AD | On a chilly autumnal evening, I sat sipping a drink on a large leather sofa gazing out across the lake. I watched the sun set behind the dark silhouette of trees on the hillside, savouring those last few moments before day turned to night. Such a lovely scene and cosy setting. We’d been exploring the Lake District for a few days. Sunny cold days. Wet and windy days. Whatever the weather, the Lake District is a stunning part of England to explore, and for our final night, the weather had cleared and we were staying at the beautiful Beech Hill Hotel & Spa on the shores of Lake Windermere.
Disclosure: This stay was hosted by Beech Hill Hotel & Spa but all views and opinions are my own. See my Disclaimer page for more details.
I seem to be drawn to waterside settings when I travel. There’s something about waking up, opening the curtains and seeing the waves of the sea lapping on the shore, or the clear reflections of a still lake. So, when I was offered the chance of a lakeside stay in the Lake District, I jumped at the chance.
About the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa, Windermere
Situated on the east shore of Lake Windermere, the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa is located three miles south of Bowness-on-Windermere, a perfect countryside location directly on the lake. The original stone house at the roadside dates back to the 1900’s, but over the years the property has been extended out to the rear to add further guest rooms and facilities. With 55 en-suite rooms, an award winning restaurant and a beautiful spa, the hotel is a perfect spot to relax and unwind after exploring the stunning Lake District.
Arriving at the hotel during the Covid-19 pandemic, we were fully aware that there would be an adapted offering to suit the social distancing measures in place. Arriving through the main entrance with the reception desk to the left, we were greeted by a large open plan public area with large windows opposite drawing your attention directly to the lake views and the fells beyond. My attention was quickly drawn back to the lounge area, with a large statue of a deer and stag at the entrance, a stunning chandelier and cosy seating areas including a beautiful old fireplace.
Check in was welcoming and friendly, with all the information provided about the recent changes to the operation. As we had a restaurant booking, we were provided dinner menus at this stage and asked to pre-order our choices prior to our reservation. This assisted in streamlining the evening operation that was in place. A point to be aware of regarding accessibility, is that given the hillside location of the hotel and age of the building, there is no lift access. All bedroom access is via stairs. The extensions of the original building are tiered down the hillside, therefore there may be several sets of stairs to navigate to access your guest room.
The Guest Rooms
There are 55 guest rooms at the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa, with eight different room types including suites, and an award winning luxury four bedroom cottage. From Classic rooms through to Select, to Premier rooms and the Suites, there is something to suit most budgets.
Our room on the first floor of the main building, upon entering, was bright and airy with the most stunning view across the lake. Decorated in tones of green and brown, the room featured a king size bed, en-suite bathroom with Gilchrist and Soames toiletries as well as tea and coffee making facilities. The King size bed was firm and comfortable, and the perfect spot to gaze out at the view beyond.
Exploring the public areas of the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa
All unpacked, it was time to head back downstairs and explore the hotel’s public areas and grounds. As previously mentioned, the lounge area was a fantastic large open space to relax and unwind with a drink. A row of leather sofas against the back wall of the building, provided a great spot to take in those lake views, and beyond this was a large outdoor patio area overlooking Windermere. For a more cosy set up, the area around the large ornate wooden fireplace was the perfect spot to lounge with a drink. I loved the detail and wooden carvings of this fireplace.
The hotel’s garden area is accessed via the car park to the rear. A set of steps from the car park area leads down to beautifully manicured lawns, with pathways and steps leading further down to a small beach on the lakeside. From the garden, the view up to the hotel shows the buildings multi level structure, with most of the bedrooms having patio or garden access – all with unobstructed lake views.
Heading down towards the lake past some outdoor picnic tables, it’s possible to access two jetty’s on the lake for fantastic views both north and south along the Windermere. It’s a great spot to catch the Windermere Lake Cruise steamers travelling on their journeys between Lakeside and Bowness-on-Winderemere.
From April to September, water sports are available from the jetty at the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa. This is not operated directly by the hotel, but by Wake Nation who offer activities including paddle board hire, wake boarding, wake surfing and the chartering of boats with a skipper.
