You know when you're driving up to the Swinton Park Hotel that you're about to surround yourself in luxury, the place just oozes class. Everything is so grand and obviously well maintained you perceive an army of invisible employees must beaver round the clock to keep everything pristine and beautiful.
The hotel gives the illusion of being a grand old house rather than a temporary place to stay. There's none of the hustle and bustle you'd usually expect, although the place is large, especially the grounds, relatively few guests are there at any one time. In fact there are only 31 rooms which means you're spoiled for peace and quiet.
The rooms themselves are superb, very large with quality furnishings and a lot of extras. The beds are huge, normally around 6 feet with a bewildering array of pillows and faux fur throws. The bathrooms likewise do not lack for space and are immaculate and well equipped. Each room has an excellent view over the gardens, lakes and river.
The dining room is lavish and luxurious but fine dining turned out not to be our thing. The food wasn't to our liking and the time between courses incredibly long. The meal took well over an hour to serve and the only course we really enjoyed was the desserts.
Swinton Park is a multi award winner and it was obvious the chefs had lavished loving care on our cuisine and it was of an impeccably high standard. The fruit for example is picked immediately prior to serving from the grounds. We'd booked this part of our break simply as an experiment to experience this type of dining and sometimes these things work out, sometimes they don't. I'm sure people with more refined palates than our own would thoroughly enjoy it. The wine also was of a very high calibre …… and price. That's what you'd expect in such refined surroundings.
Walking around the estate is thoroughly enjoyable. The lakes / reservoirs are large and there's even a small waterfall along a brook about half a mile from the hotel. There are deer across the nearest lake which the children will love.
One of the great luxuries of Swinton Park is the exclusive use spa with jacuzzi and sauna. You book this by the hour and have it completely to yourselves. The privacy only increases the relaxation felt in the very nice surroundings. Treatments are available in a separate part of the spa.
Overall a delightful place to stay. As you'd imagine in such a classy establishment the staff are top notch. Friendly, efficient and attentative. And everything goes seamlessly from the ultra relaxed check in (I doubt there'd ever be a queue and if there was, there are seats and magazines galore to pass away any small delay) to collecting your car from the nearby, well kept car park.
A night will cost you close to £200 but I'd still rate it value for money. And if you tire of the hotel's distractions the Dales are right on the doorstep.