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“A first class, relaxing mini break in the Lakes”
Review of Hillthwaite Hotel

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Hillthwaite Hotel
Ranked #10 of 20 Hotels in Windermere
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 February 2009

Just arrived back from a fantastic half term break to the Lakes staying at The Hillthwaite House Hotel in Windermere. I too was was a little cautious after reading the negative comment BUT I cannot believe it was written about the same hotel my husband and I stayed at. This was our first visit and it certainly will not be our last. Everything from the VERY WARM welcome to the delicious food and pleasant room was first class. The staff at the hotel couldn't do enough to make our stay a most enjoyable one. The room was comfortable and very clean. Some friends came to visit us for a night and took advantage of a swim in the pool and stayed on to enjoy another mouthwatering 5 course meal. The lovely views over the lake and mountains beyond shown in the brochure were real. The location is central to Bowness and Windermere and although situated at the top of a steep incline it was not a problem to us as it added to the charm of the of the hotel's high rise position. I can imagine it would be wonderful in summer to sit on the garden terrace enjoying such majestic views- here's hoping!

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled with friends
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Thank linklancs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,390 - 1,396 of 1,470 reviews

Reviewed 2 February 2009

I wanted to take my girlfriend away for a romantic break in the lakes and having read the reviews on this site Hillthwaite House seemed just what we were looking for. However, the whole thing was a huge disappointment, I only wish we had walked out immediately like the last but one reviewer (26 January) on this site. I am not usually one to complain, in fact this is the first poor review I have given, but this place really let us down in a big way. The hotel is incredibly dated and very tatty. The rooms are full of cheap MFI type furniture and the bathrooms made out of plastic with dirty shower rails. Our deal included a five course 'gourmet' meal, which was terrible. My girlfriend's starter of honey on toast set the scene. The second course was tinned soup, the pudding we couldn't eat and I had the most measly portions of cheese possible. Even the chocolates afterwards 'the petit fours' were inedible, it staggers me how anywhere can even make chocolate taste bad. And just to show it wasn't a one off the breakfast the next day, a full English, was even worse. I would say on par with a poor greasy spoon. I am not adverse to greasy spoon, as long as you don't get charged restaurant/hotel prices! The cooking standard was terrible and there is no way this was produced by a qualified chef. The next day we checked out a day early and were charged extra for the room plus an admin fee, in total £75 more taking the total for one night to a staggering £270. Considering the hotel was empty this was the icing on the cherry on the cake. the extra £75 was worth paying though just to get out of the place. We weren't even asked if we enjoyed our stay or if there were any problems, which smacks of this happening on a regular basis. I have stayed in many places in the Lakes and have always had a great time. This time sadly we got caught out, just make sure you don't. As for the positive reviews about this place, these people need to try out a few of the other hotels around as they will no doubt be blown away. We went on to the Drunken Duck in Ambleside afterwards and this place was delightful, plus served amazing food and very friendly.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Harvey74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2009

My husband and I (and our 8 month old baby) travelled to this hotel for a much needed summer break last year. I had booked the hotel based on the good Tripadvisor reviews, and the hotel’s decent looking website and photo gallery.

We like to stay in nice hotels in good locations, and based on what I had read, this hotel seemed to fit the bill.

The rate I was offered on booking was as follows:

- Four poster room
- Partial “lake view”
- “Jacuzzi bath”
- 5 course dinner included

RATE £180 PER NIGHT – NOT CHEAP I am sure you will agree – I would say bordering on 4 to 5 star hotel prices in fact. However, based on the description above e.g. Jacuzzi, four poster and so on, I actually thought the rate quite reasonable when I booked.

When we arrived at the hotel we could not believe our eyes. Firstly the location. The hotel is on quite a steep hill and you would have to be pretty fit if you wanted to walk to the lakes or the town centre which are not very close to the hotel. In fact, there is nothing in the way of pubs or restaurants walking distance from the hotel, realistically. In fairness though, not everybody wants to be right in thick of things.

Then, the state of the hotel from the outside. We could tell as soon as we walked up to it that it was quite shabby looking, nasty yellow plastic double glazing for example, and rust from pipes all over the white rendering.

When we walked into the reception area, we were surprised that there was not even a proper reception area, more of a bar with an old seventies counter top, very old looking and scruffy, and chairs with threadbare seats – really offputting, an old radio playing, plonked in the middle of the counter top. Totally unprofessional, but the receptionist (or hotel manageress) seemed friendly.

By this point, we has decided not to stay at the hotel, and did not even need to tell each other, just a quick exchange of glances confirmed that there would be no way on earth we would be staying at Hillthwaite! We had a look at our room anyway – what a shocker!

The four poster bed was squashed into an oddly shaped room, old mahogany veneer furniture filled the room, with lots of knocks and scratches on it where the veneer had been chipped over the years. Very tatty and slightly smelly, but looked clean enough I suppose. The bathroom was nothing to speak of, again tired looking and pokey. One of the most undesirable looking hotel rooms I have seen.

