Bowness on Windermere
Contemporary decor in the rooms in an old world guest house
I knew there was a preponderance of water in the Lake District but what I did not realise was that there were lakes in the middle of the road.
Ok, maybe not lakes but certainly ponds big enough to make driving into the resort of Bowness on Windermere the sort of journey to be undertaken in an amphibious vehicle rather than a Vauxhall Astra.
It was an unusually inclement time to visit – the North-West of England had been lashed by gales and rain for two days. By the time my partner, Sam, and I had emerged from the car with our luggage and walked five metres into the lobby, we were drenched.
We dumped our bags and donned the finest gear the North Face had to offer and, feeling a little like Scott and Oates, we walked the hundred yards to the shore to see the unparalelled views of England's largest lake and the surrounding hills. It was a very short outing. There was no view, just a lot of rain. We resigned ourself to an afternoon inside. Luckily, the Cranleigh was great for a wet afternoon. The staff were welcoming and an open fire roared in the lounge. Our suite, The Hideaway, was decorated luxuriously in contemporary boutique style and featured two massive flatscreen TVs and ceiling speakers which allowed you to play your iPod in any room.
And then there was the bathroom. Not only was there a massive spa pool with underwater lighting in various colours but when I got tired of the bubbles and the light show there was a built-in flatscreen TV. The showers (there are two of them) also have a light display – changing from blue to pink as they warm up.
I would have been content to spend a couple of days chilling in the bathroom, but the next day, fortified by breakfast, we ventured out for a two-hour walk which took us from the lakeside to a vantage point which featured views stretching from Morecambe Bay in one direction to the Pennines in the other. The pretty town of Bowness has plenty of cosy pubs and restaurants within a couple of minutes' walk of the hotel and on our return there was a huge library of DVDs to play on any one one of the massive flat-screen TVs.
Rates: Doubles from £99, Tel: 015394 43293