Sharrow Bay was the first ever ‘Country House Hotel’ that became a symbol for old-fashioned luxury where guests came from across the world to lie in its lap. The 17-room hotel is now owned by Andrew Davis, formerly head of Von Essen Hotels. He has £2.5m to return the hotel to its grandiose days and he has brought in manager Oliver Smith to help him do it. Pat and I couldn’t resist the chance to stay there. Our suite was a Premiere Deluxe overlooking the lake and deluxe it certainly was. The view across the lake was fabulous – even from the bathroom! The TV had every station and the best program finder I have ever seen.
Mr Smith told us: “It’s been a great team effort to make the hotel look as fantastic as it does now. Embracing our past is important but now we have to create our own chapter in the history of Sharrow Bay. The key for us is providing an experience that begins during the first minutes of arrival: the location, the food and wines, the splendid rooms and the attentive staff. Our occupancy is about 90% leisure so we want to grow the corporate side of the business. Our conference room is ideal for company presentations.”
Chef Colin Akrigg joined Sharrow Bay in 1968 as a 13-year-old kitchen porter. He became head chef in 1997 and earned the hotel a coveted Michelin Star 14 years running but which was lost in 2012. The hotel has launched a special lunch menu ‘Sharrow Through The Ages’ featuring dishes from as far back as the 1960s. The three-course meal is available at 1983 prices of just £20.50 per person. (We returned a month later to try it!)
Sharrow Bay is renowned for its cuisine which has always been innovative without losing sight of quality and tradition. The opulence and creativity of the two dinner menus beggar belief – especially the taster menu: nine courses of sheer pleasure and excitement. Despite the claims and counter-claims the Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe was created at Sharrow Bay in the 1970s. The secret recipe is the stuff of culinary legend. Every staff member has signed an agreement not disclose the secret recipe held in the hotel's vaults. The sweet, sticky sponge served daily in the restaurant is 'still the finest anywhere in the world'.
Mr Smith: “We will soon have doubled the size of the restaurant – another 30 covers. There are six more suites planned all with lake views. Sharrow Bay is legendary and has drawn celebrities from across the world. It’s incredibly iconic so we need to return the character and the standards that existed previously. So many recent visitors have been here before. Now they are returning (sometimes after 40 years) to see what it’s like often remarking that it is the best they have ever seen it. They are pleased that it’s not a city boutique hotel – that it’s warm and comfortable with stylish furnishings and attractive antiques – warm and friendly with service that is not too intrusive. We are reborn and soon we will regain our star.”
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sharrow Bay is unique; the epitome of English country living in an unrivalled location surrounded by snow-topped mountains and fells, right on the shores of Lake Ullswater, widely regarded as the most beautiful lake in the country. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sharrow Bay Country Hotel
- Sharrow Bay Country Penrith
- Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel Pooley Bridge, England