Staycation: The Samling, Lake District
by Lisa Harris
Lisa Harris checks in for some discreet luxury at this chic hideaway...
As the views swept open across Lake Windermere and we pulled up outside the impressive Samling hotel, every single mile we’d driven on the M6 was immediately worth it. Set in private grounds of 67 acres, The Samling has the composure of a big hotel, but there are only 12 bedrooms and suites. Staff greeted us by name, and the valet whisked our car back down the gravel driveway, which immediately made us feel cosseted.
Built in 1780, the hotel has touches of Georgian style but the interiors are plush and modern with thick carpets and a dark and sultry cocktail bar. There’s a hot tub available for private sessions, so you can look out over the gardens with a glass of Champagne in hand. William Wordsworth was so moved by the view here, that he wrote an ode to the stream that runs through the grounds, fondly remembering a romantic dalliance with a young lady (I don’t think it was in the hot tub though).
The Reverie bar takes its name from his famous poem, so while it was too rainy for us to dilly-dally outside, we toasted the poet with one of the hotel’s bespoke infused gins instead.
In our room I didn’t know whether to throw myself onto the Emperor-size bed laden with pillows, or plunge straight into the freestanding tub in the marble bathroom. I found time to do both while admiring the view over the lake towards the Coniston mountains. There’s something so indulgent about dressing for dinner when you’re only going downstairs, but it’s important to look your best when you’re about to embark on a five-course tasting menu from executive head chef Robby Jenks.
A lovage amuse bouche was a highlight, followed by a delicate cured mackerel starter with apple and chilled wasabi, and tender local Herdwick lamb with charred cucumber. All ingredients are locally sourced where possible, including cute little cucamelons (a miniscule melon-shaped cucumber) and micro herbs from the garden behind the hotel. The sommelier suggested exciting wine pairings, including a honeyed Riesling with the goose liver and black Muscat with our rhubarb dessert.
The impressive glass-walled dining room has a jaw-dropping 180-degree perspective over the World Heritage Site. And, although the drizzle put us off going for a walk in the morning, gazing at the mountains as we lingered over our croissants was a valiant alibi for not putting our boots on.
How to book
Bed and breakfast costs from £230 per room per night for a double room and £390 for a suite. Dinner, bed and breakfast for two people starts at £370 per night. Visit thesamling hotel.co.uk for more details.