“ The Beech Hill Hotel / Newby Bridge Road / Windermere / Cumbria / LA23 3LR / Tel: 01539 442137 / Fax: 01539 443745. „
The title of this review is a line taken from a William Wordsworth poem and as the lakes are Wordsworths patch I thought it only fitting.
I've been away a lot over the last few weeks. Firstly I was whisked away by my beloved to a very nice hotel in Stratford and then I was in Wales with work but for the last couple of days I have been lucky enough to tag along with my other half whilst he enjoyed a freebie break at The Beech Hill Hotel.
He was offered this opportunity as part of his job and in return for us writing a review for the newspaper he works for and taking some piccies we have just enjoyed a very nice weekend away.
So what did I think of it? If you'd like to sit comfortably then I shall begin.
The Beech Hill Hotel is part of the Richardson chain. Who are they you may ask - I'd never heard of them before either - so here's a bit of a blurb.
The Richardson chain provide hotels of distinction according to their website www.richardsonhotels.co.uk. There are 8 hotels in total
Idle Rocks St Mawes in Cornwall
The Metropole Padstow in Cornwall
The Grand Hotel Torquay
The Beech Hill Hotel Lake District
The Falmouth Hotel Falmouth Bay
The Fowey Hotel Fowey Estuary in Cornwall
Eaves Hall Ribble Valley
The Grand Lady Floating 5 star hotel
All of the hotels appear to be more upmarket from their images on the Richardson website with them being 3 star plus rated.
The website is easy to navigate with the hotels being listed as images that you can click on to open their particular website in a new browser window.
The Beech Hill still bears its relation to the Best Western chain and in fact as you draw close to the hotel, the Best Western sign is the first thing that you do notice.
The hotel is directly off the main road that runs from Newby Bridge to Bowness and backs onto Lake Windermere. The hotel is nestled into the hillside and all rooms offer a fantastic view of the lake itself.
You are able to walk from your room down to the lakeside where the hotel has its own private jetty. Slightly above this there are tables and chairs set out so that you can watch the sunset over the fells in the summer whilst being sat beside the lake.
There is parking at the front of the hotel for disabled or elderly guests with parking to the rear of the hotel for all other guests and hotel staff. Beware the steep ramp as you enter the car park and bear in mind that should there be ice and snow, the rear car park is difficult to get out of and there have been occasions where guests have been stranded because of not being able to move their cars. (What a shame being stranded in such a beautiful location!)
Using the main entrance from the A592 you walk into a large reception area decorated in muted colours with lots of dark wood. The reception desk is to the left as you walk in, tucked slightly around a corner.
The main part of the room is furnished with low tables and leather sofas to form a lounge to add onto the bar areas which are located further back leading into the restaurant.
As the hotel is set into the hillside the guest bedrooms are on several different levels. I counted 7 floors in total. The reception is on the 4th floor or the ground floor from the main entrance on the road. We were situated on the 2nd Floor which was only accessible by stairs.
The hotel has different room types and different rates depending upon the room type you choose. As this was a freebie trip and the hotel really want you to write good things about them we had been treated to one of their best rooms.
The Wordsworth Suite
The daddy of their rooms. You get your own private balcony overlooking the lake which has its own hot tub on it. Included are bathrobes, hospitality tray and all the usual things and the bathroom is upgraded to include a spa corner bath and walk in separate shower. You also have your own private entrance into the swimming pool area.
This is in the newest part of the hotel and have recently been renovated. There are 4 in a row, which originally were 7 bedrooms and each have their own section of decking complete with chairs which overlook the lake. The bathroom again has a spa corner bath and separate shower. They also have Plasma TVs, fresh flowers, mineral water and bathrobes.
These are large rooms with either four poster or antique beds. They are further down and have terraces which open straight out onto the lakeside. They have the same facilities as the Premier Plus rooms.
Select Double & Select Plus Double
The usual stuff but these are smaller rooms which have king sized beds and spa baths. The Select Plus Double has a sun terrace leading down to the lake.
These are the cheaper rooms and only offer partial views of the lake. The facilities are as standard for a hotel room.
So what did we get then? We didnt get the Wordsworth suite because it was already booked but we did get a Premier Plus which was stunning. I walked into the room and was immediately struck by the lightness and airiness of the room. The whole of the wall facing me was glass with sliding patio doors and the curtains had been pulled back to show off the stunning view of the lake, trees and fells (which were snowcapped when we went) and my mouth dropped open, quite literally.
I grew up in a big city and getting to country side was a thing we did every weekend but never anywhere like here. I had seen pictures but always thought that nothing could be that naturally beautiful how wrong was I? Amazing. Just for the view alone the trip was worth it.
To my right as I walked through the door was the bathroom. I switched on the light and what a delight the bathroom was spotless. The floor and walls were tiled with a natural stone tile which looked fabulous with the large corner bath in the left far corner. The shower was to my right and was a generous size.
One thing was missing though the bathrobes and the mineral water although I didnt know we were supposed to have had these until afterwards.
The first thing we did (after my other half had reeled off some piccies of the room) was to open the patio doors and walk out onto the decking. Use caution the decking is slippy when wet! I will come onto this later.
The room was decorated with a very plush, soft yellowish carpet and the walls had yellow and cream striped wallpaper on the lower half, with cream paint at the top. The plasma TV was large and not cheap looking and was suspended from the ceiling from an arm which was adjustable so you could watch whilst in bed or from sitting on the cream leather sofa next to the patio doors.
The bed was in the centre of the room and I could lie on it sideways and still not touch either end. It was massive. In fact, our first night we got into bed, covered over and I turned over for a kiss and my other half was too far away! We soon changed that but anyhow you dont want to know about anything like that do you?!?! And now I am blushing!
