The gorgeous Armathwaite Hall Country House and Spa is nestled on the banks of Lake Bassenthwaite near Keswick in the Lake District, and set in 400 acres of deer park and woodland.
That might make it sound like somewhere you would go to get away from the hustle and bustle of family life. But the great thing about this privately owned luxury hotel – which was awarded the prestigious 4 AA Red Star status – is that you can bring everyone with you… and still get to chill out.
As we turned off the lakeside road, drove through the iron gates and up the winding driveway to the hotel, calm descended in the car – no mean feat when you have two children under five in the back. There is just something about this hotel that makes you instantly feel relaxed.
The old part of the building is all wood panels and billiard rooms: traditional, but not stuffy, and the children insisted on seeing the tiger’s head on the wall in the lounge every few hours. Our room, however, was in the newly converted courtyard section of the hotel, which was both immaculate and stylishly decorated. The family room was perfect: a well-thought-out layout with a side bedroom for the children and a gigantic, uber-comfortable bed for us.
We ate frequently at the brasserie in the courtyard part of the hotel, mainly because we found the service to be both attentive and utterly forgiving of the mild chaos caused by eating with small children. The food was exceptional and very reasonably priced considering the range and quality. We tucked into featherlight battered fish, succulent burgers and delicious ice cream after day trips to the nearby wildlife park and Beatrix Potter’s House, falling into bed by 9.30pm, full and happy.
And then there was the spa, which is worth travelling a couple of hundred miles to alone. It offers a full range of face, body and holistic treatments from luxury skincare lines Comfort Zone and Terraké. There are also some signature rituals, which take inspiration from the surrounding woodland and still waters of Bassenthwaite Lake – they sound amazing and are a must for my next visit.
I dispatched the rest of my family to Keswick (although there is a children’s pool in the spa which we used several times during our stay), and headed to first enjoy the amazing thermal suite and outdoor hot-tub, which overlooks the landscaped grounds of the hotel. Already in heaven, I went up to the stylish, contemporary treatment rooms, and had a Comfort Touch Full Body Massage and an Absolute Pearl Facial, which lasted an hour each.
My therapist was professional and thoroughly expert, and the massage lulled me into a state of relaxation I haven’t felt since before I had children. The facial used the deliciously scented Comfort Zone products and included facial accupressure techniques which made it a seamless fit with my massage treatment. Afterwards, my skin was visibly bright and glowing – so much so that my husband commented.
Needless to say, we didn’t want to leave. Armathwaite Hall is truly a haven for families like us. We got the chance to have fun together, chill out separately – and all in the most stylish, luxurious and comfortable surroundings you could wish for. The highlight for my toddler: a tiger’s head on the wall. For me: an outdoor hot tub overlooking the grounds. We’ve agreed to disagree.
Need to Know
Rates: Prices start from £100 per night for Bed & Breakfast. We stayed in a Spa Feature room, from £145 per night.
Facilities: All residents of the hotel get free use of The Spa, including, 16 meter indoor swimming pool, gym, thermal zone with heat experience showers, sauna, steam room, aroma room, hydrotherapy pool, outdoor hot tub, outdoor tennis court, croquet lawn and our traditional billiard room. Any appointments for treatments booked in The Spa are extra cost.
Check out time: 11.30am
How to get there: By car take the M6 north and leave the motorway at junction 40, A66 to Crossthwaite roundabout at Keswick then A591 signposted Carlisle. Go 8 miles to Castle Inn junction, turn left and Armathwaite Hall is 300 yards ahead. By train, travel to Carlisle (20 miles) or Penrith (20 miles) and continue by taxi or hire car. By plane, fly to Newcastle (90 miles) Manchester (120 miles), and continue by hire car or commercial shuttle service.
For more information and prices, visit www.armathwaite-hall.com, call 017687 76551 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For spa enquiries, call 017687 88900 or email: email@example.com