Emma Rowbottom visited the ultra-relaxing Brimstone Hotel and Spa in the Lake District for some serious R&R and discovered a place where you can truly switch off in style.
Hidden within a 35-acre estate in the Lake District National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Brimstone Hotel and Spa is a heavenly haven of peace and tranquillity. Housed in the heart of the fell-walking Langdale Valley Estate (a former gunpowder factory – hence the name, which means sulphur) the hotel is home to 16 spacious suites and rooms, each boasting luxuriously large beds and many with log burning stoves, ensuring no stone is left unturned when it comes to catering to the relaxation requirements of its guests.
The Lake District landscape has long been admired for its dramatically captivating and stunning natural beauty, but when you reach Brimstone – a 10 minute drive from Ambleside, at the head of Windermere – you’ll instantly feel like you could be tucked away in a swish Swiss ski chalet. Built from dark materials, including local slate, glass and timber panelling, this is a space for you to truly switch off and take a breath, fully immersed in nature and greenery – albeit with an added and contemporary touch of luxe.
Greeted on our arrival (there’s no reception – instead you are assigned a host for the duration of your stay) we’re taken to our room, the aptly named Spa Suite, which has serious wow factor (think a cosy, log-burning stove, super king-sized bed and a private, dual-aspect terrace overlooking the secluded lake and spa). But perhaps the biggest thrill is the spacious bathroom, where an oversized oval bath takes centre stage, filled from the ceiling by a suspended waterfall tap. A duet shower and natural, handmade products from Pure Lakes completes the in-room spa experience, and if it’s relaxation you’re looking for, it will be hard to tear yourself away to sample the rest of the hotel’s offerings (the Brimstone Spa is just a stone’s throw away, however, offering a selection of treatments and thermal experiences for guests to enjoy).
While there are plenty of personal touches in the room, including a hand-written welcome note, biscuits and mini marshmallows, if your in-room relaxing results in the need for a snack (doing nothing is hungry work, after all), then head on over to the Reading Room, a truly decadent addition to any stay. Here guests can relax and read, while enjoying complimentary drinks and snacks. We enjoyed delicious prawn and crayfish cocktail with baby gem sandwiches, with a glass of chilled rosé, but there are also cakes, afternoon tea treats and cheese and biscuits on offer throughout the day, all of which can be enjoyed there, or in the comfort of your room.
If there’s still some room for dinner, then a two-minute stroll to the Stove Bar and Restaurant will be a relaxing end to your day. We dined in the Wine Room, a more intimate space set back from the open kitchen and bar. Here, menus showcase both modern and traditional food offerings, where classics such as wood-fired pizza and beer-battered fish and chips sit alongside seasonal offerings including Cumbrian lamb and pumpkin stuffed pasta with crispy sage, chestnuts and Gran Alberio, all made with local produce, where possible. Smoked meats, fish and cheeses are also on offer from the Langdale Estate Smokehouse, courtesy of head chef Scott Barge. We enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken liver parfait with roast chicken butter, red onion chutney and toasted sourdough, pan-fried Scottish salmon with crab arancini, romesco sauce and roasted fennel, finished with sticky toffee brioche pudding – literally the icing on the cake.
Breakfast is also served at Stove (if you decide not to opt for it in bed, which is included in your room rate and organised by your host). Here, morning cocktails, including Bloody Mary’s and Buck’s Fizz are on offer, alongside a menu including warm buttermilk pancakes, Cumbrian rarebit or smashed avocado on toast – the perfect start to your day, ensuring that when your host waves you goodbye, your only problem will be switching your email alerts back on and immersing yourself into real life once again.
Rooms: from £350 per night (including Reading Room treats, Brimstone Spa access, outdoor kit hire and breakfast in bed)
The Langdale Estate, Chapel Stile, LA22 9JD. 015394 38062, brimstonehotel.co.uk