19
Dec 13

The Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai

1Westin

Dubai is one of the world’s hottest holiday destinations right now. It’s also a great destination for families to visit due to the fantastic weather and extremely wide range of activities available. It’s also really not too difficult to get there, too – you get great weather but without a long-haul flight to get it.

The Westin Hotel Mina Seyahi is a top family-friendly hotel offering a brilliant combination of 5 star luxury with its own private beach. Rooms are spacious with large marble bathrooms, and ones with a sea-view look out over the Palm Jumeirah and the hotel’s manicured gardens and pools. The hotel operates a super-efficient concierge service from a Bedoin tent in the lobby, which is on hand to help you plan your perfect holiday in Dubai. The Westin is a favourite with Emirati high society and is an extremely popular place to meet for tea and evening drinks. The Arabian influence is felt from the moment you arrive, and are greeted with a delicious local drink of chilled apple juice with cinnamon and juicy fresh dates.

All bedrooms are spacious with large beds, bathrooms and all the facilities you might need to hand, including large televisions, Nespresso coffee machines and a small terrace with a table and chairs. There is an excellent choice of restaurants on site with Spice Emporium Thai restaurant a must for its delicious, authentic food and fun atmosphere, complete with authentic Thai dancing every night. The menu offers a wide selection of dishes which diners choose to share between the table, and then the portion size is adapted accordingly. The Thai coconut soup and Beef red curry are superb. Breakfast is a very extravagant affair with practically every type of International cuisine you can think of available for guests to enjoy and is served buffet style. There is an emphasis on superfoods, and the fresh, super-healthy juices are a definitely worth trying.

If you are in need of being pampered, then a trip to the Spa is a must. Treatments are highly relaxing, featuring unusual but very enjoyable Swedish massage techniques and gorgeous Aromatherapy Associates products.

The real draw of The Westin is the beach. The hotel has green gardens and a white sandy beach and safe, clear bathing area in the sea, looking out to the Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah. There are a good number of shaded sun loungers available, and a good choice of water sports available from the beach. There is a choice of lovely swimming pools in the hotel gardens, with a super shaded children’s pool available, and a Penguin Kid’s Club to give parents a rest.

Despite being an enormous hotel, the service is friendly, helpful and keen to please.

For more information on activities in Dubai, take a look here.

Getting there:

Dubai is around 7 hours away from London and there are regular flights running from all over the UK.

Flight Centre (www.flightcentre.co.uk / 0844 800 8624) offers 5 nights at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, including flights with Emirates Airlines and private transfers in resort.

Prices for 2014 from £1039* per person based on two sharing (*based on travel between 3-24 July 2014).

 


10
Dec 13

Festive entertaining – Christmas lunch

1xmas

Without wishing to pile on the pressure at this time of the year, Christmas lunch is probably the most important meal you’ll cook all year. If you are a meat eater, like me, choosing your meat can be very stressful. I want to ensure I choose the best meat that I know will cook perfectly and taste divine on the day.

So, here are my tried and tested top recommendations for Christmas lunch.

Starting with turkey, the obvious choice for Christmas meat, there is nothing better than a Copas turkey. Self-titled “very, very special turkeys”, these juicy, finely flavoured birds are reared to the most scrupulous standards, resulting in a superior Christmas turkey. These magnificent turkeys are delivered to your home with complete cooking instructions and a pop-up cooking timer which are really easy to use and ensure perfectly tender meat. All products in their range are excellent – I favour the turkey crown, which involves much less waste and mess than cooking a whole carcass. Worth every penny.

 12xmas

In my house, we love beef for our Christmas lunch as it is simply our favourite roast of all.  The very best beef we have tried is from The Traditional Beef Company, who supply multi award-winning beef to your door. Based in Wiltshire, the cattle is grass fed, and the meat is hung for a whopping 4-6 weeks, then expertly butchered, resulting in the very finest meat. The beauty of this is that you’re buying your meat direct from the farmer, too. The two best cuts for a roast are the fore rib, with a deliciously rich flavour, and the super lean and tender sirloin joint.  This beef is melt-in-the-mouth tender with an exquisite flavour. The best money can buy.

For all the other bits and pieces for a perfect Christmas lunch, here are my favourite recipes:

Vegetarian lunch

Roast potatoes

Roasted vegetables

Sprouts

Cranberry sauce

Bread sauce and gravy

Next: Top Christmas drinks


10
Dec 13

Gastronomy of Italy, by Anna del Conte

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Gastronomy of Italy…a distillation of my personal reflections on the many recipes I have cooked, foods that I have tasted, books I have read and regions I have visited” Anna Del Conte.

