The Windermere Suites
A bold and unashamedly sexy b&b with a sophisticated nightclub vibe of moody black and silver, sprawling bedrooms and vast bathrooms with seductive mood lighting. Breakfasts are served in-room, while it's relatively close to restaurants for evening meals.
- Helen Pickles, Destination Expert
At the edge of Windermere town, on the main road to the lake, it's out of the tourist busy-ness yet within easy reach if you don't mind walking: five minutes to the town; 20 minutes to lakeside Bowness with its shops, bars and the starting point for lake cruises. Attractions such as Dove Cottage in Grasmere, pretty Hawkshead village, Ambleside's shops and Beatrix Potter's house are within 20 to 30 minutes' drive. A big plus is that Windermere railway station is only 10 minutes up the road. But it is a busy road, and the views are limited.
Style & character
From the outside it looks like many of the neighbouring guest houses; a substantial, late-Victorian, slate-built house with large mullioned windows. Step beyond the heavy oak door with its stained-glass panels and it's a different story. With polished, hardwood floors, charcoal-grey walls, black sofas, heavy walnut doors and outrageous statement chandeliers, it could be the VIP area of a smart nightclub. It's smooth and sleek with little to indicate it's a hotel other than some tourism leaflets and a smart black reception desk in one of the ground-floor rooms.
Service & facilities
It's an owner-managed property – the effervescent Vicky Monk – with three or four staff to help run the show, and the place reflects her personality: exuberant, fun, relaxed. Vicky is knowledgeable on the area and encourages her young staff to learn more. Bedrooms are large, so there's no need for general spaces – there is only reception and a pocket-handkerchief garden beside the rear car park. Guests receive free entry to a leisure centre, a mile away, plus a large range of extras, such as flowers and chocolates, and packages – romantic (champagne, chocolates, rose petals; £65) or naughty (handcuffs, games, ahem, toys; £55) – can be added.
- Room service
The eight vast rooms (three with patios, two with private entrances) are very grown-up and seriously designer with hardwood floors or chocolatey carpets and a 'fifty shades of grey' colour scheme in textured wallpapers, heavy brocade curtains, sequinned cushions and velvet throws. Statement lampshades, glass tables and white or burnished silver furniture – including French baroque-style beds – add bling while bathrooms are dark affairs with huge air-baths, walk-in showers, mood lighting and wall televisions. Luxury touches include dressing rooms, generous minibars and glossy magazines. But they're rooms for passion rather than practicality so don't expect reading lights, desks or sensible storage in the bathroom.
Food & drink
Meals are served in-room on smart black trolleys and Villeroy and Boch white china. There's a short snacks and supper menu which, nevertheless, covers all you need if you don't want to venture out – from homemade soup, club sandwich and decent pizzas to cheese platters and rich desserts; two courses average £13. The minibar is well-stocked with a good choice of spirits, wines (around £18) and champagne.
Breakfast is comprehensive for a small operation, from granola with fruit and yogurt to eggs Benedict, cold meat platters and full-cooked (with vegetarian option). The downside is that everything arrives together with no means of keeping cooked dishes warm. But it's nicely served and the coffee does the business.
Value for money
Double rooms from £150 in low season; and from £180 in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
One room is suitable for those with limited mobility but isn't fully adapted.
It isn't aimed at children; however, two rooms can take extra beds for an additional charge of £35 per child, including breakfast.