It was with great anticipation that I was returning to the Bridge Hotel. I had told my partner that I would like to be at my favourite place in Britain for this special birthday. I had stayed there several times in the 90’s and longed to go back. I was told at reception that the hotel has been in the same family for the last 35 years – a rare thing these days so I was looking forward to the same wonderful experience.
We were warmly greeted by a young man who helped us with our bags up to the room (No 23) which was delightful. The rooms have been beautifully refurbished since I was last here. This particular room has a balcony and views of Red Pike and the stream runs below (just ignore the car park – there is very little movement there). The bed was very comfortable too. I enjoy the fact that there is no TV or internet in the room; to just be in Buttermere is enough.
I had told my partner about the wonderful meals I’d eaten there, and how special the breakfasts were, so he booked to eat in the restaurant for 2 of the 3 nights. There are still notices on the door about being in the Michelin Guide in 2007 and for 2008; an independent indication of how good it was. Unfortunately I do have to say ‘was’.
We were thoroughly disappointed at the blandness of the evening meal, though the young foreign waitress couldn’t have been more pleasant and attentive. We cancelled our second night in the restaurant and ate in the bar instead (where the food was an improvement). Breakfast was no better. My scrambled eggs looked more like chopped hard boiled eggs swimming in liquid which I had to poor off in to a bowl so as not to drown the salmon. There was only one other couple at dinner and breakfast so there was no excuse. My partner’s poached eggs the next day fared no better, sitting out the ‘flood’ on top of very small, sad looking kipper – most unappetising. (We had delicious, beautifully cooked breakfasts in all the other places we stayed during our week).
I notice the demise of the resident’s free tea and cake in the afternoon which used to be compensation for the lack of TV, radio and phone reception and was a nice touch. There is now available a full afternoon tea for £17.95! I know things have to change with these economic times, still, a shame.
However being made to feel special staying at the Bridge is something that should never change. Yet S, who I assume is the General Manager, had such an air of condescension, of snobbery, a way of delaying a reply to a request, just enough to make you feel you were being a nuisance, that he managed to sour our experience.
Fortunately there was a different chap at reception the day we checked out who couldn’t have been more friendly.
Dear Bridge Hotel please make the dining experience as great as it used to be and Reception represent the heart of the hotel – that feeling of being welcome is so important. It takes us a whole day travelling to arrive at your wonderful part of the world – make it worth it again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set between two lakes and surrounded by Fells in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Bridge Hotel is situated on a site which has been occupied for over a 1000 years. Licensed as a Coaching Inn in1735 it has evolved into a luxury traditional Lakeland hotel offering a warm welcome, comfort and attentive service. Innovative chefs provide excellent, freshly prepared, locally sourced, quality food both in the dining room and bars. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bridge Hotel Buttermere, Lake District