We stayed at the Swan Hotel and Spa during a glorious week of weather in the Lakes, so a brilliant setting to get us in the mood. Arrival was painless with check-in taking a matter of minutes, although they do not take American Express, which the duty Manager seemed quite proud of, when she told me 'once they drop the rate then we might use them'. Hint number 1 - it's not about your convenience but your guests.
The health spa is great, with free us of pool, steam room, jacuzzi and sauna. Tip; get there early or late to avoid the children.
The room was nice, perhaps a little small, but excellent decoration and nice touches such as the mesmerising toilet seat that you can't slam down. There was a bottle of water in the room but this had to be paid for - a little mean, and not the normal deal in most hotels we have visited around the world. We had an issue with the room where the door did not lock, so we were moved to another room and then back again a day later. This was made less painful by the brilliant Steve - a porter who couldn't do too much to help and an absolute asset to the hotel. Were it not for Steve then I would have been far less impressed by the hotel, having called reception 4 times to discuss the moving rooms and never getting a call back from a manager to discuss how they planned to put matters right. They eventually gave us £60 off a £600, not amazing, but I wasn't in the mood to argue.
One of the hotel's best potential assets is the restaurant, split between a pub grub style bar and a dining room, there's a third dining room which was reserved for breakfast during our stay. This is where I think The Swan is missing the mark.
The hotel boasts that the Head Chef was previously at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, although nothing we experienced gave us any idea of that fact. If this is true, then I'm amazed.
The menu on the pub side made sense, it was varied and covered all the usual pub grub. However, in the main restaurant the menu was confusing, the food was unimaginative and average, and even worse, some classics were shown such insensitively, I can't believe Raymond Blanc has ever shared a room with this chef. For example order Smoked Salmon with Scrambled Eggs and you'll get smoked salmon mixed up with eggs and both cooked into a rubbery salmon omelette. It's was like taking a classic Aston Martin and putting a spoiler and go-faster strips on. Some of the food seemed to be more about the chef than the guests. My job gives me the unique privilege of eating out a lot in London, not always at flashy named restaurants, but often at average priced bistros; the Swan team could do with a weekend of dining out to see what can be done with less money, more imagination and a respect for ingredients and tradition.
The food was for us the biggest disappointment of our time at the Swan.
What saved it was that the staff at the coal-face are dedicated, polite and professional, perhaps its time for those in leadership to show the same kind of attitude to making guests feel happy.
The Swan is gorgeous and is a good hotel, it has so much potential and could be a great hotel, however that is yet to be realised.
Would we recommend it? Yes, but don't expect everything to be great - could do better!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated on the picturesque River Leven at the southern tip of Lake Windermere, this 17th-century coaching inn is full of character and charm, but also offers well-equipped rooms, first-class leisure facilities and a fabulous ESPA spa. Enjoy the cosy, traditional lounges with roaring log fires, sample a unique local ale and enjoy a first-class dinner from the extensive hotel menu. The chef makes a point of finding the very best natural ingredients from local sources. If you're planning on a family trip, you'll find that The Swan has excellent facilities for children. Whether it's books and toys available in the library, a special restaurant menu or the complimentary milk and cookies served up at bedtime, younger guests are well looked after. Of course, there are many opportunities for them to play too - both in the hotel's 14 acres and the beautiful surrounding countryside. Whatever the reason for your trip, business or pleasure, you can be sure of the warmest of welcomes and will have the perfect base for exploring the wonderful beauty of the Lake District. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Swan Newby Bridge
- Swan Hotel Newby Bridge
- Swan Hotel & Spa Newby Bridge, Lake District