Anna Del Conte is widely recognized as the leading authority on Italian food in the UK. Although not a household name like some celebrity chefs, she is the author of a number of cookery books which have been widely praised for their detail and authoritative voice on Italian cookery.  Over the years, she has won many awards, including the Premo Nazionale di Cultura Gastronomica Verdicchio d’Oro prize in 1994 for her contribution to the dissemination of knowledge around authentic Italian cooking, and in 2011 the Guild of Food Writers Lifetime Achievement Award.

Del Conte is also the muse for many celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson, who describes her as “beyond doubt, the best writer on Italian food”.

Del Conte’s latest book, Gastronomy of Italy is an up-to-date definitive guide to regional Italian food, covering the regions in detail, ingredients and techniques, including the classics: pasta, polenta, gnocchi, risotto and pizza, and Anna’s versions of favourite Italian dishes, such as peperonata and osso buco. Gastronomy of Italy is a beautiful book featuring over 200 recipes with plenty of gorgeous photographs to accompany the recipes. It is a truly invaluable book for all those who enjoy Italian food, and would make a great Christmas gift for any keen cook. Read from cover to cover and take part in Mastermind.

I’m delighted to be able to share a wonderful recipe with you with kind permission from Anna Del Conte’s Gastronomy of Italy, published by Pavilion. Photography by Laura Edwards.

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Milanese vegetable soup

You can add small tubular pasta to this soup instead of rice, although the classic Milanese minestrone is always made with rice.

Serves 6–8

150g/5½oz/¾ cup dried borlotti beans, soaked for about 12 hours in
cold water

50g/1¾oz/4 tbsp unsalted butter

50g/1¾oz pancetta, chopped

3 onions, sliced

4 carrots, diced

2 celery stalks, diced

2 courgettes, diced

100g/3½oz green beans, diced

100g/3½oz/2⁄3 cup shelled fresh peas

200g/7oz Savoy cabbage, shredded

1.5–2 litres/3–4 pints/1½–2 quarts meat stock (page 61) or chicken stock or 3 good-quality bouillon cubes dissolved in the same quantity of water

350g/12oz floury (starchy) potatoes, cut in half

225g/8oz ripe fresh tomatoes, blanched and peeled, or canned plum tomatoes, drained

salt and freshly ground black pepper

175g/6oz/scant 1 cup Italian rice, preferably Vialone Nano

75g/2¾oz Parmesan cheese, grated

 

Drain and rinse the beans.

Melt the butter in a large heavy pot, preferably earthenware, and add the pancetta and onions. Sauté gently for 5 minutes or so and then add the carrots and celery. After 2 or 3 minutes, add the borlotti beans. Sauté for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the courgettes, green beans and peas. After 5 minutes or so, mix in the cabbage. Stir everything together for about 5 minutes to coat in the fat.

Add the stock, potatoes, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer over a very low heat for about 3 hours.

Using a slotted spoon, lift out the potatoes, mash them with a fork, then return them to the soup. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the rice and cook for about 10 minutes, until al dente. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the Parmesan and serve the remaining cheese separately.


09
Dec 13

Sausage, chorizo, butternut squash and lentil casserole

Chorizo stew

This casserole is wonderful at this time of year. It’s full of tasty morsels and is good for you too, being a complete meal in one. This casserole is very easy to make – it is best cooked slowly for as long as possible, but the amount of time it takes to prepare is fairly minimal. I assembled all the ingredients and left it to bake in my lovely new cast iron casserole dish from Pro Cook. It looks rather smart and is it makes life even easier, as it looks good enough to serve on the table.

This is a seriously delicious, hearty winter-warmer that is great served with some steamed vegetables.

Sausage, chorizo, butternut squash and lentil casserole

Serves 4 generously

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil

8 good quality pork sausages

200g chorizo, chopped into 1 cm dice

1 butternut squash peeled, seeds removed and diced

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

300ml chicken stock

400g cooked green lentils, diced

2 tsp thyme leaves, fresh or dried

Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 140C.

Start by adding the oil to a large non-stick pan. Add the sausages and cook for 10 minutes until the skins are well-browned. Now, add the chorizo and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Transfer the sausages and chorizo to a large, lidded casserole dish. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir well and bake with the lid on for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve with fresh vegetables. Any leftovers keep well, freeze well too and taste even better the next day.


