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“Old fashioned and stiff but charming none the less”

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Swinside Lodge Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Newlands
Certificate of Excellence
l1zzy
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Old fashioned and stiff but charming none the less”
Reviewed 22 August 2010

Some people clearly love this place and its old school charm and very attentive hosts. There is no doubt it is in an incredible setting and the place is immaculate.

However we felt it was very old fashioned and not as relaxed as we would like - the hosts are perhaps trying a bit too hard despite this clearly coming from a very genuine place and they clearly put an awful lot effort into it all. The canapes and dining experience is very formal, the food was good but expensive for what you get, the room was nice but old fashioned and dated. The music in the dining room was ok but got annoying when the same CD was played on loop both nights we stayed.

The hosts were keen that we write a review on here and we felt almost bullied into agreeing that it was a 'wonderful experience and that we would definitely return'. The effort required to point out some of our less favourable views felt too much to muster when we're trying to chill out on holiday.

In summary - my parents would totally love it but for two 30 something's it felt too formal and stiff for our taste.It felt expensive for what we got,and although we still had a wonderful time and could appreciate how conscientious the hosts are and what a stunning setting it is, we won' t be coming back.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank l1zzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mjbkb, Owner at Swinside Lodge Hotel, responded to this review, 25 August 2010
Hi, many thanks for taking the trouble to post a review of the Lodge following your recent stay with us and hopefully your comment of almost being bullied into submitting a review was a little strong, unless it was the head lock you were put into on departure!! Having tried the guest review cards for stays in the bedrooms and found it not to be successful we prefer, good or bad, the comments made through TripAdvisor - it is extremely rare for someone to let you know face to face the negatives of a stay, but it is on these points taken from the review site that we can aim to build on.

However, whilst you do say you would not return, we find it encouraging that you find it a 'charming place' and would be better suited to others than yourself. ps with regard to the canapes and dinner it does strike a chord of difficulty in offering a fixed but daily changing four course dinner and not having a degree of formality, if only to have the evening run smoothly for everyone,diners and hosts alike. Again, many thanks . Mike
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
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English first
berkshire
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2010

A beautiful, peaceful location with good walks from the hotel. The ground floor sitting rooms and dining room are very stylish and the dinners are very good. Considerable care was taken to meet individual dietary needs within the no-choice menu.
Unfortunately we were very disappointed with our 'superior' room. It was large, but it was an attic room with a sloping ceiling which reduced the usable area. Also, it was very dark, with a small dormer window- which spoilt the fantastic view. The dark brown carpet did not enhance the ambience. Unfortunately there was no suitable room available for us to move into.
There was a very comfortable large bed with an oak headboard, but the rest of the furniture was very dated and not in keeping with the rest of the hotel. The bathroom was large, very modern with a bath, separate shower and heated towel rail-with large towels which were changed frequently. Housekeeping standards were exemplary. Sound insulation between ours and the next door room was also almost non-existent- we could hear the guests in the next room very clearly.
We also found the constant background music in the dining room very annoying- but we were told that most of the guests like it so it was never turned off.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank aquababeBerkshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
mjbkb, Owner at Swinside Lodge Hotel, responded to this review, 22 August 2010
Hi, many thanks for taking the trouble to forward a review after your recent stay with us at the Lodge, your complimentary comments were appreciated by all the staff especially Chef and his team who work tirelessly as always in preparing vegetarian dishes of great quality over a five day period including offerings of vegetarian sausage and black pudding for breakfast.
We accepted with good grace your comments with regard to the portion of sloping ceiling around the dormer window to the bedroom, it is a Victorian Lodge and we were obviously not blessed with high flat ceilings in the upper bedrooms. The room had recently been professionally re decorated with a tan coloured carpet as opposed to the dark brown you mention, complimenting the tone of the room and the rest of the fittings. It was interesting to note that after your stay a prominent hotel inspector - whose position was unknown to us - stayed in the same room as your goodselves and as a result of her inspection of all aspects of the hotel commented on her an appreciation of the choice of colour schemes and furnishings. This resulted in our continuation of our Two Star Gold award with a grading of 89%. As always in these matters it is choice but we're gratified to have received your comments and have taken your comments on board.
Finally we did discuss the music which is played outside the dining room within the hallway and is never played to any thing approaching an uncomfortable noise level. In the main, at your request, and on occasion it was pre empted ,the music or news in a morning was turned either off or down to levels that were difficult to hear but once again it is choice and we're pleased you made your thoughts on this known to us. We do find it enormously satisfying that you would still recommend us to others and once again we would offer all our thanks to you for your stay with us and your comments. Hopefully, it is worth mentioning, we also enjoyed the various conversations we had together
Best regards

