If you’re looking for a place to call home in the Lake District with the finest food and location to match, add Low Wood Bay to your staycation list
Getting out of London is time to breathe fresh air, stretch weary muscles and get into nature. The Lake District offers exactly that.
Sitting on the shore of Lake Windermere Low Wood Bay is a spa hotel surrounded by rolling hills, its white façade hinting at a bygone era of 1930s glamour. Last year’s multi-million pound renovation has made it a destination in its own right, with the spa and two restaurants creating a location you could happily hang out in for your entire stay.
After the train journey to the Lake District, one stop at Crewe and a diversion to a local pub (train delays have their moments) we were ready to drop bags and start the big chill. Keys collected we opened the door to the room, and, to our huge delight sat in the middle of the suite was a roll top bath. This was really living the dream, I’ve always wanted to stay in a room with this level of decadence: think TV screen situated above your toes. It was too much temptation not to draw with a good squeeze of ESPA bath oil. Another stunning feature is the view, overlooking the Lakes, as well as a small snug with table and chairs to sit and admire. The décor is smart and minimal with a huge bed, the plumpest of pillows and a sparkling white bathroom with a shower so big you can dance while you sing.
After moving in, bathing and changing clothes, we headed downstairs to Blue Smoke On The Bay. The pared back dining room of natural textures, woods and leather in a neutral palette sets the stage for the food to bring colour and drama. The menu is a fresh look at classic ingredients: it’s modern, interesting and locally sourced. Head chef Tyrone Blake is the maestro cooking over an open fire grill stoked up with hardwood to get that light fragrant smokiness which sets this place apart from any other local restaurants. Our choice of starters were the fish slider, a homemade fish patty in a brioche bun with sliced plum tomato, frisee lettuce, chive mayo and salt and pepper squid rings (£7.50) and the langoustine bisque served with artisan bread (£6.50).
For main course, we had the whole lobster with parsley butter and lemon (£30) and the leg of lamb steak marinated in garlic, English mustard and rosemary, served with black olive, anchovies and garlic tapenade (£17.50). Each course delivered on every level, beautifully presented, artfully seasoned and all blushed by the embers. The kitchen sits in view, with the majestic wood fired grill sitting centre stage and the chefs busily preparing the food in front of the diners, the rich smokiness of dishes wafting into the room. Sitting next to the Lakes, this dining experience is one not to be missed whether you’re a guest, live locally or just visiting for the day.
After a great night’s sleep, we had breakfast in the The Windermere Restaurant, where every option available: buffet of nuts, dried apricots, muesli, prunes, yoghurt, hams, cheeses or order eggs every way you can imagine. In need of a little pampering we wanted to explore the health club: nothing too strenuous but a steam, sauna and swim to set us up for the day. The pool is a good size and wasn’t too busy, plenty of room to do a few laps then melt in the steam room. The facilities are brand spanking new and although we didn’t use them there’s a squash court and small studio for classes. If you feel the urge to swim but didn’t pack your cozzie. they have a selection in reception along with goggles and all kinds of sportswear.
Feeling refreshed we finished our relaxing morning in The Snug, the spa facility next to the health club, soon to be replaced by the new spa opening later this year. It’s been way too long since I had a facial so it was with huge gratitude that I wrapped myself up in the complimentary robe and enjoyed the ESPA facial. Enjoying layer after layer of cleansing and moisturising, I came out feeling scrubbed and glowing.
Even though we could have stayed all day we had to get out and experience the Lake District. The walk to Ambleside is an easy 15/20 minute stroll along the waterside and we were blessed with a sunny day, complete with swans stretching their wings by the very Instagrammable jetty opposite the hotel, and the hills in the distance delivering a view which is pure antidote to city life. A boat trip with Windermere Lake Cruises had to be done. We jumped on at Ambleside for a short trip to the small town of Brockhole, which was about a 45 minute journey. This pretty place is mainly full of tourists but it doesn’t matter when you are one too. There are lots of places to have lunch or you can just walk around and enjoy the chocolate box aesthetics, which is exactkywhat we did before heading back to Low Wood Bay.
Low Wood Bay is everything you need in a countryside mini break, it sits on its own both with regards to location and with what they’re setting out to do. It’s also about to get even better with their full spa opening later this year: just look at their Instagram and you’ll see what I mean.For modern, beautiful, luxury, Low Wood Bay is the place.
English Lakes Hotel Resorts and Venues – Low Wood Bay
Direct: 01594 33338
Reservations: 0330 4042 684
Prices starting from £158 per room per night (based on 2 adults in a twin/double room) Best Flexible Bed and Breakfast*
(*Price correct at time of issue)