22
Nov 13

The Magdalen Chapter

2MC

At nearly 18 months old, The Magdalen Chapter hotel has quickly established itself as the place to go in Exeter. Formerly the West England Eye Hospital, the hotel how occupies the large red brick building situated just five minutes by foot from the heart of the city centre. The building has been sympathetically renovated, retaining many original features whilst adding plenty of twenty-first century comforts.

The Magdalen Chapter is owned by Chapter Hotels, who have a sister hotel in Cheltenham. Down in Exeter, there are 59 bedrooms, a library, a bar, a spa, pool and gym, and of course, the dining room. We arrived at around 9pm on a Friday night and found the hotel buzzing. The bar was lively, with the evening in full swing, and plenty of people coming into the hotel to drink and dine.

We stayed in a feature room – one of the largest rooms in the hotel. We were shown up to our room by Richard, one of the duty managers who was very welcoming. Once we’d been shown around the room, we were handed an iPad which would be ours for the duration of the stay, and can be used to play music and find out most things you need to know about the hotel.

Our room was large with two bathrooms – one with a bath and the other with a shower, which were particularly luxurious and equipped with REN products, which are made locally in Devon.  Technology is a feature of the rooms, as we were able to listen to the TV and music in the shower room. We also had a control panel through which we could play our own music. Our room had a complimentary mini bar, containing some beer (which we swapped for wine, being wheat free), soft drinks and chocolate, and we had a Nespresso coffee machine, too.

The Magdalen Chapter restaurant sits at the back of the hotel in a large conservatory overlooking the gardens. Head chef Ben Bulger, formerly Head Chef at Riverford Field Kitchen, is guided by TV chef and restaurateur Simon Hopkinson, who acts as a consultant at Chapter Hotels. Their focus is on cooking locally sourced, seasonal British food.

Whilst we stayed, we enjoyed an evening meal and breakfast.  We did find breakfast a bit chaotic whilst we were staying, but the food was very good indeed. The choices available for breakfast offer a wide selection of interesting and tasty hot dishes. The food was very good indeed – great quality ingredients cooked really well. The service did let down the experience though – unfortunately when we visited, it was rather un-coordinated and a waitress took our menus away from us within five minutes of us having sat down, without taking our order. We had to then get up and retrieve our menus from the table on the side of the dining room. We also had to intercept our breakfast items from being served to other tables twice.

Our dinner experience was a lot better – the food was absolutely delicious and the service was charming. Technology weaves its way into the dining room here too, as diners are presented with an iPad wine list. It may sound gimmicky, but it was quite a straightforward way of choosing wine – by the glass, by price and so on.

I finished our stay with a 30 minute massage at the in-house spa with Jade, one of the therapists. It was absolutely lovely and Jade was a delight, running me through the range of REN products in great detail.

All in all, we had a very pleasant visit to the Magdalen Chapter. The communal rooms are lovely spaces in which to relax and the restaurant and spa are excellent. It is worth noting that there is very little parking – the car park was full and double-parked for the duration of our stay, and if you can’t get in, parking is around £7 a day in a nearby car park. We would recommend it as a comfortable and relaxing place to stay.


19
Nov 13

L’Eto

L'Eto

L’Eto on the King’s Road in London is a smart, chic cafe open all day long for breakfast, lunch and dinner, both to take away and eat in.

As you walk in you are greeted with enormous platters of delicious looking salads in front of you alongside delicately decorated cakes and gorgeous chocolate truffles piled onto silver platters. It all looks very inviting and is available to takeaway throughout the day. Not only would it make an excellent lunch, they do a brisk trade in takeaway quiches and meats for supper, too.

I decided to sit in and try the restaurant menu. To start, I tried a Crab and Avocado salad with soy and lime dressing, made with generous chunks of avocado, crab, black sesame seeds, fresh coriander leaves and finely chopped red chilli. It was vibrant and fresh tasting but substantial for a starter.

For the main course, I tried the Steak marinated in garlic and rosemary. The flavour of the steak was superb. It was juicy and tender, and full of flavour. With this, I tried a side of spring greens, which was a mixture of Tenderstem broccoli with kale, cooked al dente and topped with toasted flakes almonds. It was a really substantial side and would be enough for two people to share.

