Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Rooms with a (Spectacular) View

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Rooms with a (Spectacular) View

Article excerpt

LEE SWETTENHAM enjoys a weekend retreat at a laura ashley hotel on the shores of windermere tr avel report LAKE DISTRICT

LAUNCHES and steamers slowly shuttle across the glass-like water, the banks are a riot of autumnal golds, greens and browns, and the Langdale Pikes rise into a bright blue and cloudless sky.

As hotel room views go, it's pretty much unsurpassed.

Majestic vistas are a given wherever you go in the Lake District, but it's not often you can enjoy such a glorious spectacle from the window of your very own room.

If you've ever been to Bownesson-Windermere, the tourist trap that's known as the gateway to the Lakes, the chances are you'll know exactly where that room is.

The Hotel Belsfield overlooks the town, sitting right opposite the piers where the cruises depart to various spots around Lake Windermere.

Originally built in the 19th century as a private residence for the Baroness von Sternberg, its distinctive design and cream frontage make it one of the area's most imposing buildings.

It became a hotel in 1892, but in recent years has been given a spectacular makeover, after being taken under the wing of one of the world's best-loved names in fashion and design.

When you think of Laura Ashley you might think of quintessentially English, chintzy furnishings that are - dare I say it, old fashioned? But, cannily, the brand saw hotels as a way to blow those preconceptions out of the water.

And what better way to showcase all of the quality and originality that are the hallmarks of the modern Laura Ashley than to acquire your own landmark hotel, and fit it out from top to toe in your products.

So everything at the Belsfield is Laura Ashley, all the furniture, fabrics, lighting and wallpaper - and they're all available for you to buy in the latest catalogue which you'll handily find a copy of in your room...

And the fact that everything comes from that same source gives a uniformity that runs through the entire building - the design of each public space, restaurant, lounge and bedroom feels like it's had great thought put into it, mixing the original Victorian Italianate architecture with more modern elements. Everywhere feels elegant and sophisticated, but with contemporary touches that make it feel warm and welcoming, and a million miles from the old reputation of overly-floral fussiness.

That means that each of the Belsfield's 62 bedrooms have that sense of elegance, while giving you all of the facilities and comfort levels that a 21st century guest would expect. If you find yourself in a suite with that breathtaking view, you'll struggle to pull yourself away to explore the rest of the building.

And the rest of the property is a delight. The sophistication runs throughout, with lots of little enclaves and lounge areas where you can curl up on giant sofas in front of a window or a fire and relax. …

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