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Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Lake District
A 21st-century country-house hotel combining tradition with contemporary-cool and firmly aimed at indulgence. The original villa - Gilpin House - with its smart gardens and comfortable bedrooms has expanded into a swathe of chic lodges and suites, plus a separate country house - Lake House - surrounded by woodland is a mile away. Expect impeccable service and Michelin-starred dining.
At Gilpin House, five spa lodges have their own ensuite spa (rainmaker showers and steam rooms inside, hydrotherapy hot tubs and saunas outside), and five larger spa suites have a 'floating' bedroom over the pond with mountain views, a generous living area, large circular stone bath, double shower and a fully-equipped spa room with a sauna, steam room, infrared lounge bed, automated massage chair and, outside, a huge hot tub.
At Lake House, there are just six bedrooms, with guests sharing access to the spa treatment room, hot tubs, saunas and swimming pool.
Rooms available from £305 per night
You're less that ten minutes' drive from the picturesque town of Bowness. Be sure to visit Blackwell, a stunning Arts and Crafts mansion nearby.
The Gilpin is close to the shores of Lake Windermere; it's a 20-minute drive from the M6 and the same distance from the popular market town of Kendal.
By car: The hotel is 1 hour 30 mins from Manchester, 3 hours from Edinburgh and just under 5 hours from London. Free private parking is available on-site.
By train: Trains run from Manchester Piccadilly (just over 1 hour), London Euston (3 hours) and Edinburgh (2 hours) to Oxenholme Lake District station. The Gilpin is a 20-minute taxi ride from the station. Book trains to Oxenholme Lake District.
CHARACTER & STYLE
Perfect for people looking for privacy, fantastic dining options, high levels of comfort and absolutely no sense of urgency. The décor is country-house - think overstuffed sofas and glossy bookes - but with a contemporary edge.
It's the perfect spot to recharge, with gardens, terraces and extravagent lounges full of quiet corners and restful views. The main house has a rooftop garden with a pond and a hot tub, as well as a small spa with two treatment rooms, with local brand Pure Lakes products. Lake House guests benefit from an indoor sauna and pool as well as hot tubs. A couple of suites allow dogs but they are not allowed in public areas.
- Two restaurants
- Wi-Fi (charges apply)
- Free parking
Rooms are varied in style, from country-house chic in the the Edwardian villa to scandi-cool garden suites. You can even book a private lodge with a pond, sauna and steam room. Most rooms have hot tubs.
Room types: Classic Bedrooms, Master Bedrooms, Junior Suites, Garden Suites, Spa Lodges, The Lake House (6 boutique rooms)
Key amenities: ensuite bathroom with Pure Lakes toiletries, seating area, TV, tea and coffee facilities, minibar
FOOD & DRINK
It's unusal to have a choice of three restaurants, even with the foodie status of Lake District country-house hotels. Michelin-starred SOURCE led by Ollie Bridgwater (formerly of the Fat Duck) serves an exquisite tasting menu while Knipe Grill offers dishes cooked over charcoal and wood. Gilpin Spice has an open kitchen and tapas-style Asian dishes.
SOURCE: Michelin-starred, focusing on locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Tasting menus from £120pp.
Gilpin Spice: informal atmosphere, open kitchen, pan-Asian small plates.