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Damson Dene Hotel 3.0

Windermere, Lake District, Cumbria

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Gorgeous gardens with views of the English countryside
  • Quiet rural location, but still close to area attractions
  • Log fireplace in lobby; lounge with comfy couches 
  • Free Wi-Fi, coffeemakers, flat-screen TVs, and climate control in rooms
  • Free breakfast included with multiple choices; three-course dinner available
  • Fitness center with cardio machines, pulleys, and free weights
  • Available for weddings and other events
  • Free parking on-site
  • Pets allowed

Cons

  • Not all rooms have bathtubs (showers in all) 
  • No dedicated business center
  • Rooms are generally small with bland decor

Bottom Line

This charming mid-range boutique hotel in the Lake District is warm and welcoming, well-suited for an affordable rural escape. With traditionally manicured gardens and plenty of English countryside surrounding the property, the Damson Dene can be a destination by itself, though it’s also not far from Lake Windermere and the town center of Bowness-on-Windermere. Rooms are simple and clean with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, electric kettles, and bland decor. There’s also an on-site spa and gym with cardio machines and weights. Breakfast is included in room rates and the Heron View restaurant offers a lovely three-course prix-fixe dinner. 

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Scene

Friendly staff with unexpected quirkiness in decor 

The hotel was the subject of a reality show a few years ago called The Hotel, and the biggest reality guests will now encounter is that the staff still wishes to please, even with no cameras around. The vibe here is decidedly friendly and the grounds are beautifully landscaped with flowers, trees, a bridge, a gazebo, a pond, and lots of roaming ducks. The rolling countryside beyond also ensures that this is a quiet and relaxing escape. 

The exterior of the main building looks every bit the country cottage, with its white exterior, dark-wood shutters, and ivy-covered facade; the back of the hotel is heavily windowed to maximize garden views. The lobby is inviting with a large wood-burning fireplace set against a stone wall unusually decorated with replicas of antique guns, framed portraits of hounds, and a wooden broom. This is offset against a bright blue rug, and there are huge leather couches with velvet cushions where guests can recline while looking out on the gardens. The overall result is that the decor feels a tad eclectic and a bit tired, yet somehow still retains its charm.  

Completing the quirk, apparently the requisite Gideon Bibles in guest room were replaced by copies of 50 Shades of Grey...in case you have plans that extend beyond relaxation (or just want an entertaining read on your vacation). 

Location

Delightfully rural, with access to Lake District attractions

Map of Damson Dene Hotel

Tucked away in the Lyth Valley, this hotel is a great place from which to branch out to see other sections of the Lake District. Well positioned near Bowness-on-Windermere, Ambleside, and Kendal (all about a 10- to 20-minute drive away), the Damson Dene also offers walking trails from the property. The immediate area is quiet, with views of the Cumbrian countryside, and is close to Windermere Golf Club for those itching to spend some time on the renowned links. Other fun nearby attractions include the World of Beatrix Potter and Lakeside Windermere Ferry Landing.   

Rooms

Nothing special but clean and comfy

The 40 rooms here -- which vary from standard twin or double spaces to family suites -- are simple and clean with burgundy coverlets and pillows as well as bright blue carpets accenting comforter-covered beds and light wood furnishings. Seven of the rooms have four-poster beds with whirlpool tubs. (These are in the upgraded units, so try to snag one if you can.) The rest of the rooms all have twin- or full-sized beds and aren’t particularly spacious save for the three family-sized suites. Modern touches like flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi (which can be spotty), and electric water kettles bring the rooms up a notch, but they are basically plain and in need of a little TLC.

All bathrooms have showers, but some also have tubs, so ask if this is important to you. The spaces are small and spotless, outfitted in white. Heated towel racks are a welcome touch when facing the dank English climate, and toiletries are also on hand. 

Features

Free breakfast, dining with a view, and a full-service spa with fitness center

A stay at the Damson Dene includes an early breakfast buffet with a selection of hot and cold items. The hotel also has a lovely restaurant -- the Heron View -- that looks out onto the grounds and features local ingredients grown in nearby gardens. The venue is open for dinner only and the three-course prix fixe is its best option; making a reservation is recommended as locals and vacationers from other resorts come to dine there as well. Damson Tree bar is also a popular hangout for a drink and looks very much the classic English establishment with rich blue velvet booths, red carpets, and a sturdy wooden bar with many draft ales. 

The Damson Dene is open to weddings -- in fact, the whole hotel can be taken over depending on party size -- and the gardens make a gorgeous backdrop for such occasions. The "leisure centre," for which there is no extra charge, is very popular with guests and includes an indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, and steam room. There are also "beauty rooms" located off the pool where guests can book treatments ranging from massages to manicures. The spa includes a fitness center with several pieces of cardio equipment, free weights, and a few pulley machines. Both the spa and fitness center sell memberships for locals to use, with a special brides package available as well. 

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Address

Near Bowness On Windermere, Crosthwaite LA8 8JE, United Kingdom

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