I love it when luxury hotels are also super dog friendly! And who wouldn’t want to bring the dogs on a trip to the Lake District…
Last week was my first ever visit to the Lake District, and WOW – I was blown away by how stunning this part of the UK is! Being from Cornwall I am very lucky to be surrounded by beautiful scenery most of the time, but the Lakes offer something totally different.
It was a magical trip, and we were incredibly lucky with the weather (thank you 23 degrees heat and sunshine!), and for our first night we were truly spoiled with a stay at the luxury Rothay Manor Hotel…
The Location: Ambleside on lake Windermere
Windermere is the largest lake (and most popular) lake in the Lake District, with several villages dotted at its edges – one of which being Ambleside. This town is a very central spot in the Lakes, and you’ll likely find yourself driving through it at some point during a trip here! There are plenty of shops and restaurants, and easy access to lots of great activities and places from here.
Things to do in & near Ambleside:
- Hire a boat from Windermere Lake Cruises to explore the lake – yes you can take dogs on board too! (2 min drive from the hotel)
- Visit Rydal Hall to see the waterfalls (6 min drive from the hotel)
- Get gingerbread from the famous Grasmere Gingerbread shop (12 min drive from the hotel)
- Walk around Rydal Water and see the caves (6 min drive from the hotel)
The Hotel: Rothay Manor
Rothay Manor is a 4 star boutique hotel with its own 3 AA rosette restaurant based in Ambleside. They’ve recently had refurbishments across the Grade II listed country house, and have built a new contemporary ‘Pavillion’ building which houses 8 individually designed suites.
We were lucky enough to be staying in one of the Pavillion Garden suites and I was in awe at how beautiful it was as we were shown to the room! These large suites each have their own enclosed patio gardens with furniture to relax in, made private by willow fencing – perfect for the dogs.
The decor in these rooms are absolutely gorgeous as well; a classic modern style that feels really sumptuous. Funnily enough, Alex and I both walked in and said the rooms reminded us of the decor in the Greenbank and Alverton hotels in Cornwall…. only to discover that it’s the same interior designer – Dynargh Design! We are a big fan of Matt’s style :) Just look at the bathroom!
The attention to detail is the room is fantastic as well, with filtered, cooled water for your arrival, complimentary pantry/mini fridge goodies and even a Dyson fan for if you get too hot (Alex is ALWAYS too hot at night so this was a godsend!).
The service was excellent throughout our stay as well, and all the luxe touches had me and the dogs feeling like royalty!
The Food: Fine dining tasting menu
Rothay Manor has two different dining options – a casual dining area called the Brathay Room, and their 3 AA Rosette fine dining option with food created by Head Chef Daniel McGeorge and his team. When looking him up we recognised his face and realised he was the winner of the Great British Menu in 2021!
His food has a lot of Scandinavian and Japanese influences, so naturally we were very excited to try his dishes, and opted for the 8 course tasting menu.
This kicked off with a couple of cocktails and caviar canapés in the hotel garden, enjoying the last moments of sunshine for the day. This had a ‘salmon roe custard’ underneath which was deliciously creamy and smooth to spread on our crackers.
Then we moved into the restaurant for our meal, starting with an Amuse Bouche; a selection of small dishes to whet our appetites! This was followed by a surprise bread course with the most delicious wild garlic butter ready to spread on warm homemade bread…
Then a quick palate cleanser (a fresh tomato consommé) was followed by our ‘Chawanmushi’ course – a cauliflower, truffle and picked onion velouté. SO yummy!
After this, we had a fresh oyster served with kohlrabi, horseradish and caviar. This was delicious and the flavours were so perfect together!
Alex and I both weren’t very keen on this next course, which is saying something because we both LOVE chicken katsu! But while it looks like a chicken wing from the outside, the inside was actually a chicken mousse… we both found the texture odd so wasn’t a big fan of this dish.
However the next course made up for it, because I think this might have been my favourite! Bear in mind, I normally don’t like monkfish… but after this dish, I’ve definitely changed my mind. This was served with dashi, sea kale and elderflower and it was delicious, perfectly tender and scrumptious.
After this was our main meat dish of Dexter Beef fillet served with a king oyster mushroom. The sauce on all this was incredible once again!
Before we moved onto our sweet courses, it was time for another palate cleanser. I forget exactly what flavour this granita was! Perhaps I should write notes as I eat…
The desserts I have to say were fabulous and delicious in every way. This one was a strawberry sorbet with matcha cake…
… and this was a selection of chocolates served with a malted milk crisp and ice cream and THIS was my favourite course of the whole meal. And I am NOT usually a dessert girl at all – especially not chocolate – but this was probably one of my fave desserts I’ve ever had 😍
I love it when menus like this say they include 8 courses, but you actually end up getting far more than that when you add up all the surprise mini courses in between. In total we were served 12 different dishes!
As you can imagine by the end we were both incredibly full, and also incredibly tired, as we had just arrived from the 8 hour journey up from Cornwall. We both fell asleep in our super king, beautifully comfortable bed pretty much immediately.
You can always tell when a hotel actually welcomes dogs and is dog ‘friendly’ (rather than dog ‘tolerant’) when they go the extra mile to provide bowls, beds, and treats for the pooches during your stay! They loved it, and it was great to have the outdoor, enclosed garden space so that we could let them roam freely in and out of the room without worrying about them running off.
Obviously the Lake District in general is fantastic for dogs; lots of walking and lots of water for them to splash and cool off in on hot days as well.
Head to the Rothay Manor Hotel website to spoil yourself (and your dogs!)
*We were offered a complimentary stay in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. We opted to pay for the tasting menu dinner ourselves, so I have no obligation to write about that – but it was amazing so wanted to share!:)