Short break - The Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, Windermere
PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 July 2019
As outdoor escapes go, the Lake District offers it all, but when the day is done, you need somewhere luxe to refuel and relax.
The Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, on the edge of Lake Windermere, has recently completed a huge project; extending the hotel by adding The Winander Club - a smart, contemporary additional space with rooms, a bar overlooking the lake from on high and a breakfast room. All are uber-smart, beautifully designed and emanate calm. The hotel has also added a fabulous health club and spa, with an indoor pool and hydrotherapy zone and treatments from ESPA or with their own, specially created, range of products. Finally, a new restaurant, Blue Smoke, offers a more contemporary take on family dining than the main dining venue, the Windermere Restaurant.
The whole build has been beautifully executed, with the modern lines of the Windander Club settling gracefully against the rich green hills behind.
Our day was spent with a gentle approach to walking, just a stroll along the lakeside, not a hike into the hills. Despite our casual approach to exercise, however, it was still more than welcome to arrive at The Winander Club, be handed a glass of chilled Prosecco and shown to our very smart room.
A room with a view is a requirement, I think, when weekending in such a stunning location. For us, not a lake view, but an uninterrupted scene of green and luscious hills, dotted with sheep, climbing to an endless sky. The room decor is very on trend, with autumnal shades of copper and chocolate, rich velvet and crisp white sheets.
The menus of Blue Smoke Restaurant are centred around a huge, wood-fired grill, which sits in full view of diners and is used to create most of the dishes available. The dining room, with its views across the lake, is busy, vibrant and filled with couples and families discussing their day, the sound of the grill punctuated by laughter and the chink of steel on clay. Hungry from all that fresh air and exercise (well, some exercise) we chose quickly. Potato Rosti topped with Goat's Cheese and a beetroot salad for me, and Spiced Pork Belly with chilli and ginger dressing for Mike. Both were packed with flavour; hearty dishes that brought instant satisfaction to empty tummies. For my main course, I chose a braised pork collar that had been finished on the grill, with a pork bon-bon and an apple and chilli chutney, served with celeriac and potato mash and calvados sauce. It was insanely good. The pork collar almost disintegrated at the touch of a fork, it was so soft. The bon-bon was delicious, a flavoursome ball of shredded meat in a crispy coating, and the sauce rich and luxurious. It was a man-size portion, that's for sure, but I did a man-sized job on it! Mike opted for Himalayan salt chamber-aged beef fillet, with Dauphinoise potato, confit tomatoes and wilted greens. It was excellent, he says, although we both agreed I had won selection of the night with my pork dish.
We had a rather different day planned for day two in our lake break and after a traditional English breakfast in the Windermere Restaurant we headed to the Spa,
Low Wood Bay have created their very own range of skincare products: Berry & Birch. They are all natural - no synthetics, parabens or skin irritants, and blended using essential oils containing vitamins and anti-oxidants and designed to soothe and nurture the skin. They are used in signature treatments by highly skilled therapists - and feel great. I chose a full body massage and enjoyed a full 60-minutes of dedicated stretching and rolling of muscles. Oh, it was bliss. My therapist even added hot stones, to soften the knots in my shoulders and stretch the muscles along my spine. The Berry & Birch oil selected for me contained clove buds, giving it a warmth that filtered through my entire being. Mike opted for a Signature Berry & Birch Head to Toe, which included a facial during the massage treatment. He didn't say much (men!), but he nodded firmly when asked if he'd enjoyed it, which I take as a major testimonial from a proper Northern male.
Following our treatments, we took ourselves off to the pool area, to enjoy a 'thermal journey'. It's amazing how easy it is to pass several hours drifting from a herb-scented heated room, to a Himalayan salt sauna, to a coconut steam room and around the various jets of the pool and Jacuzzi - and back again. In each space, different fragrances work to soothe and treat, while heat relaxes muscles and induces a deep sense of calm and wellbeing. A session in the Spa has to be booked, but outside, a hot-tub, sauna and pool are open to all guests. I tell you, sitting in a bubbling hot tub, gazing across the silvered lake, has to be one of my all-time best Lakes experiences.
Finally, we took ourselves back to Blue Smoke for lunch, the final element of the Lost in the Lakes Spa Day we were so thoroughly enjoying, before heading home, filled with a new serenity,
Prices start from £158 per room per night, based on two adults in a twin/double room on a best flexible bed and breakfast basis. Spa experiences vary from a three-hour Thermal Journey to a luxury spa day for two, starting at £50 per person. To book or for more information, visit englishlakes.co.uk/low-wood-bay or call 0333 2203 105.