I was summoned by my wife to watch a regional news item on Friday evening which featured a Lake District hotelier bemoaning the lack of Easter guests, which he attributed to the fallacious belief that the area was under a thick blanket of snow .
OK, there was snow on the fells and peaks but down at lake level everything was fine he said - and the pictures certainly backed it up.
A quick look at the weather forecast confirmed it would be dry there over the forthcoming few days and a speedy search on the internet brought forth some potential late booking bargains . A quick conversation with a friendly and efficient receptionist confirmed the bargain.
So on Sunday we had ventured out of the house for the first time in a few frozen weeks , left Smogland behind, and had wended our way over the A66, thankfully without a hitch . By mid day we were pulling into the car park in the Red Lion in Grasmere by mid day As we had stayed there some twenty years previously ,we were aware of the potential challenges of competitive parking outside the hotel, but we managed to get a slot OK.
Our first impressions were that they had definitely upped their game from when we were last there.
As we knew we couldn’t check in until 3pm we had a very pleasant walk around the Lake and then the village for a few hours. Our room was on the first floor with a view of the surrounding fells and whilst compact, was clean had everything we needed.
Our deal was for two nights Dinner Bed & Breakfast and we could eat on an evening anytime we wanted between 7pm – 9pm. After a leisurely pre dinner drink in the lounge bar we were soon in the very capable and professional hands of the staff of the Courtyard Restaurant. The four course Table d’hote dinner had five choices of starter, then either soup or sorbet, five mains and five puddings, supplemented by coffee & mints in the comfortable lounge.
Although some folks have bemoaned the lack of an a la carte, we felt that there were enough options ( the menu on the second evening changed completely) . Additionally there was an entirely separate vegetarian main course menu with half a dozen choices for those who are not keen on consuming creatures which have run, flown, jumped or swam.
All courses were well cooked and presented ( even the duck, which in some other establishments I have eaten could be described as positively arthritic) , and even my wife managed to fettle all four so they were a sensible size. The wine was reasonably priced and a jug of water brought as standard.
The service team were both attentive and engaging.
Breakfast between 8-10 featured a self service starter (cereals, fruits/ yoghurt etc) and then a “ Full English” style breakfast cooked to order. Again very well cooked and presented with good quality bacon & sausage, plus a choice of smoked haddock mackerel etc for something slightly different.
I used the leisure centre and pool and found them adequate although as other reviewers have pointed out in some areas needing a bit of TLC. Likewise around the hotel there is the occasional bit of frayed carpet and chipped paint but this in no way detracted from our experience.
Had a great couple of days: used the Lake Steamers on Windemere; had a ride on a steam railway; tackled a couple of walks ; did our bit for quantitative easing by purchasing some clothes and outdoor gear; tried to minimise our carbon footprint by abandoning our car & using the excellent bus service ( next time I will remember to bring my recently acquired concessionary pass); attempted to maximise my waist measurement with Gramere Gingerbread .
I’m sure it won’t be another 20 years before we return to the Red Lion
- Also Known As:
- Red Lion Grasmere
- Best Western Grasmere Hotel
- Best Western Grasmere
- Grasmere Red Lion
- Grasmere Best Western
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- BRAND NEW REFURBISHED GYM AREA SEPTEMBER 2013! NEW STAIRCASE DOWN TO THE POOL AREA! GIVE US A TRY A TASTE OF LUXURY IN THE GLORIOUS HEART OF LAKELAND. Set deep in the heart of Wordsworth country, our privately owned Lake District Hotel, traditionally an historic Inn playing host to travellers for centuries, offers you a warm, genuinely hospitable welcome that makes you feel instantly at ease and at home as soon as you step through the door. Idyllically situated right in the centre of Grasmere, with magnificent views of the hills all around, you can enjoy being part of village life one minute and the next, be miles away, with just the fresh Lakeland air and glorious open countryside for company. Here, life is beautiful.As you would expect from the long traditions, our service is friendly and attentive, the atmosphere relaxed and easy where you can enjoy a board game or two in the air-conditioned lounge area or browse the papers, while from the conservatory you can gaze at the ever-changing Lake District landscape. At our luxury Lakeland Hotel we provide you with all you could wish for - richly furnished, beautifully appointed bedrooms, an excellent choice of food, a gorgeous indoor heated pool with spa bath, steam room, sauna and fitness room. For centuries the Hotel has been a haven for travellers, with tasty fare, great ales and warm hospitality. Today we pride ourselves in offering traditional food in harmony with modern cooking. The Lamb Inn, our traditional village pub. Enjoy a cosy and relaxing atmosphere in the snug Lamb Inn with a pint of hand-pulled traditional beer and a tasty bar meal to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites. Dine in splendor in our Courtyard Restaurant with our table d'hote dinner menu offered every evening, where the menu is depicted by the seasons and the fresh produce available. Our Chef will cater for any dietary requirements and is always happy to cook your favourite dishes (with a little notice of course). The Easedale Bar, Four Seasons Conservatory and Helvellyn Lounge offer a comfortable spot to watch the world go by, enjoy a scrumptious snack at lunchtime or a spot of afternoon tea. We provide you with all you could wish for.. richly furnished, beautifully appointed rooms in which to unwind.. most with sparkling spa baths to ease tired limbs after a wonderful day's walk.. and friendly service to bring you a refreshment, while you drink in the Lakeland panorama. All rooms have en-suite facilities, television with satellite channels, wi-fi, CD player, ipod docking station, a welcome refreshment tray, direct dial telephone, hairdryer and trouser press. Our Club rooms feature separate comfy seating areas with television, bathrobes, slippers, complimentary bottled water and daily newspaper. The view from these rooms is of the village and the lush green fields beyond. Some of our rooms enjoy small balconies where you can sit and enjoy a relaxing drink, read a book or simply take in the view. ... more less
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