A landmark hotel that’s on the cusp of everything you need to see and do in the beautiful Lake District and beyond.
Set on the cusp of everything you could possibly want to see or do in the beautiful Lake District, is the North Lakes Hotel and Spa.
Based just off the M6 and only a few minutes walk from Penrith station, it’s very easy to get to and has great public transport links.
I must admit first impressions of North Lakes Hotel and Spa from the approach and exterior aren’t hugely inspiring, however it is a different story altogether inside. I was visiting for an overnight stay with my husband but I had arrived earlier than we planned and our room wasn’t quite ready nor had his lordship landed so I took the opportunity to get myself a nice glass of wine and make myself at home in the inviting lounge area, in front of a roaring fire.
The public areas are really beautiful and enjoy a really warm ambience, who doesn’t love a real fire on a chilly December afternoon? I felt like I was in a ski lodge!
We were shown to our room when my husband arrived and he was just in time to make his 4pm spa appointment. I had arranged for him to have a back massage as a treat and so as he headed off I settled into our room which was very nice, not mind blowing but perfectly adequate, comfortable and spotlessly clean, plus, I liked the little touches of Caudalie toiletries and fresh milk with the tea and coffee facilities.
Andy returned feeling rather zen! I think he may have floated back to our room after his treatment which was the Caudalie Crushed Cabernet Back Treatment. This exfoliation technique regains the skin’s radiance and softness, providing optimum opportunity for the skin to absorb all the hydrating ingredients to follow in the massage. The scrub was developed with a base of grape-seed, honey, brown sugar and essential oils. The Caudalie signature massage follows, using the Contouring Concentrate, which stimulates the systems of the body and encourages natural elimination of toxins. This was an ideal treatment his nibs as it is excellent for relieving tension – it certainly seemed to do the trick.
I was excited to visit the FYR grill in the evening with its eye-catching bespoke open fire grill where the team of chefs transform ingredients into tempting dishes in the heart of the dining room – all very entertaining to be honest, but would it be more style than substance?
I was definitely hungry by now and, well he’s always hungry so we got stuck into our starters. I had chosen a chargrilled roast vegetable salad with a whipped goats cheese and hazlenuts. All very tasty, however I thought it was slightly stingy on the cheese front. The same couldn’t be said for the prawn cocktail across the table which was a glorious symphony of prawns and lobster with avocado and a health serving of Marie Rose sauce with brandy. It went down a treat!
The main event was up next and obviously we chose from the grill section, however, there are lots of other options so choose from if chargrill isn’t your thing.
I went for the FYR signature pounded rump steak marinated in garlic and herbs and it was blinding. I hate to say it, but it did actually melt in the mouth – I know, I’m sorry. Andy chose the ribeye steak which was just as impressive. Both steaks were served with a substantial helping of goose fat chips and I had ordered some salad on the side too.
There is also an open larder (also known as a buffet) available to diners which does look rather inviting if you prefer that style of dining – I don’t, but the selection of fresh terrines, pate, artisan cured meats and seasonal salads would work well on a lunchtime.
We loved the grill, it gave a real air of theatre to proceedings and I love chargrill and felt like this was the star of the show as our food was so good. The service was attentive and friendly throughout, however, I would say that for the price of the hotel and dining, I would expect a little more when it comes to things like wine and cheese knowledge, this was certainly lacking but I won’t hold it against them on this occasion as our server was a delightful young girl who lacked experience rather than enthusiasm which is always more forgivable.
The next morning we enjoyed a buffet style breakfast, the usual continental style meats, cheeses, fruit, pastries and such from the cold table, and then the hot breakfast items were served by staff from a carvery style hot table.
Everything was piping hot and tasty, and it was all very relaxed with a service that seemed to run like a well oiled machine.
After breakfast we headed out to explore Penrith, a town with Cumbria’s Eden Valley known for its huge 14th century castle plus its impressive shopping offering with a good mix of traditional shops and sophisticated arcades.
Acting as a regional centre for the eastern Lake District, Penrith lies just outside the National Park. The nearest lake is Ullswater. Just 6 miles to the south-west this is the Lake District’s second largest lake and offers a variety of water sports and other outdoor activities.
For a relaxing break with all the amenities you could possibly need and in a location boasting craggy hilltops, soaring mountains and glittering lakes – you won’t go far wrong here.
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T: 01768 868111
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