To finish, I managed around half a piece of the 73% chocolate cake. It’s described as chocolate fudge cake, but I’d say it is more of a deep and dense flourless chocolate cake. It was very rich and intensely flavoured and was a great way to finish a meal with coffee.

L’Eto is a lovely place to stop for a drink and food at any time of the day, and is highly recommended for its fresh, delicious food served in generous portions.  Lunch will set you back around £10-15 if you eat in, £7-10 for takeaway and dinner varies from £15-40 per head.


17
Nov 13

Autumn veg box recipes

Food shopping can be a bit of a minefield at times, particularly when choosing products you will enjoy, whilst balancing cost, environmental and ethical issues.

Personally speaking, food shopping will always be a toss up between these factors. Cost is a major factor, but I am definitely part of a growing number of people wanting to eat local, seasonal Organic food. Part of the difficulty with that for most people is actually sourcing ingredients – I certainly struggle to find a good farm shop, and don’t always have loads of time to dedicate to food shopping. So, with that in mind, I was keen to try a veg box from Abel & Cole, as they offer a wide range of groceries as well as fruit and vegetables.

My delivery arrived at my door within my allotted time frame, and included fresh vegetables, meat, wine, olive oil, fruit, vegetables and chilies. All the meat and vegetables was from within a 150-mile radius from my home, and was all Organic and very, very fresh. The wild venison from Hampshire Game was superb. Like for like prices are extremely competitive. The quality of the produce is outstanding, and it is a very convenient way to shop. All boxes come with a selection of seasonal recipes for you to try, but here are some  of my seasonal recipes for you to try – all made with ingredients from my veg box.

 1Venison

Venision steaks with Sage, Rosemary and garlic

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 Venison minute steaks (appx. 250-300g)

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 spring rosemary

6 sage leaves

8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method 

Place all the ingredients into a large, shallow dish and mix well to combine. Leave to marinate for at least an hour – the longer you can leave it the better the flavour.

When you’re ready to cook the steak, preheat a pan (preferably a grill pan) under a hot heat. Add the steaks and cook for 2-4 minutes on each side. Cook the herbs and garlic with the meat, too.

Once the meat is cooked to your liking, allow to rest for 10 minutes on a hot plate to become more tender.

Serve with some freshly steamed green beans and baked squash

 1Squash

Baked onion squash with garlic and sage

Serves 2 

Ingredients

An onion squash

3 cloves garlic

6 sage leaves

A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C

Cut the top off of the squash and remove the seeds and stringy flesh from the inside. Place onto a large baking tray and put the garlic and sage inside the squash. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 20-30 minutes until the flesh is lightly browned and tender. Serve immediately. 


14
Nov 13

Meluha, Bristol

1Meluha

 Meluha opened in Bristol earlier this year, and is the second restaurant from Chef Stephen Gomes and Jay Miah. Moksh was opened in Cardiff Bay in 2007, offering a more modern interpretation of Indian food. Stephen’s cooking style is a twist on the classics – traditional flavours and spices, but presented in a more modern way.

Cooking is in Stephen’s blood. He is, in fact, the third generation of chefs in his family, and has cooked all over the world in many top restaurants. The influence of his extensive travels can be found in his award-winning cooking. Stephen has been voted Best UK Indian Chef several times, including most recently, 2012-3.

Meluha is situated on Park Street in Bristol. It is a light, slick and modern restaurant with a few nods to Asia in the decor. We sat in the window, which was a great spot from which to watch the world go by on a Saturday night in Bristol.

The menu offers plenty of choice – from the more adventurous dishes, including a five course tasting menu, which seemed to be the popular choice on our visit, to plenty of choice for customers wanting a more traditional curry. We started our meal with a delicious glass of Malbec. The wine list offers plenty of choice, both of bottles and wines by the glass, which we chose. It is very fairly priced, too. To accompany our wine, we had to have some poppadoms with Meluha’s chutney tray, which included a delicious mint yoghurt, mango chutney, tamarind sauce and sweet chilli sauce packed with kaffir lime leaves. All accompaniments were superb the tamarind and sweet chilli sauces were particularly good, making a pleasant change from some of the more predictable offerings at many Indian restaurants.

To start, we tried a Maya ‘Magic’ starter called ‘With a Little Twist’, which involved three pieces of chicken cooked in different ways: chocolate and orange chicken tikka, Moksh jerk chicken tikka and lemongrass and pepper chicken tikka. The starter arrived beautifully presented with the three different types of chicken on one plate. The flavours of each piece were absolutely delectable and the chicken was superbly tender. The portion was perfectly sized, too – a generous quantity of chicken, but not too much to spoil your appetite.

