As hotels go, The Ro manages something quite rare: it feels both steeped in history, and yet simultaneously very, very new.
That’s just what happens when one of the oldest hotels in the Lake District gets a multi-million pound facelift, with a top-to-bottom refurb thrown in. Back when it was first built in 1881, it was called the Hydro Hotel, to show off its newfangled hydrotherapies. Now, it’s got a fancy new look, and slimmed down name to match: The Hydro have become simply The Ro. The only clues as to its heritage are the beautiful plaster mouldings, the old photos lining the walls of the main corridor, and the old fashioned character of the layout – there’s a sun room. It’s wonderful.
You’ll find it on one of the tallest (and steepest) hills in Windemere where it overlooks the lake in all its glory. It’s a tough climb to get up there, but worth it for the view alone. That’s just part of the Lake District’s charm – everywhere you glance seems to look like a watercolour painting. Breeze past the terrace laid out in front of the cocktail bar, and you’ll find yourself in reception, where a welcoming member of staff will help you check in. The rooms have all benefitted from that facelift, with all the luxuries you’ll expect – flatscreens, WiFi, etc. – plus a couple you might not, such as a view over the largest lake in England, or a private balcony.
Head down to the restaurant, Lacu, and you’ll find a hot buffet at breakfast, Huervos Rancheros for lunch, Lancashire cheese on sourdough rolls for lunch, pastry tartlets, cakes, scones & macaroons for Afternoon Tea, and that’s all before the main event: dinner. There, you can expect ribeye steaks, slow-cooked pork belly, braised Cumbrian lamb shank, cumin-marinaded cauliflower steaks, and a whole lot more, all served up in a stylish space.
And, of course, you’ll be in Windememre. That means you can check out the many things the town has to offer, starting with The World of Beatrix Potter (which, as it happens, is literally at the base of the hill that The Ro sit on top of), which is located there thanks to the fact that Beatrix Potter herself lived nearby, in a small cottage where she helped to found The National Trust. And yes, The National Trust have kept the cottage open for visitors. It’s called Hill Top, and it’s across the lake. Well worth a visit. Then there are the castles, walks, grand mansions, excellent museums (try The Jetty Museum, it’s a must), pubs, restaurants, and literary inspirations from William Wordsworth, Swallows & Amazons, and a lot more.
And you’ll struggle to find a better base to explore it all from than The Ro.
NOTE: The Ro is open now, year-round. You can find out more, and book a room at their website right here.
The Ro | Helm Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3BA
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