Night 2 of our C2C walk. We'd been told The Royal Oak was idiosyncratic, and so when we got there after a long day of walking through the wind, rain and mist, it was with some trepidation that we checked in.
Well, the place is eccentric but we really enjoyed our stay. The lounge areas are dark and furnished from past times, but the bedrooms (or the twin room we had) was large, light and airy, and the ensuite bathroom was large, well heated and offered a bath with a shower over the bath. On the night we were there, there were some problems with our toilet and hot water, but they were attended to quickly and efficiently.
"Efficiently" is actually a word that applies to the Royal Oak. It seems to be run by supreme professionals. Our hostess was welcoming, showed a sharp sense of humour and didn't appear to be fazed by anything. Dinner was announced at 7.00 pm with a gong and within minutes the dining room was filled with happy, talkative walkers and the three course meal plus cheese just appeared! "Efficiency" - there it is again! The wine list was good (try the Bests Shiraz if it's still on the list) and the food was not only good, but was served by friendly and "efficient" staff.
There is a good and well used drying room which was essential as The Lake District was being whipped by the tail end of the hurricane that had hit the US. The bar is small and after dinner most people seem to drift off to the pub next door to party on.
There was a major storm the night we were there and part of the downstairs area apparently flooded, resulting in our hostess having been up since 4.00 am in recovery mode. Didn't cause a blip in the service. Breakfast was great, again served in a friendly and engaging fashion, and check out was quick and effective...."efficient".
I loved this place. It is eccentric and is from a bygone era but it is run professionally and has no pretence about it at all. It is comfortable, welcoming, warm and...well, "efficient". It just works and when I come back to do the C2C in 2013, I'll be staying here again!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Royal Oak is a small traditional family run hotel ideally situated in the "Heart of Borrowdale", six miles south of Keswick. Once an 18th Century farmhouse, it has been established as a walkers' hotel for over 100 years. Our English breakfasts and home cooked dinners sustain even the most energetic and although we do not provide a choice, we take great care to select varied and appealing menus. Packed Lunches and special diets are also available. ... more less
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