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A wonderful honeymoon and more!
Fayrer Garden House Hotel (Cumbria)
Member Name: SusanLesley
Fayrer Garden House Hotel (Cumbria)
Date: 27/10/07, updated on 07/05/09 (203 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic view, food, rooms, staff, hospitality - need I say more?
Disadvantages: As if!!!!!!!!!!
We have just returned from our third holiday at this wonderful hotel in The Lake District, so I thought I would tell you all about it.
To start at the beginning we originally found the Fayrer Garden Hotel when we were planning our wedding for April 2005 and we decided that we needed a really nice honeymoon.
At the time I was carer to my dad who was suffering from the later stages of Alzheimer's disease and so didn't get away very often and when my sister and her fiancé had offered to look after mom and dad for a week so that we could get away, the hunt was on for the perfect destination.
We did not want to go abroad as we could only get away for a week and didn't want to spend to long travelling and I didn't want us to have to travel too far in Britain either. This was partly because I wanted to be relatively near home in case anything happened that meant we needed to return in a hurry and also partly because Dave travels all over the UK with his job as an IT Consultant and he deserved a rest from driving.
We live in North Wales so we decided that The Lake District would be as good a place as any to honeymoon. I had been to the Lake District many years ago for holidays but Dave had only ever passed through it on the way to somewhere else. We both wanted to be somewhere peaceful, we both enjoy walking and fresh air and we both fancied a bit of luxury, so the search was on!
We began by searching the internet to try and find a hotel that suited our requirements of a good, licenced restaurant, a four poster bed, en suite Jacuzzi, and in a quiet location, preferably in the Windermere area so that we would be reasonably central.
We tried all the different search engines for hotels in the Windermere area to no avail. We even rang one or two and were asked by one for £500 deposit!
Then one evening Dave had gone into the kitchen to make us a cup of tea and I took over the laptop. I went onto the Smoothound site, which we had already scoured over and over, went to the section for Windermere and there was the name of a hotel that neither of us had picked up in previous searches! It was as though it had just appeared especially for me to find that evening.
We read the write up and it sounded perfect. It was the called Fayrer Garden House Hotel and it was just outside Bowness on Windermere. As I said earlier we had wanted somewhere near Windermere so that we could be roughly in the centre of the Lake District so that we would be in a good place for exploring.
We took a look at their website on www.fayrergarden.com and were VERY impressed with the look of the place. It was originally built as a beautiful country house and has been converted into a three star hotel set in 5 acres of gardens and grounds.
Dave rang and spoke to the manager there. The hotel was actually closed at the time because it was the middle of winter but the manager just happened to be in the building when the phone rang. I told you we were meant to go to this hotel!
Naturally I could only hear Dave's end of the conversation but he was soon talking to this guy as thought they were best mates. He asked Dave if we would like the room with the four poster bed, Jacuzzi and lake view or the newly refurbished room, without the four poster bed, but with Jacuzzi, window seat and better view of the lake. Dave repeated this question to me and I said I didn't know which to choose. The manager then said to Dave to ask me if I wanted blue décor or cream and terracotta décor - I chose the latter which meant that I had chosen the four poster room so that was all agreed.
We booked for six nights from the Sunday after the wedding coming home on the following Saturday morning.
The cost would be £590 per person for the six nights stay on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis in the Superior Lake View room.
The hotel took a £60 deposit from our credit card, a bit more acceptable than £500 then! They sent us confirmation of the booking by return and also sent us a brochure telling us more about the hotel, the restaurant, the rooms and the surrounding area.
The brochure was gorgeous and showed lots of photographs of the hotel, the gardens, the bedrooms, the restaurant etc., and of course there was a map and comprehensive directions on how to reach the hotel.
The rooms ranged from the Lake View Superior Rooms to rooms on the front of the house with views over the gardens, which are available as doubles, twin or family rooms.
The motto of the hotel printed on the front of the brochure is 'We try not to overlook anything but the lake'.
All we had to do now was to wait for the big day! The wedding itself was perfect, everything went according to plan, which in retrospect was really important as it was the last near normal day spent with my lovely dad who sadly lost his battle with Alzheimer's disease in July of that year, just three months after the wedding.
Sorry, I digressed there, back to the hotel now......
On the Sunday after the wedding we set off for the Lake District. As I had said earlier the directions on the brochure were excellent and very easy to follow, although the hotel is relatively easy to find being about 20 minutes walk from Bowness on Windermere.
