Another Place (Smith Hotels)
If you are looking for a relaxing mini break in the UK I cannot think of a better location! I had heard stories about Another Place’s allure but it is only when you catch the fast train from Euston and arrive in Penrith within three hours that you can fully understand the attraction. The hotel is a quick 15 minute taxi ride from the station and on arrival you are instantly transported to another world. At the time of my visit I was looking for some calm and this stay could not have come at a better time as the hotel prides itself on creating a tranquil environment. There are 40 rooms of various prices with many overlooking Ullswater Lake. The lake spans 9 miles long and creates a dramatic view with hills and forest in the background. In an instant, you are at one with nature!
The residence itself has a wonderful laidback feel with contemporary interiors that work with the building’s original Georgian features. The staff are incredibly friendly and are quick to make you aware of the day’s activities. We stayed in a family room overlooking the lake which had it’s own balcony perfect for an afternoon tea. The rooms were simple with dark furnishings and a four poster bed. I wasn’t keen on the striking modern art work that was exhibiting in the room and hallways but it felt cosy. The bathroom had a free-standing bath which is always a treat to dive into. Probably my favourite feature was the view and the little fridge stuffed with chocolate marshmallows.
For meals, there are two good options; The Living Space and The Rampsbeck. We ate both dinners in The Living Space as it had a relaxed ambiance with simple pub gastro fare. Expect battered cod with chips and tartar sauce and homemade fish pie. They also offer an excellent wine list and the staff are knowledgeable about food pairings. The Rampsbeck hosts breakfast every morning and they pull out all the stops. Breakfast is the way to my heart and they completely nail it here including waffles, bircher muesli and a decent English Breakfast. The chef works hard to source from local producers and they are at an advantage with ample farms to choose from. The Rampsbeck is also open for dinner with a smarter menu but I preferred the more chilled vibe in The Living Room where it was less fussy. There is a small bar in The Living Room and I recommend ordering one of their signature spritz with fresh rosemary. It was incredible weather on our visit and a walk around the garden with a sundowner was essential.
This brings me back to the hotel’s best feature; the garden. The grounds are vast and you can get lost in a good book without anyone disturbing you. They can lend you a blanket and if you need some reading material the beautiful mirrored library has ample choice. I think one of the reasons you feel restful in this setting is because the guests are spread out over the property. You can spend hours without seeing anyone despite it being fully booked. This is definitely the advantage of being so far away from London and spending time in this setting does wonders for the soul. The lake is surrounded by 18 acres of gardens and extensive national parkland so you can grab a map from reception and hit the trails. I highly recommend walking to a local pub for lunch or an adventure hike through numerous sheep fields. It is a joy to explore this unspoilt countryside and you don’t have to jump on a plane to appreciate it.
The pièce de résistence has to be Ullswater Lake which offers kayaking, wild swimming and paddle boarding. I only found time for the wild swimming and hit the freezing cold waters before breakfast both mornings. I cannot explain how liberating it was to go for a dip in these stunning surroundings and although it is a shock to the system, your whole body is buzzing from the experience. Another Place also has a sleek indoor pool and spa in case you want some cosy downtime but I think it’s outdoor activities are what makes it so special. You can always create a pool and spa but the lake and the peaceful tranquility that it brings is immeasurable. I went in June but I would go back anytime of the year, even if to drink hot chocolate by the fire and look at the water. I don’t think that there is “another place” quite like it and in this stressful busy world, properties like this are becoming more and more in demand!