I have visited the Lake District off and on over the last 40 years. Mind you it’s been more off than on, simply because of the weather…suffice to say during any of my sojourns it has been simply bucketing down. However, for the odd few minutes when the rain has stopped, it has looked heart-stoppingly beautiful and I longed to explore. By the time I’d got the wellies and the waterproofs on…the skies once again opened. Did Wordsworth ever write about the rain? And did it infiltrate the works of Miss Potter? Can’t say I can recall any descriptions.
Anyway…I no longer care about the weather having just spent a blissful two days in a Spa Suite at the Gilpin Hotel. Just bring on the rain while I watch through a wall of glass how it changes the light, the shades and the shapes of the trees and shrubs and flowers. Am I bothered? Not a bit…because I don’t need to leave my luxury cocoon as the spa comes to me. Inside this suite of light and space…as well as the spectacular views, are my own private steam room and sauna plus my own therapist, who arrives with all the unguents and skills I need.
Okay, if I weren’t so greedy I could have my food brought too…but, for what is on offer, I am prepared to forego my robe and clothe myself to scoff and savour what is available in the two restaurants. (Oh, and did I mention the cocktails? An historic dry martini)
The main restaurant, the Michelin starred newly re-named Hrishi, delivers local produce in classic traditional style with a surprise – a twist of Asian elegance. While the more informal, Gilpin Spice offers an enticing choice of Indian, Chinese and Asian tastes. And while the food excites, the restaurant alone will feed your soul… I would nearly leave my Spa Suite if they would allow me to live in the Chinese section, a sexy take on an opium den.
If there’s any problem about a break at the Gilpin Hotel it is just that I could eat so much more, enjoy even more massages…if the rain would stop and I could work up an appetite.
And then there is the spa itself, a tiny little cottage at Gilpin Lake House, a mere couple of miles from the main hotel – easy walk in galoshes…better in a 4X4…with magical views over its own little lake – Knipe Tarn…should you desire a change of rain splashed scenery. While the relaxation area in the old BoatHouse is a perfect lovenest…and wild swimming could take on a whole new attraction in that brief moment when the sun comes out.
The answer, I suppose, is to return…and return…and return…hoping to catch a cloudless day…or perhaps just the one lonely cloud…