Be it the prospect of international travel bans, not yet wanting to board a plane or simply a desire to explore more of what the UK has to offer, the summer of 2020 looks set to be the year we embrace the staycation. We’ll be reporting back from some of our favourite UK country hotels over the next couple of months. First up, CODE’s Harriet Prior tells us about her visit to Brimstone Hotel in the Lake District...
It’s only ever when you get out of London you often realise how much you need a break from city life. With anxiety rising pre-pandemic, this statement was more true than ever as I set off on my trip to Brimstone Hotel in Cumbria.
Located in the Langdale Estate near Lake Windermere in the Lake District, the closest station is just a two-and-a-half hour train from London. The hotel conveniently offers a complimentary taxi service, so 20 minutes after arriving at the train station, we pulled up at Brimstone Hotel and were hit by a wave of fresh air synonymous with the countryside.
Upon arrival there’s no formal reception, the first sign that this hotel does things differently. Instead, you are greeted by one of the hotel’s hosts and taken to your room for a run-down of the facilities. It’s the little touches that make the hotel special: the hot chocolate complete with marshmallows and chocolate left in your room each evening, the aforementioned taxi service, the most comfortable beds I’ve ever stayed in and in particular the reading room.
Unlike normal hotels where you can expect to pay £5 for the luxury of having a bottle of water in your room, the reading room offers guests 24-hour access to complimentary drinks, tea, coffee, cakes and fresh sandwiches laid out throughout the day in what feels like the comfort of your own living room. On reflection, there’s something very relaxing about not having to think about the excess costs you are racking up at during your stay when ordering a drink and snack from the hotel bar or having breakfast.
With the 16 rooms starting at £370 a night, the hotel is on the pricier side, however with everything from breakfast to spa access included, it is well worth it. We stayed in a plush room, with decor reminiscent of a high-end ski chalet, complete with oak beams, cosy fireplaces, roll top baths and large balconies. The service you receive also matches the price tag, as the staff seem to pre-empt any needs you may have: a blanket so you are able to enjoy your balcony in the colder months, robes and flip flops so you can change for the spa in the comfort of your own room, a refillable water bottle to cut down on plastic usage and even a mars bar left in the room in case you need a chocolate fix.
Undoubtedly the highlight, though, is the spa. With seven thermal experiences, a private spa suite for two, treatment rooms, a swimming pool opening up to the outside and a fireplace with a sofa, the spa is certainly not an add-on, but rather a star in its own right. Again, it’s the touches that make all the difference here, including your choice of three scented bags to take with you into the sauna and a step-by-step guide of how to get the most out of your experience.
Also impressive is the restaurant, Stove. With a monopoly over the estate, it would be easy for the restaurant to drop its standards, but that certainly isn’t the case. Complete with a lounge area and open kitchen, the spacious and convivial restaurant serves Mediterranean-style dishes. For pub classics and a more casual dining experience, Wainwrights Inn is just a few minutes walk away.
Although it’s tempting to stay tucked up in the cosy beds, don’t miss out on the chance to explore the rolling countryside and rivers of the surrounding area. For those who aren’t willing to schlep walking boots and waterproofs with them, there is a well-stocked kit room with everything you need, and the team are on hand to provide you with walking routes whether you fancy a quick stroll or are a seasoned hiker.
I returned to London feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Above all, Brimstone Hotel offered a safe haven of calm in a slightly manic world. The weekend left me in many ways wondering why I don’t spend more time exploring the hidden gems that our own country has to offer, and now more than ever it is the perfect time to stay closer to home.
CODE was a guest of Brimstone Hotel.
To find out more or to book a room, visit the website here
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