The Lake District is, without doubt one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places to stay in England, and I have just discovered possibly the most special place in which to enjoy the peace and quiet and beautiful scenery.
Gilpin Lake House is a seriously unique place to stay. It is, in fact, the newly opened sister hotel to the highly reputable Gilpin Lodge, part of the exceptional Relais et Chateaux hotel group, and is located just a mile or so away, up a narrow and winding lane, leading to Knipe Tarn, on whose banks Gilpin Lake House sits. Its location can only be described as idyllic, with 100 very private acres and wide-reaching views for guests to enjoy.
Guests buzz through to the house from the large, black iron gates to enter, and by the time we had driven up to the house, staff were waiting outside, armed with umbrellas to greet us on arrival. We certainly felt pretty special and well looked after from the moment we arrived at Gilpin.
First of all, we were shown up to our room on the first floor; Maud, to find chilled champagne waiting for us, and we had a short while to settle in and unpack our luggage. Our room was lovely – centrally positioned in the building, up in the eaves on the top floor, with views over the garden and tarn. We had plenty of space to sit, relax, store our luggage and get ready. It was extremely comfortable and very tastefully decorated. The white marble bathroom was small, but very nice, and equipped with everything you could need, including Gilpin’s own range of Organic products, which were great to use.
What struck us first of all about Gilpin Lake House, was the seriously elegant and stylish décor. This is a very luxurious house, a mixture of slick, modern designs and elegant country-house features. Every room is full of books and magazines – many of which I would have loved to look at, if I’d had time. I almost wished we had, not only had longer at Gilpin, but a wet day so that we could have had some quiet time to enjoy more of the house. What makes this a particularly unique place to stay is just how homely the hotel feels. It is a very unstuffy, informal and personal place to stay, despite its gorgeous, luxurious surroundings.
We arrived mid-afternoon, and had a short while to get ourselves ready before embarking on the Jetty Spa Trail, which is the in-house spa; The Jetty, Lake House Spa’s signature treatment, which is designed specifically for couples. Jo Evans, the delightful Spa Manager came to fetch us from our room, and we headed off to the brand new custom-built wooden spa, nestled amongst the trees on the banks of the tarn. This treatment takes all afternoon, and is specifically tailored to every guest.
First of all, we sat with Jo in the spa with a drink of freshly made cucumber and mint water, whilst Jo created our own blend of essential oils for us each to use in our massages. Jo was very exacting when creating our blend, ensuring it was a combination of three balanced fragrances that we absolutely loved. We then had around 45 minutes to enjoy the swimming pool and salt snug to ourselves. One of the particularly special facts about the Jetty Spa Trail is that all the facilities you use are closed to other guests, so only you are able to use them at that time. Such privacy is quite unique.
Following our time in the salt snug, we each had a salt scrub shower, followed by a half hour massage using our personalized essential oil blends. The treatment room in The Jetty is just incredible. There are two treatment rooms which can be opened up to form one large room for couples. The entire exterior wall is, in fact, a glass window, with fabulous views over the tarn. It is so private, and feels very intimate. In keeping with the rest of the house, it is very tastefully decorated and would be an amazing experience both in the summer, with the windows open, and in winter, with the log burners lit. The massages were extremely relaxing, and I certainly enjoyed the fact that Jo was so entirely focused on me and my comfort throughout.
We finished the treatment with some time to relax in the Boat House, again, it is completely private, and looks over the tarn. We snuggled up under the heated fur blanket and had some time to read magazines whilst we drank tea and nibbled on some appetisers. Finally, we were shown to the outdoor hot tub, where we enjoyed a bottle of champagne together before it was time to go and get ready for dinner.
Dinner at Gilpin is a very special affair. It is purposefully served at Gilpin Lodge, its sister hotel, just a short distance away, to preserve the tranquility of the hotel. To make life special for the guests, the Lake House has its own chauffeur to take guests to Gilpin Lodge and back. Andrew, our driver was brilliant, and we felt really special being driven there and back in their Jaguar. What is great about it is that you feel like you’ve had an evening out, but you don’t have to worry about taxis, cash or being the designated driver. Andrew waits for you in the Reception area whilst you dine, so you can return whenever you like.
Dinner at Gilpin Lodge was everything we expected. The lounges and dining rooms are lovely. We were hungry, so we chose to go straight to our table instead of enjoying an aperitif in the bar. Staff were really friendly, knowledgeable and keen to advise on wines. Three menus are on offer every day: the tasting menu, the a la carte menu and the grill menu. We ordered from the a la carte and the grill menu.
The highlight for me was the steak. It was in fact a locally sourced fillet steak on the bone. It had been grilled using the Big Green Egg Charcoal grill and was exquisite. We really enjoyed the free range chicken too, which was served with some delicious sides. We loved the grilled corn with coriander and sesame green beans.
The service at Gilpin is exceptional. We genuinely felt in very safe hands. What is also exceptional is how lovely all the furnishings and décor are. This is a hotel that is immaculately kept in every area. It is unusual to stay in such a small hotel, but the Lake House is genuinely the best of both worlds, with pretty much every facility you could want available to guests. We felt as though there were no compromises being a small hotel, but you were able to enjoy a much more intimate experience as a result. This is a very special place to stay and perfect for couples. It would be a really lovely place to stay for a special occasion – you can even hire out the entire hotel, should you wish, which would be seriously amazing.
One night’s accommodation with a Jetty Spa Trail with dinner, wine and the chauffeur is around £900 per night, per couple.