We managed to palm the kids off for the weekend and arranged to stay 1 night here at short notice. We have seen the hotel before and walked around it briefly, but never had chance to stay until now. We arrived about 11am on Saturday knowing the room wouldn't be ready till 3, with a plan to spend time in the pool / gym. Parking was a minor faff, but entirely my fault as I didnt take them up on their offer of valet parking (I will next time). Reception was smooth enough and we were quickly shown to the pool area by a friendly member of staff. The gym was small but adequate, with just a few cardio machines, one multi weights station and a few free weights. The pool was impressive, with a carefully designed childrens area, small jacuzzi and adjoining steam/sauna rooms. We had a good couple of hours with the facilities to ourselves, before going to check into the room,
We chose a lakeside view room and got one on the second floor overlooking a small jetty with a truly beautiful view across Windermere. The room had a small seating area to allow you to take in the view, which was slightly cramped and a little quaint - think "nicely sized" as opposed to "large" and you get the idea. The room itself was spotlessly clean and the bed was very comfortable. The only real downside was poor sound insulation to the adjoining corridor, but it didn't prove to be a significant problem.
Where the hotel really scored was on the quality of service. We had a reservation for 8pm so wandered down to the public bar (bit like an old school country pub) to get drinks beforehand. We then took it upon ourselves to occupy some sofas in the reception hall between the two restaurants, and were quickly scooped up by the very efficient waiting staff who brought olives and nuts, along with dinner menus. I dont know if we were supposed to be sitting there or not, or indeed if they even knew that we had a reservation, but the staff were swift to serve us nonetheless. Fifteen minutes and half a bottle of Louis Roederer later we were invited to the restaurant to choose our table, which was a nice touch. The choice was largely irrelevant though as all tables seemed equally good. The main dining area was spacious and formal, with plenty of room between tables to allow a good degree of privacy. The ambience was friendly as well as formal, with the staff mixing efficient service and light humour together very effectively. Service standards remained high throughout the meal, I think I once had to reach for the decanter but that was all.
Food quality was extremely high, although for me the menu might have had one or two extra choices. Nonetheless, everything we ate was simply delicious - the place doesn't have a Michelin star but it is hard to see why not, although the absence of a tasting menu seemed a little odd. Given the quality of the food, I thought dinner represented extremely good value. The wine also seemed to be very fairly priced in comparison to other high-end eateries, boasting an extensive list with a specialism in the Rhone valley. Our Gigondas was fabulous but they ought to have thought to decant it early without me reminding them - not a big deal but their list does specifically ask you to order early so that they can present the wine at its best. As a self-confessed wine snob I was also delighted to see Riedel glasses being used throughout. The ambience was enhanced by having a pianist playing throughout the evening as well, not in the dining room itself but just outside.
Breakfast the next morning was in the same room, with waiter service for cooked breakfast options, which seemed to be prepared with the same care as the meals the night before. Even the toast tasted as if it had been made using freshly baked bread. We finished off by hiring the hotel's rowing boat for a quick trip round the southern edge of the lake, taking in the sunshine and the views before having to leave.
In terms of price the Lakeside is far from cheap, but it offers good value in most respects. Without a doubt we will return, simply because it was a splendid way to relax and de-stress. We were well looked after without fuss by a service team who were on top of their game, always efficient but never rushed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Overlooking nothing but the Lake.....Just a stones throw away from Lake Windermere, 4 star luxury hotel with 17m pool and the only Aveda Destination Spa in the England. Choice of 2 restaurants, 2 rosette Lakeview and John Ruskins Brasserie offering a range of dining experiences. Superfast fibre optic WIFI is available FREE in all bedrooms and meeting rooms at Lakeside. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lakeside Hotel Newby Bridge, Lake District
- Lakeside Newby Bridge