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“Beautiful food wish it were busier” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Samling Hotel

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The Samling Hotel
Ranked #6 of 20 Hotels in Windermere
Certificate of Excellence
Newcastle
Level Contributor
140 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
“Beautiful food wish it were busier”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2013

We pre booked the six course tasting menu on an internet offer, fifty pounds instead of sixty five if you went at lunch time: they said they were very busy at night but wanted to encourage lunch time trade. I told them this when we arrived but we were still given the option of a la carte and a 4 course at £25. The food is served in a formal and theatrical way: infusions, dry ice etc. Waiter bringing food out for another person to serve to the table etc. Amuse bouche was a pointless compressed water melon, first course a marinated salmon with grapefruit and skin crisp cooked in licorice. Somewhat underwhelmed by this point we were glad to see the chef up his game with the following course, a beautiful little ham hock fritter in angel hair pastry (yes pastry, not pasta.) Served with (allegedly) confit egg yolk and goats curd. I have no idea why the yolk was described as confit: more of the confit later. Fish course was pure theatre: a percolator type thingy was produced with lemongrass, cinnamon and other Asian fusion type spices in the top bowl and a fish broth in the bottom. A flame was lit under the broth and it percolated up into the top bowl to infuse the spices. When done the flame was extinguished and the broth returned to the bottom bowl. The halibut with squid pearl and samphire (the pearl being a sort of master stock cube with a tiny tentacle in it that was released when dissolved) was served from the kitchen and the broth poured over it. Seared squid decorated the top of the halibut and flavour matched it perfectly.Sensational, the best course. Meat course was grouse breast (rare, excellent) with a super piece of foie gras and allegedly confit leg, grouse leg that is. It was a little thigh and in my opinion had nothing to do with confit: I expect confit style to produce a crisp skin with melting flesh inside. This was just a little bit of leg, tasty enough for sure but confit? I don't get it. The cauliflower and cauliflower puree were first rate. I thought the dish was crying out for a little bit of potato of some kind.
We then had a "pre dessert which was as delicious as it was hilarious. A mojito sorbet with a little ice cream ball encased in mint chocolate was served in a mini glass watering can whose spout spurted out "steam": dry ice used so creatively. Dessert itself (Green Tea Panna Cotta with Lemon Tart Ice Cream, Shortbread and Autumn Bliss Raspberries) was OK, the panna cotta was nice enough and the ice cream good, but as a whole it didn't really excite me.
There is an extensive wine list: the first page is a selection of reasonably priced bottles and we had Pinot Grigio at £22 and a Merlot for £18. Perfectly all right and very favourably priced for such a classy establishment.
The dining room was quite small and apart from our table of four there were two other couples so despite the professional, relaxed and friendly service the atmosphere lacked a bit of buzz. Not the Samling's fault of course but I'm sure the food would have tasted even better in a full restaurant with a bit of noise.
Predictably when the bill came we had been charged the £65. I pointed this out and it was changed promptly and politely, shame they didn't pick up on it when we arrived and told them we had pre-booked the offer.
So, with a Michelin star and a £50 a head tab for lunch, do I expect perfection. Yes, of course. Most of the food came pretty close, at its best it was simply astounding. They do what they do very well, I can't quite work out why I wasn't more excited. If I were to return, and I'd be happy to do so, it would be for a la carte in the evening.

By the way: best thing I ate all week in the area was the pork pie from Huddlestones Butchers in Windermere. That you must try: £1.60.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank NewcastleHenry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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650 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (205)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Whalley, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 19, 2013

We booked for a 1 nights stay and paid for the 'dove nest' room. It was fab, lots of space to unpack and a good complement of water, fruit, crisps etc. the bathroom was clean, spacious and beautifully simple, it reminded us of a Spanish baths we visited once.
The service was nothing but impeccable, and the same goes for the food. The food was delicious and substantial and had just the right amount of theatre. Well deserving of the accolades the hotel has won recently. The scenery is a real treat. The breakfast was also good.
All the staff were very knowledgable, personable and pleasant.
We will be returning next spring for more!

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Yeowart383
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

The occasion was to celebrate a very special birthday although we live less than 10 miles away but had heard such glowing reports. From the moment we left the main road until we left it sublime and went way beyond our expectations. The sumptuous and spacious bedroom, the bathroom, the decor, the staff, the views, the building itself, the grounds, the weather and the evening meal.... oh yes... that meal!! This was more than a gastronomic delight: it was and experience.
You had to be there and I advise that you do!

Room Tip: They were all outstanding.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JLoud2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ruthin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

Booked for a 4 night break in the ' Manmire Suite' but left after 1 night. Not sure when the glowing reviews were posted but our experience was dismal. Manmire was careworn and shabby, the shower was black with mould around lower level of tiles and it all looked as though the rooms had never seen a programme of updating since the original building work took place. The suite was depressing! Our 3 course evening meal was rather strange to say the least - trying to be "Heston" like but missing the beat completely. The onion ash and compressed melon tasted like something you might scrape off your BBQ and left a horrible after taste.
However the staff were friendly and attentive but didn't seem at all surprised when we asked for our bill.

Room Tip: Don't bother until the hotel rooms and suites have undergone refurbishment.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank 408CarolynS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

We loved our stay here and will definitely be returning. The tasting menu was superb and a real treat. All staff were courteous, professional and efficient. George particularly deserves a special mention for his knowledge and helpfulness in the dining room.
We opted to have breakfast in our room - Methera - it was so relaxing to sit by the window looking down over the wonderful landscape to Lake Windermere.
Our only complaint was that we couldn't stay longer. Can't wait to return.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lou R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 18, 2013

We booked our room with a view from both windows. Methera is a fantastic room. It has 2 views both of which are spectacular particularly at this time of the year when the trees are at their colourful best. From the moment we arrived we were spoilt. Nothing we asked for was too much trouble. The hotel is relaxed but efficient, contains beautiful décor without being too stuffy and the staff are available if you want them but discrete in their attentiveness. Having recently eaten lunch at Manoir Aux Quat Saisons we would say that the food was better here. It has a most deserved Michelin star. The portion sizes are perfect . The food is innovative and every mouthful is a treat. The staff during dinner knew every last detail about the dishes being served and were keen to recommend wine to complement the dish. They were knowledgeable to a fault. We stayed at The Yorke Arms in Nidderdale last year but never again. They have a lot to learn from The Samling .We shall certainly be returning in the very near future for a deliciously romantic, relaxed and special break away . A little gem.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 429Tobytuppence1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
188 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2013 via mobile

Wonderful. Beautiful views over Windermere. Super snug rooms. Our favourites are Manmire and The Bothy. Lovely lounge. Fantastic food. Champagne in the hot tub next to the monkey puzzle tree and the massive arachnid a real treat. We cooked buttery scallops for my wife's birthday and enjoyed a slate of pudding saying just married on the 1st night of our honeymoon. Yum kedgeree

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Patrick_the_Wise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Samling Hotel

Property: The Samling Hotel
Address: Ambleside Road, Windermere LA23 1LR, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > Lake District > Windermere
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Family Hotel in Windermere
#6 Romantic Hotel in Windermere
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Samling Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
3 aa red star hotel 3 aa rosettes1 michelin star ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Samling Hotel Windermere, Lake District
Samling Hotel

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