Moving on to the main course, we shared the Lamb Shank Roganjosh, a Kashmiri curry, made with whole lamb shanks cooked in a rich onion and fresh tomato puree sauce with cardamom and whole spices. The sauce was deep in flavour and the meat was meltingly tender with the shank served whole. It was topped with really tiny baby plum tomatoes, which added a lovely extra layer of texture. We thought it was superb.

We also tried the Ratinagiri Mango Lamb, a lamb curry made with mangoes, coconut milk and black pepper, and loved this too. The meat was generous and tender with a wonderfully flavoursome thick, smooth, tangy sauce.

Rices at Meluha were lovely and a little different.  The Pilau rice with caramelised onions was delicious – very savoury in flavour and complemented the curry very well. We also tried the Green tea rice, which was a basmati rice flavoured with green tea leaves. The rice was dark green in colour and had a wonderfully subtle green tea flavour. It worked particularly well with the sweeter Ratinagiri curry.

Not content with rice alone, we tried the garlic butter naan and garlic butter gluten free naan. There are a wide variety of interesting naan flavours, including Chilli chocolate and honey and rosemary and chicken tikka, which sound delicious. What is even better is that all breads can be made gluten free at Meluha, without even pre-ordering. In fact, as all dishes are made fresh from the menu, pretty much all dishes can be made gluten free. It was a particularly lovely experience being told you can have any dish or bread you like from the menu made gluten free – something we’ve not experienced at an Indian restaurant before.

To finish, we tried a trio of desserts put together for us by the chef. All were excellent. Our meal at Meluha was superb. The food was divine and the service just lovely from everyone who served us. It was, without question, the best curry we’ve ever had.


12
Nov 13

A trip to Marbella

Finca Los Arcos

Finca Los Arcos

Marbella on the Spanish Costa del Sol has been a famous celebrity haunt for years. The international jet-set have been visiting Marbella since the end of the Second World War, and it seems to be more popular than ever as a holiday destination.

I recently paid a visit to Marbella to see what it’s all about. You can see why it’s such a popular destination both for holidays and minibreaks, as it is just so easy to get to. Flights are cheap and readily available on a regular schedule, making it very possible to pop down for a weekend, which is what we did.

Marbella is just a 20-30 minute taxi ride from Malaga airport. The town itself is interesting, well preserved and worth a visit. The main attraction has to be the beaches and the world famous beach clubs in Marbella.

Our beach club of choice was Nikki Beach, and it was fabulous. Glamorous and exclusive yet really relaxed and fun – it is the perfect way to spend a hot and sunny day in Marbella. Booking a beach bed out for the day is the way to do it here. You will be served by the very good-looking staff, all eager to help you adjust your towel and serve you delicious cocktails. Yes, it’s not cheap, but the cocktails are delectable and the food is fabulous – their salads are all superb – so good that the 20 Euro price tag seems reasonable.

What really made the trip special was our villa. We decided to escape the hustle and bustle and stay up in the hills at Finca Los Arcos near Alhaurín el Grande. It is an easy drive down into Marbella and not expensive in a taxi, which is what we did. Finca Los Arcos is a magical and seriously unique place to stay. It can be found at the very top of a steep, winding track. As you pass the olive groves and pomegranate orchards on the way up to the villa, it keeps itself hidden – only to reveal itself as you reach the very top of the track to find it’s large gates in front of you. The villa is, in fact situated on the very top of a plateau in the hills, with 360-degree views of the mountains all around you. The villa sleeps 14 in its large en-suite bedrooms and has a large sitting room and covered terrace – but we spent practically every waking moment there outside on its enormous lower terrace sunbathing enjoying the swimming pool. There is also an outdoor bar complete with music, making it the perfect setting for a party in the evening.

There is plenty of choice in Marbella when it comes to restaurants, bars and clubs. Marbella is definitely a place to be seen and people watch. In fact, it is most likely you will visit and spot several famous faces. Did it live up to expectations? Yes. I’m already planning my next trip back!


27
Oct 13

Brimstone

Brimstone

Nestled in the heart of the Langdale Valley, Brimstone is the newest addition to the Langdale Estate, a small leisure complex that offers self-catering accommodation and timeshares in the English Lake District.

