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“Just Lovely”

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Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel
Ranked #3 of 14 Alston B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 April 2014

If I've ever had a more enjoyable meal than offered by their seven-course tasting menu I don't recall it. In both presentation and taste it was absolutely wonderful, and nicely complemented by the different wines. The breakfast was also excellent. It was also a pleasure to sit in the very cosy library with the open fire. Minor points raised by others such as the pot-holed approach road did not detract from our enjoyment in the slightest. It's a lovely old house in a delightful setting, perfect for a gentle stroll along the River Nent or a moorland ramble.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank TimW24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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431 - 437 of 691 reviews

Reviewed 22 April 2014

Start with the positives - the food was fabulous and someone obviously knows their wine. Great wine list and choice of wines with the food was excellent. Staff were friendly and helpful. Setting in a very rural location was peaceful and attractive. Comfortable lounges with comfy sofas and there was a wood fire in the entrance sitting area. Lovely spot for pre and apres dinner drinks. So lots to recommend a stay, be it a night with the gourmet meal or longer to explore the area - and the wine list.
A few details would make the whole experience even better - like a better shower and a hot tap that didn't turn when you tried to turn it on or off. Perhaps a few less notices like the one which instructed us not to use their towels to remove our make up or fake tan! Excuse me but we just are not the kind of people who use fake tan !! Still it did give us a laugh. Comfy big bed and delicious breakfast made up for the shortcomings of the bedroom decor and the busy carpets everywhere.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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2  Thank marion_s661
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2014

We have stayed once again at this beautiful country house hotel,great value and the most superb food imaginable.
We always stay in the two bedroomed apartment on the ground floor as my friend is disabled.
There are other apartments with more bedrooms have a look under cottages on their website.
You can get a few different deals,one for an overnight stay in the actual hotel with a seven course starter menu,we have seen people enjoying this as we have been having the four course meal in the two AA rosette dining room.
The breakfast is also fabulous with everything you could possibly want for a tasty start to the day.
We love to stay here it is so relaxing and quiet in the middle of glorious countryside not far from Alston,which is the highest town in England and the journey from Penrith up to 1900 feet at the Hartside Cafe is fabulous with the most spectacular views.
We are made very welcome all the girls are very helpful and efficient and such good fun
It was lovely to see Peter the owner who has a wicked sense of humour.
I would recommend this gorgeous hotel more for adults who want a romantic weekend with the best food.
Thanks again to all concerned,look forward to seeing you all again later in the year

Room Tip: The cottages give you more freedom as you can self cater but still have breakfast in the hotel but...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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3  Thank LaLa1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2014

We had a very relaxing over night stop at Lovelady Shield recently having purchased a voucher from Travel Zoo for Bed and Breakfast and a 7 course tasting menu at dinner.

We found our room was very comfortable and had a great night sleep in a very comfortable bed. Perhaps the room furnishings were starting to look a bit tired but the bathroom appeared to have been updated more recently.

Dinner was lovely and always well presented and we also enjoyed the wine choices in that they were certainly not what we might have chosen ourselves, but complemented each course very well.

A great breakfast too which set us up nicely for the rest of the day.

If I was to make any criticism about the meals it would be that the service was perhaps slower than what we are used to, but it did give us chance to digest one course before starting the next.
Oh - and please train one, otherwise super waitress, to stop saying "you're very welcome" !!!

If the opportunity / need was to arise again in the future I think we would be happy to return on a future occasion, and would certainly be happy to say nice things to anyone considering staying there.

Thank you.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank TheManInTheKnow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2014

We stayed here for two nights and it is a lovely hotel except for the fact that the hotel is falling apart, leaking gutters, faulty radiators, noisy water pumps, pot holes on the entrance road etc etc. We would have overlooked some of the "character" of this hotel except for one member of staff who served us for breakfast on one morning of the stay. This lady (elderly with grey hair) was down right rude...she did not have any job satisfaction and made it clear that every request was an effort ...no welcome and when we sat at a table which she told us was the wrong one as it didn't have a menu, she almost tutted when we asked for more butter and when we pointed out that the sugar had gone solid in the bowl she couldn't wait to throw yes throw a new bowl of sugar at us. Its a shame because all the other staff were excellent.

Room Tip: ask for a room NOT in the main hotel
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank grahams321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2014

Dear Grahams123,

Grumps sometimes wonders whether you realise just how much harm your 'off the cuff' black humour does to the morale of those who are on the receiving end of it. Our staff always try to go the extra mile to ensure that we meet the expectations of all our guests.
We are sorry on this occasion you were not entirely satisfied. The lady in question has been with us for nearly twenty years and you have managed to upset her probably more than we think you were. Congratulations.
And we do not apologise for having a property nearly two hundred years old with all the plumbing and building problems. As for the drive you forgot to mention the two large established trees that fell during the storm and the very wet winter. We are about to start the repair process but working against elements takes time.
Sometimes complaints are justified and sometimes they are not.
Grumps is well and truly back!

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Reviewed 11 April 2014

My husband and I stayed here for two nights for our wedding anniversary. We booked via an offer which we found on travelzoo. Upon arrival at the hotel, we were pleasantly pleased with the remote location and beautiful surroundings. We were greeted at the front door by a very friendly member of staff and shown up to our room. The room itself was much bigger than we expected and had the most spectacular views - I could have sat on the window seat gazing out of the window for hours! The bed was huge and the decor was traditional. Both the room and the bathroom were extremely clean.

