The Belsfield combines sumptuous decors with views of Lake Windermere
The Belsfield combines sumptuous decors with views of Lake Windermere

The Belsfield hotel review: Where Laura Ashley interiors meet Lake District views

After securing World Heritage Site status, the Lake District is more appealing than ever – and a stay at the Laura Ashley designed Belsfield means the views are unbeatable, inside and out

Olivia Blair
Wednesday 13 September 2017 11:44
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It is impossible to stay at The Belsfield Hotel and not immediately start designing interiors for your imaginary dream house.

More than one taxi driver informed us that the hotel didn’t used to be all that, but after Laura Ashley acquired it in 2014 and implemented a drastic refurbishment, the move from bleak to chic has been swift and dramatic.

Being owned by Laura Ashley means, of course, that the interior design is impeccable – and the exterior isn’t too shabby either, with the property set on a lush green hill overlooking the largest body of water in the Lake District: Lake Windermere.

The panoramic views of the lake from the hotel are even better if you’re lucky enough, as we were, to catch the English weather on a good day. Set in a glass conservatory with the two welcome desks placed at either side of the space so as not to intrude, even the Belsfield’s reception does its utmost to cater to this unique view.

Location

The hotel is a five-minute stroll into Bowness-on-Windermere, the small town which is the central hub of the Lake District. Cute shops, restaurants and pubs abound, as well as the World of Beatrix Potter attraction. A half-hour stroll or five-minute drive brings you to Windermere itself, where there’s a train station with a regular service to Preston and Oxenholme Lake District, from where you can change for trains into London.

The Belsfield has an enviable position on the lake

The location means guests are a stone’s throw from the lake, with all manner of outdoor activities to entertain – we ended up spending the day on a Lakeside cruise, soaking in the sun, before docking back at Lake Windermere, from where we skipped back to our straight-out-of-a-catalogue room in minutes.

Comfort

The decors of all 62 bedrooms are, unsurprisingly, designed by Laura Ashley – from the silvery velvet sofa to the large square mirror – and as such are all abiout the richly-textured, understated yet luxurious soft furnishings.

The quality of the food is a definite selling point too, served in the main restaurant, which is strategically placed so guests can gaze out over the lake while dining. A five course a la carte menu is served; I’d recommend the scallops to start, while either the beef or blackened garlic arancini with artichoke make for an admirable main course.

Interiors are wall-to-wall Laura Ashley throughout

Breakfast is a premium buffet, with the additional option of poached eggs, pancakes and more made to order from the chef. Unfortunately, what the hotel boasts in quality of food and decor it lacks in service. Not because of the attitude or enthusiasm of employees, but owing to what appeared to be an incredibly short-staffed waiting team. Breakfast is only available for two hours at the weekend, which already jam packs everyone together, and a 10-person queue to be seated for a buffet breakfast did somewhat spoil the vibe of the plush interiors and chilled lakeside feel.

Outside the breakfast room, however, staff excelled; the friendly receptionist, Monty, took us through the main attractions of the town, which he knew inside out, advising us on pubs, restaurants and how to spend the day. Which, given our surroundings, was quite a tough decision.

Essentials

Laura Ashley The Belsfield, Kendal Road, Bowness- on-Windermere, LA23 3EL

015394 42448; lauraashleyhotels.com/thebelsfield

Doubles from £189, B&B.

Wifi: free

Pets: not allowed

Parking: free

Accessibility: several ground floor bedrooms, one of which is designed for disabled access with a large wet room.

Rooms: *****

Service: ***

Value: ****

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