Jun 09

Beech Hill Hotel on Lake Windermere – the epitome of quirky!

by in Accommodation

It was the quacking that woke me up … and pulling back the curtains I found a handful of ducks chuntering around on the grass outside the bedroom.  Looking up, it was the view that really caught my attention. Lake Windermere spread out her long arms to embrace flirty yachts, wooded banks and distant fells.

Lake Windermere

I’d arrived the previous afternoon and had plenty of time to look round the hotel.  It is so wonderfully quirky … in every room, in every corner, hidden in a little nook, are the most wonderful treasures. Coming in through the main entrance, your eye is immediately drawn to a large wooden sculpture of two glowing deer that seem to be anticipating your arrival.

Deer sculpture

A glint from above and there’s the most magnificent Venetian chandelier; Murano glass glitters with fruit drops that look good enough to eat. This huge piece was apparently shipped over piece by piece by the owner who fell in love with it in Venice and had to have it for this hotel.  It is so unexpected and that is what makes this hotel really special …

Venetian Chandelier

People often ask me what Quirky Travel is all about; well this place sums it up. It’s friendly, personal, full of unusual pieces, great location, excellent service, comfortable and unpretentious, satisfies the senses and has an inspirational quotient that is hard to put into words.  Areas of the hotel have been beautifully redecorated … others have an appealing ‘shabby chic’ look that may well be gone in the next phase of modernisation.  Some other things that caught my eye during my stay:

  • a huge urn that would have looked at home in an ancient Roman Villa
  • a tiny Japanese figure incongruously placed in an enormous fireplace
  • a life-size statue holding a lamp with definite Baroque overtones
  • an ornately carved wooden chair that should have been in a baronial hall

… and so much more.  Jonathan Allan, the friendly and very helpful General Manager, joined me in the Griffin Bar (dedicated to a local writer called Harry Griffin) and shared some wonderful tales of the owner’s mother, Ann Richardson, who had indulged her passion for the unusual and sometimes plain bonkers artefacts.  She has bestowed this place with a legacy that ensures it stands out amongst the very many quality establishments in the Lake District with an air of decorous quirkiness …

The Griffin Bar

 

I’d been invited to one of Beech Hill’s well-known Gourmet & Wine Tasting Nights – and what a fabulous evening it was.  We were greeted with dainty canapes and champagne, then led to our table in the main restaurant where Paul Collins, a Sommellier from the hotel’s wine merchants, kept us entertained with tasting notes on each wine.  The food was excellent and the drinks beautifully complemented the food.   I was VERY glad I was staying overnight and could enjoy it all and not worry about driving home.

Gourmet night canapes

After breakfast the next morning I sat in one of the huge sofas as the Royal Windermere Yacht Club put on a great display of racing in front of the huge verandah.  It was so relaxing I didn’t really want to move … but I’d arranged to meet Jonathan to have a look at the newest addition to the hotel; High Biggin Luxury Holiday Home.  This used to be quirky Mrs Richardson’s home and it’s been beautifully renovated to the highest spec. The views are wonderful and again the unusual touches abound – Venetian masks hanging from mirrors, huge paintings and a little verandah for sunset cocktails … plus a piano just waiting for someone to release their inner Chopin.

High Biggin

Many thanks to the quirkilicious Beech Hill Hotel for a delightful weekend – I look forward to my next visit :-)

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14 Responses to “Beech Hill Hotel on Lake Windermere – the epitome of quirky!”

  1. From Fraser Richardson:

    Dear Zoe

    Just wanted to thank you for such a lovely piece on how quirky our hotel is, it is so true to say that it was my mum’s unique touches that made it quirky! Every time I visit it reminds me so much of her and how much I miss her feisty attitude to life.

    All the best
    Fraser

    Posted on June 10, 2011 at 10:00 am #
  2. From Shelagh Scott:

    Hi loved the post on the hotel . I used to swim here some twenty or so years ago as the hotel was the nearest place with a nice pool to where I stayed for a few summers. Fond memories of swimming each morning and then sunbathing on the lawns at the back – and the staff getting to know me and letting me go free of charge and even bringing me coffee too! Happy Days ! I am tempted by your post to make a return visit . Would be great to stay . Such a fab place. Thank you !!

    Posted on June 10, 2011 at 10:04 am #
  3. From Jonathan Allan:

    Dear Zoe

    I loved your piece on the hotel! I think you’ve really managed to capture what makes the Beech Hill so wonderful, and of course that bit “different”.
    As you know I worked for Ann Richardson for many years and she really is the inspiration behind what we do.
    I’m thrilled you enjoyed the food (and wine!) at our gourmet night, it was a fsntasic evening and it was lovely to meet you and chat about old times! As I said to you during your stay with us, your welcome any time, I hope you can join us for one of our future events.

    Many thanks

    Jonathan

    Posted on June 10, 2011 at 10:54 am #
  4. From Barry:

    It looks lovely. I must stay there sometime. Especially like the sound of the wine tasting.

    Posted on June 11, 2011 at 9:48 am #
  5. From Zoë Dawes:

    Great to see the response to this quirkilicious hotel. It’s great to be able to share this Lake District gem with others and hope that lots of people try it out for themselves…

    Posted on June 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm #
  6. From Elspeth Wrigley:

    How wonderful to wake up to the sound of ducks, they are so funny, this really is Beatrix Potter country. It sounds as though Beech Hill is quite a find, as I love hotels with a stamp of individuality!

    Now I just need to find an excuse to book a visit there…..

    Posted on June 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm #
  7. From Keith Williams:

    I have stayed in the Beech Hill many times although alas not in recent years and it is one of the real gems of the Lake District.

    The decor and style in the hotel is endearing, with a touch of eccentricity; but the sheer delight of the hotel is its location. The stunning views over Windermere and the mountains beyond are magical and dining whilst watching the sun go down and small sailing boats gently returning to their berth is an experience not to be missed.

    A lake view room is a must, if only to lie in bed and watch the tranquility of the lake and and the ducks going about their business.

    Happy memories, thanks for reminding me of this wonderful hotel.

    Posted on June 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm #
  8. From Zoë Dawes:

    That phrase, Elspeth, stamp of individuality, is a great way to sum up this hotel. So many hotels are losing that aspect as they create a ‘look’ rather than letting it evolve to reflect the owner’s personality… tho I guess it does depend on that personaility ;-)

    Posted on June 13, 2011 at 8:33 am #
  9. From Zoë Dawes:

    Delighted to bring back memories for you Keith. I’m sure you would get a warm welcome should you return.

    Posted on June 13, 2011 at 8:35 am #
  10. From Allison:

    What a fabulously quirky place! The picture you have painted of it makes me want to hop in a plane and cross the pond this minute. And I would LOVE a chandeliere like that, but I’m very doubtful that it would fit in the 15 foot travel trailer my husband and I are planning on touring North America in come Monday.

    I just discovered your wonderful and quirky site and look forward to visiting often.

    Posted on June 29, 2011 at 8:44 pm #
  11. From Zoë Dawes:

    Thanks Alison – hope you enjoyed your trip!

    Posted on May 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm #
  12. From Ian Bell:

    Hi. I am trying to track the person who use to own the hotel in the 40′s, 50′s or 60′s possibly. My grandfathers first daughter possibly owned it and we are trying to trace the family. If anyone knows any information that would be fab

    Posted on February 7, 2013 at 2:04 am #
  13. From Zoë Dawes:

    Hi Ian – I believe it was owned by the current owner’s mother but not sure. I assume you have already contacted the hotel? It is still in the same family and many of the objects were collected by that flamboyantly eccentric lady!

    Posted on February 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

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