rooms, as that was all that was available at the time - and we were celebrating a birthday - whilst there are cheaper options).

Room Tip: Pym is a generously sized suite in the attic (watch your head on the sloping ceilings) with a monster television, a comfy bed, attractive (if slightly worn) furniture, a nice bathroom and a beautiful view. We did notice the sound of the kitchen extractor fan until late and again first thing, as it runs from front to back of the house and the bed is at the back - obviously where the kitchen is.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Keentravelplanner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 November 2013

We stayed in a suite with amazing views along lake Windermere - we sat drinking our tea at our window watching the sun follow a dark Autumn storm chase up the water -and then went down to a wonderful meal, vegetarian for us, full of flavour and fascination. The meal, served by attentive but not intrusive staff, had humour which led to a warm and convivial atmosphere with the other diners. We look forward to booking again but we know we may have to wait a while as vacancies there are getting increasingly hard to find!
We followed our stay with a walk up Wansfell behind the hotel - amazing views of the wider Lake District mountains and valleys in Autumn colours.

Room Tip: We only saw the Havera room/suite - that was very comfortable and unusual and with totally fabulous views
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank anna h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2013

This was a night away without children, dog, to forget about what is not as we want it and remember why life is so damn good. Great room (classic Yan with no lake view but we knew that) food amazing (two words engraved forever - 'frozen mojito'), service (with a welcome touch of humour) spot on..... so why 4/5. It's 5 from me but my wife left half the breakfast as not cooked enough for her taste. Next time (and there will be) we'll order 'well cooked' for her and it will be a 5.

Room Tip: Try to get a Lake view - what a picture to wake up to.
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Mark R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2013

I was about to start by saying how this place has not been awarded a Michelin star beats me...... But I note it just has ! A brilliant place, the tasters menu was superb, the room fantastic, the service top notch. I always try to balance these reviews with a "BUT". Ermmm. Nope can't think of one. Ahh, hold on, the cooked breakfast delivered to out room was..... Dam. Perfect.

Room Tip: Tyan (spelling?) was great. Super views and v comfortable.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank RichardHazlemere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 October 2013

We recently spent an evening at The Samling with a group of friends. The rooms were all excellent and we partook of the gourmand menu. Culinary perfection. The staff were very attentive, but never intrusive. A perfect weekend.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank smith1dv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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