Our first impression as we pulled into the sweeping drive was that even though the brochure was beautiful it didn't do this hotel justice. The drive curved round the front gardens with a lawn and lovely flower beds and trees. The hotel has won the Soroptomists' Cup and Gold Certificate for the best hotel garden in Windermere a fact which came as no surprise to us.
There was plenty of space to park either beneath the trees or out in the open to the side of the house next to the lawns.
The hotel is set behind the gardens and is a really pretty building with lots of roofs at different heights and windows set seemingly at random across the walls. Hanging baskets adorn the entrance to the porch and climbers scramble up the front wall. (The plant variety NOT the human variety!)
As we entered the porch we were faced with a wonderful old solid wood door and on passing through this door we found ourselves in what looked like the entrance hall of a grand house, which is how it was originally built.
Behind an old sideboard on our right the original wooden staircase twisted its way up to the next floor, the lounge was clearly visible in front of us and we could see through the room out of the windows to the view beyond and in the corner next to a large old fashioned fireplace was the check in desk.
We were greeted immediately and were given our keys, a brief description of where everything was and we were offered help with our luggage. I did notice that on the desk was a stand with an A4 sheet of paper in it giving the day's weather forecast - a nice touch! (Well apart from the day when it just said RAIN in large capital letters!)
We went up to our room admiring the lovely staircase and peeping through the window half way up which looked out on to the front gardens.
As we entered our room we could do nothing but gasp in surprise, the room was stunning!
There was a beautiful old four poster bed, a small (but adequate) wardrobe, a dressing table, a coffee table, two easy chairs, a TV unit with a good TV, CD player, a small unit for the tea making facilities, a trouser press and a stand to put the case on while we unpacked. All this and there was still plenty of room to move about!
The en suite consisted of a Jacuzzi bath with shower over, a sink and a toilet. Everything was spotlessly clean and there were plenty of toiletries - shampoo, shower gel, bath crystals, soap and tissues. We also had the use of thick white bathrobes!
There was also a tea tray with tea, coffee, chocolate, brown and white sugar, sweetners and cartons of long life milk. If you ask at reception they are quite happy to give you a jug of fresh milk for your tea. We also had a small bottle of sparkling and a bottle of still water each day.
The view from the window was amazing. We could see across the lawns at the back of the hotel to Lake Windermere beyond. The mountains of the Lake District formed the backdrop to this wonderful view. One morning there was a mist just over the lake, the lawns were in sunshine and so were the hills above the lake - it was really eerie.
There were plenty of books, maps and leaflets in the room telling us all about the area and places of interest that we might like to visit. There were also many more leaflets on a stand on the landing and more in the reception hall on the sideboard. There were also maps for sale - either walking maps or driving maps of the area. These were simplified maps of the area just showing the main routes, to have on your lap in the car to give you an idea of where things were. The one we bought proved to be a really useful addition to the ordinary map book that we always have in the car.
So, what about the food I hear you ask? With everything else so lovely would the food be a disappointment? Of course not!
The meals were served in the Terrace Restaurant which looked out onto the back lawns, fountain and Lake Windermere in the near distance. It was a lovely place to sit and eat watching rabbits running about and Muntjac deer grazing on the lawns. As the light faded whilst eating our evening meal the neighbouring houses and hotels beyond the lawns lit up giving a pretty glow.
Back to the food - breakfast consisted of the now traditional self service array of fruits (grapefruit, fresh fruit salad, prunes and apricots), fruit juices (orange, grapefruit, iced water and bottled juices), cereals (cornflakes, muesli, rice crispies, bran flakes and weetabix), followed by either a cooked breakfast with as much or as little as we wanted from bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomatoes and eggs (boiled, fried, poached or scrambled) or croissants, kippers, and then as much toast as we wanted, complete with jam, marmalade and honey and of course lots of tea or coffee.
We made a reservation for our evening meal each morning as we left the hotel for the day's enjoyment. The Terrace restaurant is also open to members of the public when space allows.
The evening meal began with canapés in either the lounge or the bar, which is where we went for an aperitif each evening. There we were given the menu from which we chose our first three courses.
The first course was a choice of five different items such as chilled galia melon, terrine of Cartmel Valley game, tian of Cornish crab or warm salad of asparagus and goats cheese. Each choice on the menu had a sentence below it explaining exactly what it consisted of.
The second course was always a choice of homemade soup of the day or fruit sorbet.
