Wanted somewhere central in the Lake District but not in a busy town such as Ambleside or Bowness. The Red Lion fitted the bill as it is centrally located in the pretty village of Grasmere so there are things to walk to in the village and it is easy to drive to other parts of the Lakes.
We arrived later morning after an overnight flight from Abu Dhabi to Manchester and then a 90 minute drive. We realised that check-in isn't until 3pm so went for an early pub lunch then tried to check-in at 2pm. We were told by the very unfriendly jobsworth receptionist that we would have to wait until the official check-in time of 3pm to get a key to the room. She really was as terrible first impression and should be kept out of sight of customers.
Anyway after a slow walk around the village we got the room key. We were in the old part of the hotel which meant the room had character but was very small. The bathroom was even smaller - probably the smallest bathroom I've ever seen and they really should just change it to a shower room...
After a rest we had dinner in the Lamb Inn, the pub attached to the pub, which was very pleasant and in fact we ate there for the next 2 nights as well. The food was reasonable and the atmostphere good as it is clearly one of the 2 pubs in the centre of the villlage (Tweeds at the back of the hotel being the other).
Staying at the Red Lion you soon become aware that there are rules to be followed and these rules are designed to make life as easy as possible for the staff, regardless of convenience to the guests....
One such rule is that you should aim to have breakfast between 8am and 9am as apparently the dining room is very busy between 9am and 10am. It is a small dining room but why they cannot for example use one of the many other ground floor rooms as an extension at busy times or even extend breakfast beyond 8am to 10am (everyday its the same) is a mystery (well it's not really - it would mean more work for the staff). Anyway we complied with the rules and had breakfast before 9am all 3 days. Breakfast was good, as to be fair was service from the Eastern European waiters/waitress (shame the management don't ask these staff to work on the reception as they would create a much better first impression of the Red Lion).
I can imagine that parking could be difficult if you return to the Red Lion late in the day. There is only a small car park out front and a few spaces around the side. I heard the "charming" receptionist telling other guest that it was their hard luck if all the spaces had gone (she gave no suggestions where else they could park).
Wifi is free and supposedly available throughout the hotel. In reality there is limited wifi around the reception desk and in certain areas of the very pleasant residents' lounge.
We were told by one of the more pleasant members of staff that the Red Lion is currently changing hands. The new owner will need to spend a lot of time training the local staff how they should serve customers properly. There is also quite a lot of money needs spending to bring the Red Lion up to scratch. Lots of potential given its location and character but not somewhere I would choose to stay at again until there have been some big changes.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- For 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. 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 1769 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, The Glass House 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Red Lion Grasmere
- Best Western Grasmere Hotel
- Grasmere Red Lion
- Grasmere Best Western