January 11, 2023
The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House – Windermere, Cumbria
Nestled in the picturesque Lake District just four miles from Windemere, sits the family-owned and-run Gilpin Hotel & Lake House – a surreal haven that could be described as heaven when it comes to delivering the ultimate wellness experience paired with five-star hospitality.
Gilpin is set on 21 acres of country gardens, moors and woodland. Dedicated to nourishment, recuperation and relaxation, the guest house is made up of two hotels on two separate estates, just over a mile from each other. Awarded the coveted 5 Red Star Accreditation by the AA in 2023, which “recognises the top level of excellence in hospitality awarded by the organisation” guests can expect unparalleled levels of service, smiles, culinary and beverage delights, wood-burning fires, as well as resident llamas, alpacas and even micro pigs.
We were invited to come and experience the five-star treatment in one of the show-stopping detached Spa Suites, which are overlooked by nothing but countryside… plus a few llamas and alpacas.
Spa suites offer the ultimate connection to both the interior and exterior world of the Lake District itself. This is reflected in every corner of your suite in incredible decor detail, from the foliage surrounding the huge circular stone bath to the overhanging bedroom on the private pond, right through to the earthy Scandinavian tones utilised in the open-plan lounge and detailed double sinks engulfed by textured driftwood detail. This leads out to extensive outside decking and your own private hot tub of course. Every room has been designed to emulate a warm welcoming feeling, the ultimate escape from city life, your own private home with all the luxuries of an award-winning high-end hotel. It’s an idyllic spot for a birthday, mini-moon, proposal, honeymoon, babymoon, anniversary, or even girls’ weekend.
Spa suites come with a separate spa room, steam room, sauna, state-of-the-art automated massage chair, plus a traditional massage bed with an infrared sauna. Why go to the spa when the spa can come to you?
All Gilpin Hotel rooms come with stunning Lakeland views. You can choose to stay in one of their six Junior Suites, six large open-plan Garden Suites, or opt for the ultimate in opulence, one of the five detached Spa Suites.
Food and drink
I’m a sucker for great food and drinks and a stay can be utterly beautiful but if the F&B doesn’t meet expectations, are you likely to return?
We started off with breakfast in bed, and we weren’t disappointed. You can order from a good selection of choices online and book it the day before. We had silky smooth eggs, smoked salmon, fresh fruit and juices, but I set the bar higher for lunch.
Lunch, while curled up by the fire, was heaven. We tucked into a well-presented light Japanese-style bento box which had an array of delights from apple walnut salad to rich duck parfait, mango chicken salad and the creamiest panna cotta in the shape of a sheep on a pistachio crumb base.
Then it was time to set off for a wonderful afternoon walk to Lake Windermere, something that the hotel has directional cards for if you’d like to explore the area. For both nights of our stay, we’d head down to the champagne bar first. The staff were excellent, offering insights and expertise on cocktails to suit your tailored palette. Being London-based, we’re used to outstanding drinks but weren’t expecting the same standard in The Gilpin. The vodka old-fashioned was divine, as was the normal old-fashioned and London mule – the mixologists are an excellent addition to a pre-dinner experience.
There are outstanding restaurants on site: SOURCE (formerly known as HRiSHi) which will be overseen by Ex Fat Duck sous chef Ollie Bridgwater and the new restaurant Glöð at Gilpin Lake House to open at the property. For both restaurants, sustainability and local sourcing are going to be a top priority for this new ‘dining destination’.
Gilpin Spice, the property’s established third restaurant, will further develop the popular menu under the leadership of Aakash Ohol (ex-HRiSHi), who takes the reigns as head chef. For Gilpin Spice, the dress code is fairly casual which felt like a nice switch up from some heavily formal five-star environments.
The staff in both restaurants go above and beyond to ensure that you’re happy and the Sommelier Ben was filled with pure joy and insight.
Fluffy robes and soft slippers make you feel that you’re off for a spa day, however, the uniqueness of this being in your own private lodge is the piece-de-resistance. Shuffle over from your bed to the roaring wood fire and L sofa to your massage chair. I’m not the biggest spa person, and with an exceptionally busy life I struggle to find time for downtime, but being here you do just slot into an ‘unplugged’ life.
If you fancy a change of scenery, head to the Gilpin Spa, a calm and tranquil sensory journey that welcomes you into an apothecary-inspired reception. You’ll be led into the light-filled treatment room where you can choose from a range of treatments on offer from aromatherapy massage to a walkers ritual designed to relax the legs and feet. All spa treatments are complimented with the use of ESPA and PURE LAKES products. Outside two hot tubs are nestled in Garden Arwen, created by the roots of stumps that fell during Storm Arwen. I fell fast asleep during my massage, so it must’ve been relaxing.
If you’re looking for sheer indulgence The Gilpin is the one for you. Just turn up and your job here is purely to relax and bask in the exceptional surroundings of the Lake District whilst being looked after by the most exceptional staff. This ultimate romantic spa hideaway deserves to be shouted about from the rooftops. A huge well done to the Cunliffe family, who’ve had five generations of families associated with the property.
How to get there
The best way to get to Gilpin is by car, as it’s an easy drive from London (5 hours roughly) or from anywhere around the UK.
If you don’t drive, don’t worry, you can get a train from London Euston to Oxenholme (Kendal) which will take around 3 hours only.
Gilpin is located between Windermere and Oxenholme (Kendal) railway stations, so either station is handy to get to by taxi. Whilst Windermere is closer, you will most likely have to change at Oxenholme to get there so it’s often quicker and easier to simply take a taxi from Oxenholme.
Oxenholme – 8.7 miles – this is a national station on the main line between London Euston and Glasgow/Edinburgh. There are regular trains to and from London (approx 2.5 hrs) and Edinburgh and Glasgow (approx 2 hrs).
Windermere – 4 miles – is a local station with some trains going directly to and from Manchester Airport (approx 2 hours).
Spa Suites from £890 per night in summer or £670 per night in winter.
Classic bedrooms start from £295 per night in summer or £220 per night in winter. Many more options are available for Junior Suites, Master Bedrooms Garden Suites and the Lake House. For more information visit thegilpin.co.uk
A: Gilpin Hotel, Crook Road, Windermere, LA23 3NE
T: 01539 488818
W: The Gilpin
Written by Kaya Cheshire for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International