Tag Archives: hotel review

Another Place on the Lake, Lake District, Ullswater

The brief hiatus between Christmas and New Year is often referred to as ‘Betwixtmas’, a a sparkly, magical sounding time deserving of its own fanciful characters and festive cheer. There should be soirees where everyone dresses in velvet and cocktails are served under heaving yet tasteful chandeliers. Frosty days should be spent yomping out into the countryside, spaniels in tow; at night the children will play together quietly while grown ups lounge beside the fire.

The reality is often a little different. Parties have been banned until at least the 31st; the closest you get to velvet is the soft and over-washed pair of PJ bottoms you haven’t stepped out of since Christmas night. The only festive characters are the ones left to repeat on the TV and the kids are both exhausted and riding high on the never ending supply of selection boxes. It’s a time to give in to the inevitable and shelve being presentable until 2019. You may as well just have that cheese plate as a second breakfast and be done with it.

Slovenly and indulgent as this is, surrendering to such a low bar does however have its downfalls: when you find you actually do have to step out into the fresh air, the watery wintry light can be cruel. The power of speech has left you, leaving a stream of baffled neighbours and shop assistants in your wake. You’re sporting 8 different nail varnishes from a 6 year old manicurist. You appear to have been dressed in the dark by a toddler. All of which is a challenge at the best of times; more so when you find yourself pulling up at the doors of a rather grand looking Lake District hotel.

Thankfully this particular hotel is both grand, and very understanding. Another Place does a fine line in understated grandeur – everything is beautifully presented, but your entirely encouraged to wander around in your bathrobe. It’s the perfect prescription for post-Christmas jitters: beautiful rooms with excellent beds and claw foot baths, a pool and sauna with lake and mountain views, kindly Northern massage therapists to work away knots left by passively demanding relatives. Children are welcomed with board games and cleverly secreted away bean bags and games consoles under the stairs; at night the lounge becomes an indulgent adults-only space with roaring fires and smart waiters who bring warmed bottles of red to your spot on the sofa.

There are also food options for every taste. For those still game for a three course dinner, the fine dining restaurant awaits. Those of us open to the idea that not all festive meals need the calorie content for an Arctic expedition can opt for dinner in the bar instead (even more excellently, dogs are welcome here too). And it’s worthwhile leaving some room – back in the dining room, breakfast is as good as the rest of the rest of the stay would suggest. It is “DIY”, but in the most refined sense: a row of waffle makers, freshly cooked local sausages, bacon and eggs, artisanal breads and freshly made mueslis and juices encourage multiple courses. Pink-shirted staff take coffee orders and there’s a happily relaxed conviviality amongst the varied clientele, with toddlers still in their onesies tucking into giant plates of eggs on toast as hikers fuel up for a days’ hike in the hills, the rest of us happy to sink into the freshly delivered papers and – go on – just one more round of toast.

Price: rooms from £180 (breakfast included).

Leave a comment

Filed under B&B

JK Regency Hotel, Mumbai, India

Finding yourself stranded at Mumbai airport at 1am – having discovered that the taxi and hotel room you booked are no longer available to you – is not the most auspicious way to start a solo trip around the south of India. A fat, nicotine-coloured moon made little impact on a fog-strewn night as I stood, pale and sweating, in the car park with a look of “what now?” on my face. All guide books, locals and airport staff will advise you not to get a taxi that you haven’t booked, and certainly not taken to an unknown hotel in the centre of the city’s Northern district without someone knowing where you’re going. Which was, of course, exactly what I did. While my taxi driver enquired after my boyfriend (and I hastily made up a false engagement and a Thor-like countenance), he weaved the car through impossibly narrow streets past the slums that circle the runways. It was a truly filmic sight, with stray dogs slinking around piles of garbage and men hauling Hindu icons from a covered van into a darkened building.

Eventually we reached the rather grandly named JK Regency Hotel, though I soon discovered the only lordly aspect was the price. My room was above the restaurant and imbibed with an aroma of old cooking oil, the sheets displayed evidence of previous guests and the bathroom hosted a family of mosquitos under a dripping, broken shower head. In such surroundings it wasn’t hard to make an early start to the day, though not – of course – without breakfast. Wary of being too adventurous I ordered toast with jam and a masala tea. Which was, in fairness, what I got. The tea was hot but peppered with floating miscellany, and in a feat of culinary genius the toast was solid and dry with a distinctive methane after taste. An inauspicious start indeed, but one that would make me very grateful for the culinary delights that were to come.

Price: too much. Breakfast not included (or recommended).


Leave a comment

Filed under Intrepid Breakfasts