Mike Bilton

Owner
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Saffron Walden UK
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 20 August 2010

Stayed here with my husband, son and his fiancee for 3 nights over last weekend - it is a beautiful hotel in a superb location close to Derwentwater and at the foot of Cat Bells. The rooms are very clean and well appointed with modern bathrooms, our room looked over the front garden and the tree from which were hanging several bird feeders which attracted many birds and also the local pheasant!
Sitting rooms very comfortable with many books etc and felt like a real home from home. Owners Kath and Mike very welcoming - nothing too much trouble. Canapes served at 7pm each night with the evening meal at 7.30 which may be a bit early for some, however the food is worth coming back for - 4 course meal beautifully presented and exquisite flavours with a very extensive winelist to accompany it. Managed to climb Helvellyn (including Striding Edge) on the first day and left the car behind on the second day to clim Cat Bells and then visit the local pub followed by a wander around the lake in beautiful weather - hardly a cloud in the sky!

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank suearmitage26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 August 2010

We booked this hotel after reading the reviews on Trip Advisor and we were not dissapointed. The hotel has a cosy feeling to it and all of the rooms were tastefully furnished and decorated including the lounges and dining room.
The location of the hotel is excellent and there are lovely walks along the shores of Derwent water within 10 minutes of the hotel door, also Cat Bells is on the doorstep if you feel a little more energetic. Buttermere and a host of other beautiful locations are a short car ride away through the beautiful lakeland countryside.
Cath and Mike the hotel owners and the hotel staff are very friendly and helpful and go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable.
The food at the hotel (both breakfast and dinner) is really good and is well worth the money as is the relaxed atmosphere.
We will definately be returning in the near future, keep up the good work.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank GSC044
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Douglas, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
128 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 August 2010

A really charming and delightfully cosy Georgian Country House hotel. Kath and Mike have been the proprietors for the past two years and are rightly proud of their achievements in gaining many accolades. The rooms and the décor in all parts of the hotel, after extensive refurbishment, are of a high standard in harmony with the style of the period.. My wife and I stayed for four nights in August 2010 and can totally recommend this hotel. It sits in a superb location at the foot of a fell called Cat Bells, it is close to Derwentwater,which is a pleasant 10 minute stroll down the lane. There is a convenient landing stage at Hawes End for the Ferry which will take you to Keswick, about 15 minutes away ,or you can take the tour around the lake. I think there are 6 guest bedrooms all individually decorated with lovely comfortable beds, quality linen, and modern ensuite bathrooms .Clive, the chef and his partner, prepares a gourmet 4 course Table D’Hote menu every evening which is superb. If you fancy an aperitif prior to dinner then you are offered some delicious canapés. We really enjoyed the chance to chat with fellow guests and our hosts, in one of the two comfortable lounges. The menu is posted in the hall earlier in the day, this gives guests the opportunity to ask in advance for an alternative dish, if something is not to their liking. One of the guests whilst we stayed was a vegetarian whose needs were also accommodated admirably. I was gratified to find wine by the glass was available with a good choice, and Mike prides himself on having an exceptional wine list, with a good choice of modestly priced wines, through to expensive bottles for the connoisseur. It is fair to say that this hotel has an intimate atmosphere, and your hosts, Kath & Mike, will be on first name terms with you. They will do their utmost to accommodate your wishes, assist you in planning your walks or sightseeing trips, and they do their very best to make you feel very welcome. The very nature of the hotel generates a social ambiance, so if you prefer no social interaction and the impersonal approach found in many large hotels then I suggest this hotel may not be to your liking. We had a splendid holiday and are only disappointed that we couldn't stop for a longer.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Chris N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southampton, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 7 August 2010

