STYLE etc returned to the Lake District, Bowness on Windermere to be exact, to review a lakeside hotel and spa offering a tranquil escape from city life. Merging modern features with traditional interiors, the Beech Hill Hotel aims to please holidaymakers.
Atmosphere and Decor
One of the first things noticed about the Beech Hill is the relaxed atmosphere throughout the building. Classical variations of popular chart songs are softly played throughout the bar and dining area, creating a tranquil feel and allowing guests to unwind without excessive noise.
Plush leather sofas give ample amount of seating space around the lounge, some set beside a large fire for an authentic country aesthetic. The vibe was cosy, with plenty of wood fixtures complemented by a tartan carpet throughout.
Lighting was warm and inviting to create a ‘lived in’ feel, reassuringly making guests feel at home as soon as they arrive. This was seasonally furthered with ornately decorated Christmas Trees an fairy lights.
The bar was named after A. Hary Griffin a locally renowned Mountaineer and Journalist, showing nod to regional heritage.
One of the clear perks of choosing the Beech Hill is the access to spa treatments and facilities. Guests can book themselves in for a multitude of packages, for our visit we chose the “spa day” package which included a 30 minute treatment and afternoon tea for £69.00.
The massage was tailored to preference with our masseuse asking in advance whether we wanted a chatty or quiet experience and outlining any stress areas of bother to focus on. As there is only one treatment room and member of staff, these treatments are booked one after the other, our advice is to get in early and have the rest of your group make use of the pool, sauna, steam room and outdoor hot tub before the crowds appear. The pool features 6 loungers which fill up fast so give another reason to be in and out early.
The afternoon tea gave a selection of finger sandwiches, cakes and fruit scones to enjoy, alongside a pot of English breakfast tea at our choice. Sandwiches can be customised to suit dietary preferences, as we required. The Banana Bread and Creme Brulee were particularly good and the experience had choice to be served in the restaurant or in the bar lounge, which have idyllic views of Lake Windermere to the left and homely interior Christmas decorations to the right view.
The rooms are spaciously laid out, combining features of both traditional and modern decor to bring the heritage atmosphere into the 21st century. TVs are provided with the usual freeview channel selections and plenty of storage is offered in a variety of drawers and wardrobes.
As with all areas of the hotel, the room gave breathtaking views of the lake, trailing off to show snowy mountains in the distance. The picturesque landscapes alone are worth a visit and are not something you’ll quickly grow tired of seeing.
One thing we did notice was the WiFi signal unfortunately didn’t extend as far as our room which could be an issue if you are travelling whilst working, there is however full free WiFi in the bar area for all guests.
The bathroom came complete with 4 piece suite, including a jacuzzi bath which is perfect if you don’t fancy venturing outside for the communal hot tub. This was modernly decorated in a monochrome tile fashion.
If you are eating in a hurry then the bar offers an array of ‘snacks’ which include Burger and Chips, Chicken Liver Pate and Steak, to name a few, but fine dining is also available next door at the restaurant for a more high end experience.
An a la Carter menu is provided which gives up to 5 courses to sample, including palette cleansers in between mains. Our reviewers went for the 3 course menu, which still came with canapés prior to being seated and bread for the table before the starters.
Our starters of choice were the Potato and Leek Soup and Lamb Roulade. The soup was delectably rich and smooth and well received, served in a just enough fashion set inside modern squared off bowl. The Roulade was more particular, served dry with a garnish and side of tomato and cucumber. The cucumber specifically was overwhelming in measure, but the Lamb was soft and tasty, enough to satisfy until the mains arrive.
Mains included traditionally British options, including a classic Steak which required a supplement to the set menu fee and the Pheasant which came included in the deal. The Pheasant came served with air-dried Ham Mash and seasonal veg, glazed in a honey sauce to give sweetness in flavour and add an aesthetically pleasing shine to boot. A little gamy but pleasant, this dish did not disappoint and was nicely presented.
The Steak was requested to be medium-well (not suited to the steak connoisseur we know but a personal preference). Upon arriving it was served medium-rare, which was perhaps a mistake on the order. This was quickly rectified and the steak was replaced with a fresh order.
Once sampled, the replacement was elegantly textured, not too tough or tender, nicely juicy and thick. The steak also came with thick cooked chips, mushroom sauce and veg which matched flavours excellently.
Desserts consisted of Creme Brulee and Chocolate Fondant. The Brulee included a crescent moon shortbread biscuit to accompany it, giving a deliciously powdered sugar bake to suit the creamy Brulee.
The Fondant juxtaposed dark and white chocolate, clashing textures to suit. A rich and oozing hot chocolate melt-in-the-mouth main was sat beside a sharp and cold White Chocolate Ice Cream, creating an idyllic blend in a pretty display with flowers.