Located in the picturesque Langdale Valley, Brimstone is the Lake District’s most exciting hotel. A state of the art spa, gold-standard hospitality, and ski chalet luxe bedrooms guarantee a perfect weekend away.
The Lake District remains one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations, and it is clear why. Visiting (as we did) in mid-November when the leaves are golden and the mountains peaked with snow is a magical experience. Despite its popularity, it still managed to maintain a sense of sleepiness which all adds to the charm.
With dozens of hotels in the area to choose from, picking can be tricky, especially when so many of them are so similar; manor houses and large cottages converted into charming boutique hotels and upmarket B&Bs. Brimstone however, brings something fresh to the table. The inspiration was decidedly European – ski chalet luxury to be exact. Built from local stone and timber, the from-scratch build blends harmoniously with its rugged setting. Interiors continue the theme, think exposed stone walls, log burning contemporary fire grates, and supremely comfortable furniture made for lingering on.
Most impressive of all is the hotel’s service. They operate a “hosts” concept where instead of having staff who have one specific remit (driver, reception, concierge, etc), there is instead a gaggle of young, competent, enthusiastic hosts who do it all. Starting with pick up from the station (London to Windermere in about 3 hours) in the hotel’s Land Rover Defender, they will take care of you for the duration of your stay. Breakfast in bed, local restaurant bookings, lighting the in-room fireplace, advising on walking routes, there are few requests they can’t help with. The hosts also act as complimentary taxi service – one of the hotel’s most generous offerings – and will drive you to nearby places in the Defender at no extra charge. A real asset to the hotel, the hosts set a level of warmth and hospitality you do not frequently find.
We stayed in a Mezzanine Suite, which divides the sleeping and living areas onto two floors; a sumptuous and grand affair. But, whichever of the 16 rooms you book, you’ll be delighted. There are no duds at Brimstone. The interiors continue the hotels theme: muted colours, stone and wood finishes, deep leather armchairs, thick blankets, and roaring fireplaces. These rooms are meant for couples really; even the lights had pre-set mood options including one labelled “sexy”. Balconies and bathtubs come as standard.
You’ll have most likely spent the day walking on the fells (if you weren’t in a bliss-coma in the spa), and Brimstone’s main restaurant Stove provides exactly the kind of food one needs to replenish their energy. There are two spaces to choose from: the more casual area by the bar, or the smarter Wine Room – which is better for romantic or intimate suppers. The cooking is British and mainly rustic, though there a few more complex dishes on the menu. We ate pork liver pâté, scallops, lobster mac and cheese, and lamb shank. Portions were decent and flavours were spot on.
The hotel again excels in the hospitality stakes with its Reading Room which throughout the day serves a selection of food and drinks all completely complimentary to guests. There are sandwiches, fruit, cakes and scones in the afternoon, and after supper all the ingredients necessary for a cheese board. They also provide coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soft drinks, beers, and wines. You can enjoy the refreshments in the Reading Room, take them back to your room, or even out on day trips with you in bags provided. It’s a lovely gesture, and guests appreciate it enormously.
With facilities including a half-indoor, half-outdoor bubble pool, herbal steam room, herbal sauna, Finnish sauna, thermal experience shower, mineral steam bath, Himalayan salt steam room, Laconium, ice fountain, and relaxation rooms, Brimstone’s spa is a reason to visit in itself. Opened in autumn 2016, the state of the art spa was built completely from scratch. Treatments are by Elemis or Brimstone’s newly developed Pure Alchemy range, designed for stress relief and relaxation. We had Pure Alchemy’s Enrapture shoulder and back massage, which was none of the best targeted massages we’ve experienced.
The Spa Deli offers a selection of hot and cold drinks which again are all complimentary.
Brimstone is set in the heart of the Langdale Valley, one of the Lake Districts most gorgeous and dramatic. Excellent walking routes are accessible directly from the hotel, and the hosts can kit you out from their boot room as well as provide maps with difficulty ratings and time scales. We walked Lingmoor Fell; the views were breathtaking.
The settlements of Grasmere and Ambleside are nearby, which have boutique-y shops, cafes, and restaurants to potter around. Lake Windermere is also just a stone’s throw away, and is best explored either by a guided boat tour or on your own in a rowing boat – the perfect way to spend a summer’s afternoon.