We recently booked the Swinside Lodge for ourselves and thirteen guests on exclusive use terms to celebrate our wedding (which was held in Keswick). From start to finish, the whole weekend was absolutely fantastic. When we visited them earlier in the year to make the initial arrangements, Mike and Kath (the rightfully proud owners) had told us that we would not be disappointed – not only did they and their wonderful staff deliver on that promise, but they exceeded any expectations that we could ever have had. Everything was taken care of, attention to detail was evident in every aspect – they even thought to present us with the wedding meal champagne cork, date stamped and all. We and our guests where welcomed and treated like personal friends throughout; Mike, Kath and their staff were always on hand without ever being intrusive – even into the small hours. Every consideration was given to how our stay would pan out; Kath arranged special flowers for the guests rooms and buttonholes for the wedding suits, the wedding car was decorated and music was arranged for the Brides departure from and return to the hotel. Mike and Kath took some pictures of the Wedding Party and had them printed and handed out within minutes. In a most kind gesture, one picture was placed in a lovely frame and presented to us with a card as a wedding gift. Non of this was expected nor was it something that they had to do, it just seemed a genuine will to make our stay and that of our guests as special and memorable as it could be. In terms of the food and drink, we and our guest (who all commented as much) were simply blown away. Each night, dinner was preceded by fantastic canapés. The food was just stunning and nothing short of the best we have ever eaten – those red rosettes have been well earned by all concerned! The chef and his assistant were thoroughly deserving of the round of applause they received at the end of the wedding meal. An excellent selection of beers (including local brews), wines and spirits was available and recommendations were carefully made. For the benefit of Cumbrian Breakfast lovers like us, we should also comment that the one on offer here is superb. The Swinside Lodge is an immaculately decorated, comfortable and ‘cosy’ home from home. The bedrooms are spacious, individually and tastefully decorated, with some stunning views. The bathrooms are spotlessly clean (as is the whole hotel). The grounds are beautifully kept and the setting is one of the most stunning in the whole of the Lake District. All in all, we can’t thank Mike, Kath and all at the Swinside Lodge enough for everything they did for us and for giving us a wedding to remember for the rest of our lives. We will definitely be going back; as I am sure will many of our guests. All we can do is thoroughly recommend it to anyone considering staying there in future.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank TheLakesLovers1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 28 July 2010

Swinside Lodge is located five minutes walk from Derwentwater Lake just below Catbells. We stayed for five nights and hardly used the car, as there is wonderful walking from the hotel door, either around the peaks of the Newlands horseshoe, along the Newlands valley, up Causey Pike or around Derwentwater itself.

Our room wasn't particularly big but was well arranged with lots of storage, so we could store our cases in the wardrobe and create some space. It was very clean and nicely decorated with a glorious view up the Catbells ridge. It had an extremely comfortable king-size bed and was very quiet at night.

There are only seven rooms in total so the hotel has a deliberate 'family' feel. There are two lounges where guests meet for canapes and drinks at 7.00 pm before dinner which is served at 7.30. The dining was definitely a major part of the experience for us as the chef, Clive Imber, is excellent, but you can stay without taking dinner and dinner is on offer for non-residents too (booking necessary). However if you're in the Lakes for long, late summer walks then the 7.00 start may not suit you.

The proprietors Mike and Kath were extremely professional hosts who seemed to draw the right line between meeting your every need and being friendly whilst providing guests with space and privacy in this small hotel. Guests tended to be friendly and to chat before dinner over drinks, which we enjoyed, but you wouldn't have to be sociable if you didn't want to be.

Mike and Kath are very happy to give suggestions for days out and for local walks, and seem to take an active interest in their guests.

We'd definitely recommend this as a great place to stay in the Lakes.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank smartds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Swinside Lodge Hotel

Property: Swinside Lodge Hotel
Address: Grange Road, Newlands, Keswick CA12 5UE, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Keswick > Newlands
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Newlands
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:2 star — Swinside Lodge Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Small luxury hotel in the heart of the English Lake District personally owned and run by Mike and Kath Bilton. A warm welcome awaits - hospitality and food are our passions, and the hotel has recently been voted in the top three Fine Dining Restaurants in Cumbria with an AA 2 Rosette Restaurant supplemented by a 75 bin wine list. Local wildlife including red squirrels can be seen in abundance in the gardens, and spectacular walks and drives start from the hotel's door. Seven bedrooms all with beautiful mountain views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Swinside Hotel Newlands
Swinside Hotel Keswick
Swinside Lodge Hotel Keswick/Newlands, Lake District

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