I wanted somewhere special to go for our 10th wedding anniversary and was really happy to see this hotel advertised on the "Secret Escapes" website. We love the lakes and the area holds a lot of wonderful memories for us. I had problems with the site so went to the hotel direct and they were happy to book us in at the rate the website was advertising and for the date that we required. The booking receptionist was really efficient and helpful.
We arrived at the Hotel to find car parking a bit of a premium, as building work was going on and some of the area was cordoned off. We booked in (again very efficient ) and was taken to our room. The welcoming cream tea was lovely.
Hillthwaite is a bit different to conventional hotels , it is a large country house with associated smaller houses , so that to get to the premium rooms you have to go out of the hotel, along an outside causeway , through another part of the hotel, then outside another causeway through the garden to get to your part of the hotel. ( a house converted into suites). The suite itself was very nice, recently converted and updated. It had main bedroom, a lounge area which had fantastic views towards Windermere, very well appointed bathroom and also a spare single bedroom.
Downside: could not use the spa part of the hotel as was being renovated, which annoyed me as was not told this would not be available when booking the hotel. Email was a real pain to get, they were changing over to a new way to get it and lots of people were having problems. The bathroom when coming in from outside smelled a bit of damp. Both were reported to the hotel.
I could not complain about the room at all and we very happy.
The meal experience:
The food was fantastic, really lovely choices to choose from.
Downside: we had a group in on the first night which I think stretched the chef as we had very long wait in between courses. ( went into the restaurant at 7'ish, finished around 10'ish) On our wedding anniversary night and last night of our stay , a young family with two very small children were in the restaurant at 7pm, the children were very fractious and were tired.(shouting, screaming and singing-which Dad was also doing!!) It was a huge disappointment to have our evening ruined by this( as was other couples). They like us had to wait quite a while between courses so it did make for a very noisy few nights. I have children myself, but would consider other people in a place like that.
A lovely hotel, the staff were great, but as the hotel was in the midst of a refurbishment a little disappointed. Maybe because the hotel was featured on the secret escapes website with other exclusive hotels, I had expected more.