I will admit I am a regular participant in this site and find it very useful when doing diligence on both a vacation spot and subsequent lodging options. That said I have also learned to take negative criticism somewhat with a grain of salt - it never ceases to amaze me how some just have no clue about what they are getting into or have such lofty expectations that their trip is essentially doomed for failure from the get go.
As a senior executive in the lodging industry who began my career over thirty years ago as a waiter and never left the industry, I can most honestfully say that our family's little two night stay at Holbeck Ghyll was absolute perfection! We enjoyed our trip from the moment we arrived at Oxenholme station to the minute of our departure.
I will also suggest that the Lake District is most definitely Britain's Best Kept Secret. The area's beautiful lakes, impressive mountains and sweeping valleys - combined with the lovely little towns interspersed throughout - all contribute to make for an experience of absolute serenity. No wonder Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter thrived so much!!
As mentioned we would highly recommend Holbeck Ghyll to anyone considering a trip to the area. Just as in any vacation spot or lodging establishment it is my opinion that one should simply relax and take in the entirety of the experience rather than focus in on little minor inconveniences encountered along the way. So - just as anyone who goes to the lakes thinking they are going to get sunny warm weather doesn't quite get it - nor does the individual thinking he is in for an experience at say George V in Paris quite understand either. Some of the negative comments I actually find fairly annoying to this regard - and boy am I happy I didn't have to encounter the "walker" during our stay lol!!
Holbeck Ghyll is Fawlty Towers on steroids if you get my drift - and all in a delightfully positive way. It is a lovely County House hotel where service and quality rule the day - but a distant second of course to the stunning setting within which the hotel sits. So if you don't have the wits about you to ensure that you are booking a room with a quality view then shame on you! We were told there is no other property in the district with comparable views of both Lake Windermere and the mountains - throw in the wonderful sounds of the river and waterfall and the bleating of the sheep - and we were all in a magnificent state within an hour of our arrival.
With all that the property has going for it in terms of aura the rooms really are somewhat secondary frankly - we stayed in two connecting rooms at the lodge (personally I would request the second floor two units with the balcony as compared to our two with patios but a very minor point) and they were wonderfully appointed along with the baths to a very high standard - we didn't see any of the rooms in the main building. To those wanting to stay within the hotel building fine but know the lodge is a very quick max five minute walk to the front door - we liked the separation and peace of the lodge and would stay there again.
We loved the main building both because of its age and design but also because of its decor - again I don't know how one could say anything otherwise as it all tastefully presented with again the views frankly carrying the day anyway - we loved the front entrance and little entry porch, the comfortable lobby with fireplace and chess board, the peaceful sitting rooms for lunch or a drink, the beautiful restaurant again with stunning views, the terrace for nice weather, the putting green, the trails down to the river, waterfall and lake and last but not least the beautiful landscaping throughout - we tip our hats to the crew - we saw three folks working very hard both days - please rest assured that your efforts are noticed and appreciated!!
Which leads me to the service and tremendous execution - and apologies as I am horrible with names so remember only a few - but in small intimate property like this personality, grace and hospitality are essential to make the thing work - and I would say that the entire staff exemplified all of the above throughout our stay. From Caroline and David at Reception who calmly and coolly direct traffic while all the while addressing I am sure a multitude of requests and calls (thanks again guys as I know I am a problem child!!) to the entire staff in the restaurant who exhibited not only the utmost in professionalism but also - and more importantly - a genuine appreciation for the hospitality they were extending. We enjoyed a lunch, two breakfasts and two amazing dinners at the property - all of which were perfect and memorable. And the dinners - we could go on and on but let's just they were exquisite in terms of the quality of the food but also with regard to the overall execution - just great!
We would like to extend our gratitude to Andrew McPherson - the property General Manager - not only for his assistance but also for the job he has done in putting together such a commendable team. Well done sir.
We have to conclude though with our profound thanks and words of appreciation to Phillip - the gentleman who essentially runs the property on Andrew's days off or on Monday and Tuesday at the least - and at one point was the property GM but now finds it equally as exhilarating to assist those in need of a high quality Bordeaux or the like!! Not meaning at all to take away from the entirety of the experience in any way but in some senses he absolutely made our stay - again Phillip is Fawlty on steroids just as the property is to the Towers. His absolutely wonderful demeanor, amusing wit and sheer joy of the position made for again a unique and highly memorable experience - so thanks Phillip - you are already very much missed!!
Sorry for the ramble but felt it obligatory to send in such a review not only to give this our highest recommendation possible but also to address some of the silly criticisms I have read with regard to this property.
As Alex (our 12 year old) said on our first afternoon after lunch, WHEN we are back next time............
David, Maria and Alex
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This luxurious country house hotel is set in eighteen acres of private woodland and gardens, in England's picturesque Lake District. Holbeck Ghyll offers 23 individually designed en-suite rooms, most with spectacular views over Lake Windermere. The Health Spa offers a range of treatments, sauna, steam room. Food is an integral part of any guests stay, and the Restaurant, which retained a Michelin Star for 14 consecutive years, will not disappoint. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel Windermere
- Holbeck Ghyll Country Hotel
- Holbeck Ghyll Country Windermere
- Holbeck Ghyll Country House Windermere, Lake District