Exploring done, we headed back to the room to freshen up for the evening before heading to the lounge for pre dinner drinks and to catch the last few moments before the sun set over Lake Windermere.
Dinner at Burlington’s Restaurant
After a day of exploring and / or unwinding, dinner time is always eagerly anticipated. The Beech Hill Hotel & Spa Burlington’s Restaurant is award winning and has held AA rosettes for the last twenty years. Set off from the main lounge area, and once again with fabulous lake views, the large restaurant offers a varied menu using fresh local produce and ingredients. Where normally the experience would begin with canapes in the lounge while perusing the menu, things are slightly different in this Covid era.
The main thing that’s noticeable in this and other restaurants I’ve visited, is that the tables are not pre set up, as you would be used to. This makes the spaces look a little stark, but where health and hygiene takes precedent, it’s understandable and provides assurance.
One thing I’ve failed to mention so far is the service at the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa, which was impeccable throughout. Staff were friendly and attentive without being too much so, from the reception staff, to the bar and restaurant. We were seated at a window table and provided with menus. The three course menu consisted of six starters, ten mains and six desserts – providing plenty of choice for every palette.
I opted for a Crispy Goats Cheese Risotto Cake to start, with a Fell-bred Fillet Steak as a main, followed by a Vanilla Cheesecake. All washed down with a delicious glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Pete opted for a Pea and Mint Risotto, a main of Local Speciality Sausage with creamed potatoes and a Cafe Latte Creme Brulee to finish. Pete’s wine of choice was a Sangiovese. The meals were beautifully presented and all dishes tasted fantastic with ample portions. The steak was cooked perfectly and beautifully tender. I struggled to finish my cheesecake, but soldiered on regardless.
Having finished dinner and grabbed a final drink in the lounge, we were about to retire to bed when we looked outside to see a clear night full of stars. The perfect opportunity to grab the camera and tripod and head out down to the lake to capture some photos. Despite the amount of artificial light from the hotel, with the skies clear there were plenty of stars to be seen, with the lights of the occasional aircraft and satellites passing across above us.
After a good night’s sleep, we awoke to a bright morning on our last day in the Lake District. First things first, time for breakfast. We tend to be early risers on holiday, so opt for earlier breakfasts where possible. Due to social distancing rules, a breakfast slot needs to be booked in advance to control the number of guests in the restaurant at one time. Once again, there are differences in the way that breakfast is currently presented. Where ‘serve yourself’ buffets are not possible at present, all food is bought to the table.
Tea or coffee was delivered with fruit salad, followed by a mix of toast a selection of pastries. There is a continental or full breakfast option available – we of course selected the latter. I saved my pastries – I’m not sure if I eat breakfast in the wrong order, but I feel like pastries should be the dessert of breakfast – who’s with me?
The cooked breakfast arrived with all the standard favourites – bacon, sausage, beans, fried egg and a field mushroom. A great sized portion and piping hot, it was great to set us up for the day.
The Lakeview Spa at the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa
One final stop before checking out of the hotel, was to take a look around the Lakeview Spa which really lives up to it’s name. Lakeview Spa features an indoor pool, a sauna and steam room, three treatment rooms and large outdoor space with loungers and two Vitality Spa Pools. The indoor pool, at 40ft, provides plenty of swimming space before heading into the adjacent steam room. There are many treatments on offer, from massages, facials, hands and feet, as well as holistic therapies.
The outdoor area, having recently had a facelift, is a fantastic open space where both spa pools are perfectly positioned to sit back, relax and take in those amazing lake and hillside views. Even on a chilly late September morning, the pools looked so inviting.
The important information
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Beech Hill Hotel & Spa. It’s a lovely hotel, in a fantastic location and the experience is completed by the fantastic service provided throughout.
For room bookings, it’s best to contact the hotel directly for the best deals but clicking though to their website. Hotel details can be found below:
Beech Hill Hotel & Spa
Newby Bridge Road
Tel: 0333 444 6835
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