Moving swiftly on. There is also a triangular shaped glass table in the room where there are fresh flowers.
The hotel has a pool with a Sauna and also a Solarium. The Sauna was out of action but we made use of the pool which is the same depth all the way along. The Solarium is in the same area but there is only one and beware it is very strong. I tried it out and asked for 6 minutes. I then found out after that 6 minutes is the maximum. I was a little sore to say the least.
The hotel also has a bar, lounge and restaurant. The bar prices are not extortionate as we paid £3.35 for a lime and lemonade and a half a lager. I decided that as I was at a luxury hotel then I should behave like a lady and not order a pint.
The hotel also provides board games such as Monopoly (we gave up as couldnt figure out how to use the credit cards that come with it- what happened to money!?!?!) Scrabble, Chess, Draughts, Cards and Dominoes.
Moving onto the restaurant now then. This is nicely arranged and has many tables that overlook the lake.
There are 2 menus that are on offer the Simple menu which is 3 courses and the Gourmet menu which is 5 courses and not for the fainthearted.
We tried both (on different nights of course) and the results were simply awesome. From the simple menu we tried the soup which on our stay was Coriander, Carrot and Parsnip. This had the very thick consistency you would expect of a soup that had pureed vegetables in it. The taste was amazing and the creamy texture made it all the more appetising. Perfect for a starter as it wasnt too heavy.
We then both had the Haddock. This came in a large bowl and was 2 pieces of battered haddock placed on top of each other to form a cross on a bed of peas and new potatoes with the sauce on the top. Again this was a taste sensation. The fish was perfectly cooked being firm and nicely chewable with a slightly melt on the tongue consistency. It was perfectly white and had clearly been well filleted as I didnt find any bones. The sauce complimented it perfectly being neither too vinegary nor too sweet just the sublime smoothness with slight tartness.
For desert I enjoyed a very light sorbet which was just right being refreshing after such a large meal.
The wine list is not cheap we had a house white, which was a French sauvignon blanc priced at £16.95 for a bottle I thought this a bit excessive but as we werent paying then I wasnt that bothered. It did compliment the fish perfectly.
Onto the Gourmet Menu. I purposely ate at lunchtime a very small meal because I knew I had a big meal coming up. But we had a Pancetta Veloute which came in a very small cup similar to which you would drink an espresso out of and is a soup made of Pancetta. Perfect. We both had the chicken for our starter, sorbet for the Intermediate course and I chose the Lamb and my partner had the beef for our main courses.
It seemed such a shame to eat our food. The presentation was so artistic but the aromas of the chicken and the lamb were too much to resist and tuck in we did. The lamb fell off the bone it was so tender. It had a melt in the mouth quality and the cut of meat was such that you didnt need to do much to it to extract flavour. The sauce accompanied it perfectly only thing was that by now my trousers were too tight and I was in danger of popping buttons. Thank god Id worn linen which stretches with you!
The dessert was absolutely amazing. I chose an Almond Meringue and my partner had a soufflé. As anyone who has attempted a soufflé will tell you it is notoriously difficult to make but the result that was presented was absolute perfection. My meringue melted on the tongue and the roasted almonds gave it a different quality altogether.
As you may have read in my other reviews, I have been to some top quality restaurants in my time and eaten some fantastic food but this was far and away the best meal I have ever eaten anywhere. I felt like walking into the kitchen and kissing the chef.
To call the food which was on the simple menu simple really does do the food a disservice for it is anything but.
The Gourmet menu is priced at £39.95 or if booked at the time of room reservation then £34.95. The simple menu is £29.95 or £24.95 if booked with room reservation.
Stuff to do
The hotel is just a short drive from Bowness where you can catch a boat to Waterside and walk into Ambleside which is a Victorian village and very picturesque. Lake Coniston is not far either and we visited there on the way back.
Of course you could always stock up on Kendal mint cake and go on one of the many nature walks that are available.
There are also loads of campsites and caravan parks so the lakes really does cater for every type of holiday.
There would be more to do in the summer months as thered be so much more open but during the winter months it does limit you.
What did we do? Lazed around the hotel pool, swam, had a sun shower, got caught in a hail storm when we went on the boat over to Waterside (made me as sick as a dog) and sat out on our decking in our coats just soaking up the view. We could have sat there for hours just staring over the water and it was so relaxing. Oh, and we did lots of eating!
As for the decking outside our room? I did mention it was slippy. Im accident prone so of course, I slipped on the snow and went my whole length. My partner thought Id fell over the edge and rolled down the hill such was the bang!
Facts about the Beech Hill
The hotel has 3 stars (why only 3????)
The restaurant holds 2 AA Rosette Awards
40 foot indoor pool
October 2006 to April 2007 £69.00
April to May 2007 £74.00
June to September 2007 £84.00
October to December 2007 £74.00
October 2006 to April 2007 £59.00
April to May 2007 £59.00
June to September 2007 £69.00
October to December 2007 £59.00
Select Rooms: £10.00 Supplement
Select Plus Rooms: £20.00 Supplement
Premier Rooms: £30.00 Supplement
Premier Plus Rooms: £40.00 Supplement
The Wordsworth Suite: £135 per person Midweek & £155 per person Weekend
www.beechhillhotel.co.uk or through the Richardson Hotels website www.richardsonhotels.co.uk and select The Beech Hill.
Telephone 01539 442137
So would I recommend it? You bet your life I would. If only for just the food and the views. It makes the trip well worth it and you can understand why people travel far and wide to stay in this part of the country.
Should I ever win the lottery then I would buy a house right down by the lake. Imagine waking up every morning and seeing the light playing over the fells and the lake. Heaven!