Short Break - Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Windermere,
PUBLISHED: 00:50 15 June 2013
Janet Reeder finds out how the Lake District’s Gilpin Lodge hotel managed to improve on perfection.
I can say hand on heart that the Gilpin is one of my all time favourite places to stay in the UK. So much so that when my partner and I have begun to use it as a benchmark for perfection and alas! Very few places come up to the mark.
What’s so right with it? Brilliant service for a start. A weekend at the Lake House which is the hotel’s private hideaway starts with the kind of greeting you’d get as if you were a much loved member of the family but no worries if you want to be reclusive for a few days, the staff will back off. Then there’s the fact the rooms are equipped with everything you could possibly need and finally, there’s the jolly trip along the winding country lanes in the evening to the main hotel for a wonderful dinner.
To all this, the hotel has added a spa trail at its Jetty Spa and it is indeed like no other pampering experience I have ever had in the UK. For one thing you’re in seclusion in the middle of amazing countryside. The treatment room is a modernist wooden building with glass walls that give you a view of the stunning lake and the feel is that you’re at one with nature.
My partner has only ever been on a couples treatment once before and I never heard the last of how awful it was. Guantanamo Bay had nothing on the Cheshire spa we had visited but even he loosened up after our aromatherapy consultation with our therapist Jo who invited us to create our own bespoke blend of massage oils and a body spritz, before leading us off to have exclusive use of the sauna and pool.
The seclusion is perfectly designed to help you relax and so once it was time for us to have our massages side by side in the woodland cabin, we were perfectly chilled out. The trail continued with more relaxation under faux fur blankets as we enjoyed flowering tea and canapés while gazing out onto the beautiful lake.
And the trail ended with us immersed in the hot tub while Richard Marriott the hotel’s Night Manager came over all Jeeves and Wooster and served us champagne. We of course loved every minute of it - how could we not? It had really been thought out down to the very last detail and honestly, I want every one of my friends to head off here immediately to shed the stresses of everyday life at the Lake House. This magical place can be hired for weddings and parties so if I am ever blessed with wealth I’ll be back with all my friends for what can only be described as a very, very special experience.
The Gilpin Hotel is one of the Lake District’s hidden gems, a place to kick back and truly relax. It’s a few miles out and a million miles away from the touristic attractions of Windermere, a retreat for the stressed, a beautiful location to take a loved one and a delight for foodies.
We asked the Gilpin’s Zoe Cunliffe to explain just what makes the hotel so special..,
Fabulous hotels are about passion, and for us, about family. We are both family-owned and family-run and have a fantastic long standing team, resulting in truly professional service with a personal, relaxed, warm and caring style. We all get to know our guests and very much enjoy the art of hospitality; we do our very best to make every single guest feel “at home”.
When you stay at Gilpin, you’re not just choosing a bedroom, you’re choosing an interior design with fabulous fabrics, wallpapers and furnishings.
We have evolved Gilpin Hotel over the last 25 years, spreading out instead of up, so that 14 of the 20 bedrooms lead directly onto the gardens, many with private decking and cedarwood hot tubs, and all with lovely views.
Gilpin Lake House is, put simply, a sanctuary, where just six suites enjoy exclusive access to 100 acres of private grounds, including a stunningly beautiful four-acre private lake and the new Jetty Spa.
We have held three AA rosettes for our food for over 15 years, and specialise in fine dining without any of that pretentious stuffiness. Dan Grigg’s food is imaginative and enticing and each dish has a carefully matched wine. We have four very different dining rooms, which creates intimacy as well as a buzz, with our friendly team always on hand to make sure you have a wonderful time.
There are some amazing packages involving our spa and hot tubs – no weddings, business or young children, simply relaxing luxury. Our guests visit us for many reasons, often milestones such as birthdays, minimoons, honeymoons, anniversaries, celebrations, rest and recovery, spending time with dear friends, or simply to awaken the senses. We set the scene as beautifully as we can, so you can truly enjoy the time together without worry, and create priceless memories.
The family and team are very proud to have been voted the English Tourist Board Awards for Excellence Small Hotel of the Year 2011, AA England Hotel of the Year 2011, Catey Independent Hotel of the Year 2012 and Condé Nast Johansens Most Excellent Country House Hotel 2013. AA three Rosettes, AA four Red Stars, a Relais & Châteaux hotel.
The Jetty (Lake House Spa) is set on a stunningly beautiful four-acre private lake. Designed with couples in mind, the Swedish-style spa treatment room has been built to blend with the environment, raised three metres into the tree canopy, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake. The Jetty Spa Trail is a bespoke Couples’ Spa Journey designed to gently stimulate and revive the senses; enjoy the experience together. Your sensory experience begins with a private aroma consultation to create personalised products just for you. Then to the spa for a private swim followed a relaxing salt snug with a refreshing slush puppy and a reviving salt scrub shower. Through the woods to an aroma massage and an amazing view, followed by green tea and appetisers on the end of the jetty. To top it off? Champagne in the hot tub, booked for you, and bespoke spa goodies to take home. The trail will guide you as you discover sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations which will lead you to your ultimate goal – a deep relaxation that will stay with you for a long time.
Since 1917 and spanning five generations, the Cunliffe family have been coming together at the Lake House for holidays, short breaks and parties. With its own lake and private spa, set in 100 acres of private grounds, Gilpin Lake House provides an inspiring and peaceful location that is perfect for exclusive use. It is a wonderful place for family groups and friends, small weddings (25 people maximum) and private meetings spanning a few days. Whether your event is for leisure or business, the Lake House provides an inspiring location with an abundance of natural beauty.
Prices start from £335 per room per night for two including dinner and breakfast (high season)
Gilpin Hotel and Lake House
Crook Road, Windermere, The Lake District LA23 3NE
t: 015394 88818