Brimstone is different. The hotel was opened this May, so is very new, and was opened with the intention of offering the best rooms in the Lake District. The hotel itself is very impressive. A slick, new building constructed from Lakeland slate, fitting in with the surroundings very well. It has just a total of sixteen rooms and suites making it a very small and comfortable place to stay. It’s situated on three floors, with the ground floor being the underground car park, and a lift connecting all floors, with automatically opening doors along the way. This makes getting around so easy, with step-free access all the way from the car to the rooms, which was great for us, in terms of getting our luggage to our rooms.

The rooms are seriously luxurious and modern. They’d definitely be a hit with anyone liking technology, with light buttons instead of switches to adjust the lights to the occasion, from ‘perky’ when you’re getting up for the morning, to ‘tinkle’ if you were to wake up in the night. There are two interactive televisions in the room, should you wish to tweet from the TV, and a whole host of TV channels and iPlayer available through the television. Even the curtains are opertated electronically. All these gadgets don’t feel gimmicky. The room is decorated very tastefully in subtle greys, with a spotless white bathroom. It is clear that every detail in the rooms at Brimstone has been very carefully considered and is of top quality.

One of the most unusual features about Brimstone is that there is no Reception desk. Guests are looked after by the hotel’s Hosts, who are available by telephone at any time, for literally anything you could want. There is just one communal room, the Reading Room, which is great. It has plenty of comfy seating, a TV and a good selection of books, magazines and newspapers. It also has a back wall bar with refreshments, including a Nespresso machine, bottled water, wine, beer and soft drinks available free and in unlimited quantities to guests at any time of the day or night. There are also cakes and fruit throughout the day, sandwiches to take out with you for the day available in the morning and cheese and biscuits to enjoy after dinner. They really have thought of everything, and this is a very popular service with guests, understandably. I was touched when Harriet, our host, brought us gluten free brownies especially to take out with us for the day.

There were three different hosts on duty whilst we were staying and all were great. They’re there to help with luggage, bring you breakfast in your room, call to see if you would like a turn down service, and help you with any other needs you might have.

The Langdale Estate is a great place to stay in the Lake District, particularly if you enjoy outdoor activities. It is around 15 minutes drive from Ambleside, the nearest town, but is a very short distance from many of the finest walks in Lakeland. There are also plenty of activities on the Estate, with a swimming pool and spa on site. The Spa is absolutely brilliant. It’s just a minute’s walk from Brimstone to get into the main building. On the first night, I enjoyed a manicure and pedicure with Kelly in the Spa. It was lovely to have an evening appointment, as the spa was quiet and I could relax and chat to Kelly, who was a complete delight and did a wonderful job of my treatment using OPI nail polishes. I had so many compliments afterwards. On the second night, I had an Anne Semonin Facial with Rachel. Again, this treatment was fantastic. Rachel was just lovely: very experienced and knowledgeable, and gave me so much information on the gorgeous Anne Semonin products, including a huge range of samples to try at home.

While staying at Brimstone, it makes sense to dine on the Langstone Estate, unless you fancy a fairly long drive elsewhere. There isn’t anywhere in Brimstone to eat, as all the restaurants and kitchens are over in the main building. Breakfast is great however, as guests at Brimstone are given a card in the room on which to choose what you want to eat, and leave it outside the room for the morning. There are 15 minute slots for delivery, and we found our food arriving bang on time. There is a really good choice of food available and the quality is good and there is no extra service charge for this.

There are several dinner options available on the Estate. We dined in Purdey’s Restaurant, the flagship restaurant for each night of our stay.  It is a relaxed, unstuffy place to dine with very attentive, friendly service. There is a good selection of wines and the staff are keen to advise. Portions are generous – so much so that we couldn’t manage dessert. We retired to the Reading Room at Brimstone for an espresso and found other residents in there enjoying wine and cheese after dinner.

What is clear about Brimstone is how great the staff are. It is particularly nice to speak to staff who clearly love their jobs and care about where they work and their guests.

Brimstone is a fantastic place to stay in the Lakes. The rooms are just gorgeous and extremely comfortable. We particularly liked how autonomous you feel staying here – it’s a hotel room with hotel service, but a bit more freedom and privacy than some hotels to relax and do as you please during your stay. It’s so private, you could get away with hardly seeing a person during your stay if you wished.  We met a couple staying who were on their third visit since May, they loved it so much. Have they succeeded in creating the best rooms in the Lakes? A good number of guests we encountered seemed to think so.

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