REVIEW: Langdale Hotel and Spa, Lake District
With hundreds of hotels peppered throughout the Lake District, it can take something a little bit special for one to truly stand out.
Despite its secluded location, Langdale Hotel and Spa more than manages this.
Nestled in a forested country estate just a few miles from Ambleside and Lake Windermere, this quaint woodland resort is a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Here, nature and history combine elegantly with contemporary architecture to bring to life a stunning retreat that feels like home the second you arrive.
Formerly a gunpowder factory for the local mining industry, the estate, bought and developed as a holiday resort in the 1930s, has evolved considerably over the years.
Roads and paths snake around Scandinavian-style lodges while picturesque waterways and ponds provide stunning backdrops at every turn.
Inside, it's just as grand as well.
The 'Ultimate Room' I stayed in was beyond luxurious. The super king-sized bed lined with Egyptian cottons, the spacious seating area, the remote controlled shower; all combining to ensure the most pleasant of stays.
The undoubted feature though was the twin free-standing baths...that, because who likes taps anyway, auto-filled from the ceiling. I don't even particularly like baths but if I had one these in my house, I'd sleep in it.
The room was just a short (indoor) walk from the sprawling Stove Restaurant and Bar. Here, you can sit in the stylish mezzanine and soak up the surrounding views of the countryside or take a seat in the more vibrant bar area. For those desiring a more romantic dining experience, the Wine Room delivers blissful serenity
I had the smokehouse duck to start. Thin slices of succulent meat accompanied by watermelon, toasted cashews and beansprouts, with a sprinkling of coriander and ginger; the dish, light and fresh, was unsurprisingly delicious, yet surprisingly filling.
It was not, however, going to stop me wolfing down the lemon and thyme roasted half chicken that came out for my main. Served with the fluffiest of triple cooked chips, I also opted for a side of creamy mash. Heavy in carbs, heavy in taste. The chips and the mash were melt in your mouth perfection; the chicken, tender and juicy with pleasant zesty overtones.
The sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream was not so much wolfed down as it was delicately polished off. As the last, beautifully rich spoonful went down, so did my head, as I contemplated the torturous one-minute hike back to my room.
By morning, my appetite had miraculously returned and I sauntered back to the Stove for breakfast. A huge range of fruits, cereal, breads and spreads are readily available but it was the hot buffet I was here for and one full English later, the table was holding my head again.
Hotels in the Lakes offer the perfect base from which to explore all the countless valleys and fells. However, it’s not that easy to just walk away from the Langdale Estate.
Leisure facilities - gym, 20m indoor swimming pool, steam room, sauna - are all complimentary but if you fancy taking your relaxation to the next level, Brimstone Spa, located at the heart of the estate, is right at hand.
With seven thermal experiences, a nine metre-indoor/outdoor relaxation pool and five indoor and outdoor relaxation areas, I was taken on a thermal journey, from warm to hot, culminating in a bite to eat at the delectable spa deli.
Fully rested and rejuvenated, the Lake District and all its majestic glory awaited.