As we drew up outside, we were stunned by the hotel's situation right on the water's edge with stunning views of Ullswater.
Inside the public rooms are plush and the flowers were fresh and beautiful when we went.
The downside to all this country house luxe was the positively sepulchral atmosphere. This might have been better had it been busier but on our visit, all conversation was at a whisper. Service was formal and correct but would have benefited from a little more warmth.
The food was mostly excellent and very good value for money (we ordered the Cumbrian Luncheon menu). My soufflé starter and rhubarb creme brûlée with ginger shortbread really were stunning. My partner's risotto had some al dente grains of rice which wasn't quite right and our main course of pig's cheek with black pudding and belly pork was good but fell short of perfect: the belly pork fat should have rendered more and the top could have been crispier and the vegetables were only fine. My partner's sticky toffee pudding was delicious. I must emphasise that at the price we paid the standard was excellent, but if I compare it to the food we've had in Michelin starred restaurants, it's often been little things like an insignificant looking vegetable that have blown us away with their flavour.
The wines we ordered were terrific and it is good to see decent selection available by the glass. The Riesling was particularly good.
The coffee and petit fours were also excellent and we're were able to take them in the sitting room.
Sadly despite the delicious food, I'm not sure I would want to stay. I normally enjoy quietness but the dining room felt quite oppressive. I appreciate the problems posed by ambient music but in the absence of a convivial background of clinking glasses and conversational hum some music would have really helped. Perhaps we caught it on a particularly dead day, I hope so as I feel a bit mean being so lukewarm but the atmosphere just wasn't comfortable despite the abundance of comfort!