Review: Beech Hill Hotel & Spa
Looking out across Windermere, a stay at Beech Hill Hotel & Spa is picture perfect
After a drizzly two-hour drive along A-roads we stop off in Kendal, after taking in the glorious scenes of the Dales and Cumbria on route. It’s there that we take a walk around the castle ruins, pop into a few of the independent shops we love, and of course grab ourselves some of that always-delicious Kendal mint cake. Then, it’s back into the car for a short 20-minute trip to the hotel.
When the sat nav gives us the heads up that we’ve arrived, the exterior of the hotel appears rather rustic, but the rear of the building tells a different story. As we head downhill to park, we’re struck by the dramatic view of Windermere ahead, surrounded by what can only be described as a modern masterpiece – terraces upon terraces, lakeside hot tubs, and bright white walls you would never have expected to see from a glance at the property from the road above.
We receive a warm welcome at reception where we’re given the option to choose two time slots for use of the spa facilities, and another two time slots for dinner and breakfast (to allow for social distancing), then we’re directed to our room which we’re assured is going to have an incredible view… and they’re not wrong.
Glass panelled doors mean we can gaze straight along the lake, and when they’re open, we’re treated to an unobstructed view. Back inside the room, there’s ample space for us to make ourselves at home, and a modern bathroom with a power shower and a spa bath to make the most of.
After pulling ourselves away from the view, we head for The Lakeview Spa. A little anxious about social distancing, these worries are washed away as we realise the specially allocated slots mean keeping your distance is easy – even in the restricted areas such as the steam room and the sauna (which we certainly made the most of). After a dip in the pool, we head out onto the terrace where two inviting hot tubs are bubbling away. Of course these are very popular so we did have to wait a while before we could hop in, but it was worth the wait. The views from the hot tubs are something you’d see on a postcard.
After thoroughly de-stressing, we plod back to our room and get ready to indulge in the three course menu at the hotel’s Burlington's Restaurant. We whet our whistles with the plum and black cherry fruit flavours of Tonada Merlot and a Captain Morgan’s Spiced rum and coke, then dig into the bread and butter – a grave mistake once we realise how filling the following courses are. Queue the starters: blush tomato and basil risotto with a parmesan tuile, and Cartmel Valley wood pigeon breast served with sautéed cabbage, chestnuts and pancetta. The risotto is rich and moreish and the pigeon is juicy and sweet but, already taken back by the portion sizes, in comes the cider-roasted pork belly with baked celeriac, sage mash, apple and roast jus, and the beef and blue cheese burger with house slaw, chunky chips and burger sauce – two very different meals which are both perfectly presented. We decide to take a break to appreciate the view of the lake from our window seat in the restaurant before taking on the decadent desserts. We choose the classic crème brulèe with a moon-shaped shortcake and the orange posset with beautifully-made chocolate shards, sponge and torched orange segments. The crème brulèe is rich and creamy with the perfect crack, and the orange posset is sweet and light. After a faultless meal, we head out for a stroll by the lake to burn off some calories (but mostly to discover what lies further down the hill).
Which is where we find the lakeshore and jetty, where Wake Nation are operating watersports. Wake boarding and wake surfing looks like great fun – but maybe not after the meal we’ve just had! So we head back to the room to try out that spa bath, and enjoy a great night’s sleep.
In the morning, we head down to Burlington's Restaurant where we’re ready to over-indulge again. Bread rolls, tasty pastries and coffee await, followed by a full English breakfast. It’s just a shame we couldn’t manage to clear our plates. As we said, Burlington’s aren’t shy with their portions! Then, we head back for one last dip in the jacuzzi at the spa before heading to our next stop – The World of Beatrix Potter, of course. Later that day, we took a lake cruise and passed the hotel – between the trees, from the lake, it really is a sight to behold.