The main course was again a choice of five different meals such as supreme of cornfed chicken, racks of prime fell bred Lakeland lamb, fillet of Scottish salmon or lasagne of roasted peppers. Again each choice on the menu was adequately described.
The sweets were a choice of things such as triple chocolate marquise, praline and vanilla cheesecake, meringue feuillant or the cheese platter consisting of five different cheeses, grapes, celery and plenty of crackers and butter.
Coffee and petit fours were then served in the lounge or the bar, but we only managed that once during any of our three stays!!
The food was as good as it sounds and was complimented by an extensive wine list although we tended to go for the house wines and they were excellent.
The staff seemed to know just how much attention we needed at all times and the service that we received was exactly right. I did comment on this fact when we checked out at the end of our stay and the manager told us that all the members of staff were specifically trained to know how much help individuals needed.
Some people want to be left alone whilst some want to be fussed over all the time and the rest of us are somewhere in between and the staff know who needs what and they deliver it to the best of their ability.
The hotel is licensed for civil wedding ceremonies and can cater for 10 to 40 guests. We were told that the winter weddings by candlelight were particularly gorgeous.
The hotel does not have its own leisure facilities but guests have free use of the facilities at the Parklands Country Club at the Burnside Hotel which is half a mile down the road. These include a heated pool, badminton, squash, a sauna and snooker tables.
The Fayrer Garden House Hotel is easy to get to as it is only 2.5 miles from Windermere Railway Station, 8 miles from Kendal and is only a short drive from Junction 40 of the M6.
Bowness on Windermere is just ¾ of a mile away and is within easy walking distance if you fancy walking off some of the calories contained in the glorious food!
Just remember that since it is a nice downhill walk into Bowness it's going to be an uphill walk back! LOL!
When we were due to leave and we went to pay our bill the manager insisted on giving us a £50 reduction as though we had presented one of their gift vouchers as a wedding present. It's the little things like that which really make the holiday special.
To sum up this was the perfect hotel for the perfect honeymoon and we knew then that we would be visiting them again as soon as we are able to!!
The second visit - August 2006
Well we did visit again!
I am still a full time carer only now it is to my mother who has Vascular Dementia so getting a break is still a pretty rare occurrence, but my sister and her fiancé offered to look after mom for a couple of days so that we could get away.
Dave said would I mind going back to the Lake District - would I mind? What a silly question!
Obviously we returned to The Fayrer Garden House Hotel as we had enjoyed our previous stay so much.
This time we had the room with the blue decor (see the explanation at the start of the review) and this was the Superior Lake View Room right at the top of the house. View was certainly not an understatement - it was gorgeous up there. We could see right across the lake to the hills beyond and the room even had a window seat so that we could sit and appreciate the beautiful view.
The room itself had the character of being up in the eaves of the house which makes it really pretty with quirky shapes in the ceiling and a skylight window in the bathroom.
The bedroom had a huge bed and a set of units along the wall in light wood, possibly beech, consisting of two sets of cupboards and two sets of drawers with a dressing table area and mirror. There were also two easy chairs.
There was a small dressing room leading off the bedroom where there was a further chair and a large wardrobe.
This led into the bathroom with a corner whirlpool bath with shower over, a toilet and sink. There was also a small table which was very handy for our toiletries.
The rest of the details were as the review above but I thought that I would just add the description of the other room and say that the hotel is just as good as ever and we shall be returning!!!!!
The third visit - October 2007
Again thanks to my sister looking after mom for a week (she didn't know what she was letting herself in for!) we managed another week at the Fayrer Garden House Hotel.
We tried to get the room at the top of the house as slightly preferred this one but it was booked so we had our honeymoon room again.
Everything was just as wonderful as before. The autumn colours provided wonderful views, the weather was dry and mainly sunny all week and the holiday was just the break that I needed.
They even left us a note saying 'Welcome Back' on the dressing table together with a box of four Thornton's chocolates.
Incidentally the owners of the hotel send us a price list each year together with vouchers for £50 off a stay at the hotel and for a free cruise on Lake Windermere.
Further Update 2009
We went back here for Easter week this year and took Dave's mom with us. We all had garden rooms on the ground floor - the first time Dave and I had not had a suite - and they were excellent!!.
I would be happy to return and take a garden room again. We had double patio doors opening out onto the garden with a view over Lake Windemere and a table and chairs just outside the doors for our use.
The bathroom had been refurbished and there was a large double shower but no bath.
The food and service was just as good as ever and we had a wonderful time.
Summary: Simply the best!
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