We explained to the manageress that we had changed our minds, and told her that we acknowledged that we would be forfeiting our £100 deposit (we were quite prepared to pay NOT to stay there). The manageress became quite rude and the money grabbing business woman in her shone through – she demanded £180 for each night we had booked, even though she had our deposit with no arguments from us. Needless to say she didn’t get it – if anything we should have demanded money from her for misrepresentation on their website which makes out that this hotel is nice, which it really is not.

We drove into Bowness, and stayed at the lake front MacDonald “Old English Hotel” instead – we stayed in a newly refurbished huge family room (more of a suite) with large windows directly overlooking the lake front with a huge new bathroom - a 5 star hotel with an amazing new pool area and spa. We got all this for £200 per night – just £20 more than Hillthwaite. We had a truly wonderful time at the Old English, and will be staying there again. My advice is: steer clear of Hillthwaite if you enjoy 4/5 star hotels and like to stay in nice surroundings.

I must admit, I am quite bewildered by the good reviews on Tripadvisor for this hotel – there certainly is no accounting for taste!

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled with family
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4  Thank Pleasant_customer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 December 2008

Once again we had an absolutly fantastic stay at Hillthwaite. As an (early) retired couple we have sampled hotels around the country visiting family and friends and we have never returned to any other as often as we return to Hillthwaite. Over the last ten years we have been for the period between Christmas and New year and sometimes at another time during the year. As we have walked through the door we have felt the comfortable relaxing atmosphere, the welcome of the receptionistsand the desire of all to do every thing they can to make the stay enjoyable. Our rooms have always been pristinely clean and comfortable.The breakfast choice is second to none with nine choices of main course as well as the wealth of cereals, fruit juices and fresh fruits on offer. Evening meals were excellent with a good choice of a variety of breads, meat, fish, vegeterian options, and desserts. Nothing was too much trouble for anyone.
The caring attitude towards their guests staff is also shown in the ethos the owners show to their staff. Everyone is important. This is reflected in their policy towards gratuities which guests may like to leave - it is shared equally between everyone involved with the guests either seen or unseen.
An added bonus this year was the brilliant weather.
Our booking for next year has already been made!

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lindabowness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2008

I was momentarily put off by some of the negative comments made previously! Let me say for overall quality and enjoyment in a great location it will be hard to beat. Makes me think the complainers mixed this hotel up with others! It is clear that most customers understand good quality when they see it ( one couple were on their 10th visit!) and, well the complainers do what they do best and moan.

Firstly the staff were great - a genuine friendliness from each and every one. Excellent service in the bar, restaurant and reception! Well done and thanks to all.

The lounge was cosy and inviting ( it had snowed a few days earlier and was bitterly cold!) and the views were lovely.

The meals were as good as Ive tasted in a long long time and served with a smile.

Overall if youre considering Hillthwaite, just go! You won't regret it.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank tigersam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 November 2008

After viewing the very flashy website (in which the hotel looks absolutely idyllic) and paying the pretty steep price i expected something completely different from this hotel. instead of the luxurious hotel i expected it was really just a house with dated decor and carpets etc.

the area it's in is in between the towns of bowness and windermere, so to get to both is about a 10 minute walk either side along a road.

the rooms were very modern and nice- so clean- but the public areas of the hotel could do with a bit of a revamp- ie the bar area and the lounge did look very dated. the restaurant was lovely with stunning views as it is set on quite a high hill so has a great viewpoint across lake windermere and the fells.

there is a lounge with lots of board games and a lit fire, this is very cosy.

breakfast was great- so much choice. staff were immensely helpful and literally went out of their way to ensure you had a pleasnat stay. one word of advice... i would say research things to do well in advance as when we asked hotel staff what to do for the day they just gave us a bunch of brochures and couldnt really give us specific direct advise.

sauna/pool/steam room great! just what you need after a long days walking/cycling.

overall a pleasant stay.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank gulseny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2008

I booked this hotel for our 30th anniversary for a romantic 3 days and was very impressed with the web site. I very nearly cancelled my stay here though as I noticed a few bad reviews on Trip advisor. I honestly think the people who wrote them have not been used to stopping in a hotel of this quality. How anyone can rate this hotel less than 4 stars is unbelievable and although they may have had a minor complaint giving a lower rating can seriously damage a hotels reputation.
We booked room 16 which is beautiful with a big floor to ceiling bay window with views of the lake. It was perfect for our stay. The hotel staff were all so friendly with outstanding service and nothing was to much trouble.
The food is excellent and freshly cooked. Hotel parking was no problem and it took us about 15 minutes to walk to the town.
I would like to thank all the wonderful staff who helped to make our stay so perfect.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank SIMCAL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hillthwaite Hotel

Address: Thornbarrow Road, Windermere LA23 2DF, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Windermere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#9 Romantic Hotel in Windermere
#10 Family Hotel in Windermere
Price Range: £127 - £246 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Hillthwaite Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
You will find Hillthwaite House Hotel is the most ideal accommodation for all types of breaks including short breaks or for use as a base for your walking holiday in the Lake District National Park. Impeccable service and comfort, lovely food sourced from local produce, friendly, attentive staff and the many guests that return to us time after time speak for itself. For Lake District Hotels please look no further than Hillthwaite House Hotel. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hillthwaite Hotel Windermere, Lake District
Hillthwaite House Hotel

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