One the first night, we had the 7 course gourmet taster meal with the wine selection. The food and service were exceptional and it we found it really enjoyable having the wine selected to compliment each course and having each wine described to us. We love wine but don't know much about it! I would say that it was a dining experience and we really enjoyed it for what it was. The night went fairly quickly and we did not feel like we were waiting for long between courses. The only thing which could have made the meal better would have been to have some ambient music playing in the restaurant. There were times when the atmosphere was a bit awkward and there were some odd silences and so the experience could be even better with this one small change. Other than this, we found the evening to be excellent!

Breakfast on the two days was superb. Everything is ordered from the large selection on the menu. At first I was dubious that there was no breakfast buffet but actually, the service was so efficient that everything came really quickly and we felt able to order everything we wanted. It also meant that the food was prepared freshly upon order. Again, the only aspect which we thought could have improved our experience was music in the restaurant. This time for a practical reason as the staff in the kitchen were quite noisy and we could hear every single conversation - including a few things which we didn't really want to hear!

This hotel feels like it is in the middle of nowhere and that is exactly what we were after. We truly relaxed and went on some lovely walks. There are some beautiful villages nearby which we enjoyed visiting. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed this hotel, the friendly staff and the overall experience which was on offer and would love to return in the future.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 10
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Team_Moshtie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2014

After reading reviews I was expecting great things.... The hotel is a bit scruffy outside, tired and the planters at the entrance were full of dead brown weeds, a few winter primula would have cost little and made such a difference.
once inside its welcoming with a nice roaring fire, we were taken to our room number 2, a lovely view and it was spacious, the curtains are literally crumbling and ripped, the bathroom is basic and small. But its clean and the bed is very comfy.
There are rules and more rules in this hotel, to the point its actually funny, laminated rules stuck to walls telling you not to do various things.
We were there for the Gourmet dinner which we had asked to have at 8.30 we were told 'no its from 7.30' we hadn't long arrived so we were sorting ourselves out and at 7.40 the room phone rang with a woman asking 'where are you, you need to come down now' it was a bit like being back at home with your mum calling you for dinner.
The wine list is extensive with some lovely choices, the owner is clearly a wine buff, who totally ignored us as we weren't having HIS wine choices with our dinner, he fawned over the people that did and didn't even acknowledge us, we actually found this funny but some people could be offended.
The 7 course meal was OK, but really nothing special at all, its beautifully presented but very bland bordering on tasteless, my starter tasted of nothing at all. The plates are huge and the portions are stupidly small, the girls behind us were howling laughing at the size of the starter.
We were served a grapefruit sorbet which was very very bitter and then when pudding arrived that too had a sorbet, so not very well thought through menu. The size of the pudding is hilarious, I have attached a photo.
There is zero atmosphere in the dining room, all you hear is the hushed tones of guests and the clank of cutlery, a bit of background music would make a huge difference.
The owner passed us 3 times over our stay in various parts of the building and totally ignored our existence, maybe he was still cross I didn't choose his wine.
Breakfast is fabulous they have won awards for this and hats off to them it is lovely, the fresh fruit salad probably the best i have ever had, the full English 'delicious' the young staff are great, polite and friendly and very helpful.
its an odd experience staying there, its location is very isolated and there is very little to do the village nearby of Alston is fairly grim.

Room Tip: Room 2 has a nice view
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank RufusandMimi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
petermartinhaynes, Owner at Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 13 April 2014

Dear Rufus and Mimi,

We do need to respond to your review.

First, we make no apologies for the fact that we are a quiet hotel in a peaceful setting. This is what so many guests want. They want the contrast of being away from busy city centres. If you want cities, go to cities if you want countryside and unbelievable peace come to us. And that goes for muzak in the dining room. This is a quiet hotel and does not feel the need of piped music.

As to the entrance we have planted out all sorts of fresh plants for spring and are in wonder that you missed them.

The room is scheduled for refurbishment and we shall be sad to say goodbye to the silk curtains but it is time.

As for your dining experience we are sad that you do not understand a tasting menu. This is exactly as it says. If you want meat and two veg and eat it as quickly as possible, and oh yes piped music, go somewhere else. As most guests write, the dining experience is the highlight. It is slow cooking which is why we start at 7.30pm in order for you to enjoy the experience. You will be full by the end of seven courses. The timings were confirmed to you and again we are sorry that you chose to ignore this fact.

Finally to the wine list. Yes we are proud of our collection and it has won a notable wine list by The AA. We take time to match wines to each course and to those selecting this we do explain why we have chosen the match. This does take a little time. As you chose your wine it would be impertinent for us to comment. However we do not mean to deliberately ignore you or anyone else. If we went round each table we would be criticized about being a matron! We simply cannot win.

Whilst we welcome criticism it does have to be valid and we hope you might have enjoyed other aspects of your stay.

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Additional Information about Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel

Address: Lovelady Lane, Alston CA9 3LX, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Alston
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 14 B&Bs / Inns in Alston
Price Range: £86 - £128 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Lovelady Shield Country Hotel
Lovelady Shield Country Alston
Lovelady Shield Country House Hotel Alston, Cumbria

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