Luxury At Armathwaite Hall

I am always on the hunt to find luxury hotels that tick every box and I can honestly say hands down, that the Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa has surpassed this entirely! This stunning hotel on Bassenthwaite Lake has taken the number one spot as my favourite hotel in the Lake District, which is not an easy title to fill, but I'm going to tell you why....

Luxury stays...

Afternoon Tea (provided by Armathwaite)
Armathwaite Exterior 
The hospitality at this hotel is incredible. Five star luxury, with staff who go above and beyond, professional, helpful and above all, enthusiastic about what they do and their amazing hotel. Leeann greeted us and made us feel welcome from the moment we arrived.  This majestic building is in beautiful surroundings, in the peaceful area of Bassenthwaite and the attention to detail of the hotel and the rooms is incredible. The hotel offers a multitude of activities whilst you're here, which you will see below and the restaurant is a stunning, fine dining restaurant which boasts a magnificent view of the lake. It was a joy to watch the sun go down whilst overlooking these beautiful gardens.

The Room

This is the best hotel room I've ever stayed in: The Studio Suite. That's a big claim to make, but an honest one. I was blown away by our suite, the exquisite design, the colours and textures, it feels chic, modern, yet still maintaining an incredibly cosy and homely feel. Truly a masterpiece. The dark blues and shades of blue felt incredibly warm and soothing, the gold and marble accents, the huge king bed, the three televisions, yes three, and the dressing room, just made this suite an absolutely delightful place to be. If I could live here, I would - the design was pure perfection. Take a little tour below to see what makes this place such a joy (room tour is also available on my Instagram "Summer" highlights! @JenniferDurrans). The room was divided into four areas, which gave it a really apartment style and you immediately felt at home. The bathroom was modern, with a rainfall shower, large bath, marble galore and the cherry on top of the cake... a television over the bath! The room has great amenities, a great range of drinks from teas to hot chocolate, there are plenty of other amenities also such as an iron, good storage space, fridge, great lighting, lots of table surfaces - all the things that I know a lot of people look for in a hotel room. The dressing area was a particular favourite, so much space to put your clothes, shoes, accessories as well as do your make-up and hair in the morning.









TV whilst in the bath? Yes please!




Baby pink ottoman! [Bags gifted by Silvertag London]
The room we stayed in was room 152! The bed was comfy, a pillow menu was on offer but I was very happy to see that the pillows were a fabulous size, small and flatter which is my ideal pillow, not the huge pillows that often can give you neck ache - I was very impressed! Spacious yet cosy, stylish and divine!

The Lakeview Restaurant 

This fine dining restaurant, overlooking the lake is an incredibly affluent and luxurious dining room. A very regal experience, I love a hotel that has such high quality restaurants; it makes the experience even more pleasurable and the service was impeccable and the food was delicious. I opted for: the beetroot infused salmon for starters, the rosemary gnocchi for main and the strawberry pannacotta for dessert (coffee or tea was included) which I took full advantage of in the relaxing lounge next door. The main dinner has five courses and it is certainly filling! There are plenty of places to sit and wind down, whether it's in the regal seating area in the main lobby, the modern, cream sitting area, perfect for reading or afternoon tea, or you can sip your favourite tipple in the bar, which felt like a stylish New York City bar. The perfect place to wind down - moody and stylish. Five stars across the board, it's been a pleasure to experience!

Breakfast was table service, with a really good range, from full English to pancakes, Eggs Royale (my choice) and a continental buffet also. Service as always was incredible and a great start to the day!

Dinner views of the lake





Provided by Armathwaite 
Billiards room! So classy!


The Spa 

This chic spa was on my mind for the entire journey up to this hotel. There was so much to do, but my personal favourite was the outdoor thermal pool. It was refreshing but so comforting and relaxing, overlooking the green gardens beyond. The inside pool was perfect for swimming laps and a smaller pool for children. The thermal area was incredible - sauna, steam room, aroma room and a beautiful thermal hydrotherapy pool! The crystals inside the aroma and steam rooms were beautiful, added a touch of extra tranquility. You can click here to see what else the spa has to offer! I was also fortunate to be able to sample one of their 55 minute treatments, upstairs in their spacious and relaxing spa. Mood lighting and relaxing music set the ambience and I enjoyed a beautiful tension trio which included a back massage, neck and face massage (including cleanser) and a head massage. The room, which was illuminated in perfect purple, was the most incredible way to wind down and I highly recommend booking a treatment. Following this, my therapist led me into the relaxation area, where a smoothie, water and flapjack was waiting for me as I overlooked the trees outside, underneath my fur blanket. Really high quality spa, five stars undoubtedly and the therapists talk through any questions, medical and general queries; it's the best place to wind down, right in the middle of beautiful Cumbria.

Photos kindly provided by Armathwaite Hall.





Overview 

The hotel has other facilities which I was really impressed with. Despite this being a relatively old and regal building, the inside decor is diverse and modern, each room boasts a slightly different style so there is a place for everyone. The lounge was cream and airy, beautiful golds and creams decorated this incredible lounge, overlooking the lake, perfect for Afternoon Tea. The gardens would be lovely in both summer and winter, and now that autumn is starting to descend, the misty chill in the air made it very special. There is a path way towards the lake, and plenty of wildlife to enjoy whilst you're here.







Pretty exteriors and flowers!
Festive Season

Christmas is right around the corner and Armathwaite offer luxury Christmas getaways, a special three night break and New Year's break that is the perfect way to end the year. There is no better time to start thinking about Christmas and it's lovely to get away from the usual routine and really enjoy Christmas (without all the hard work!). There are always plenty of ideas and festivities at Armathwaite!

Please check this hotel out if you're up in the Lakes, it has everything to offer and I can imagine it will be even more tranquil as the colder months arrive. For more information on booking and offers, please click here! Thank you again to the lovely team for a wonderful stay...we will surely be back!

*I was a guest at Armathwaite but all views and opinions are my own. 

Rosa's Thai Cafe Trinity Leeds

Rosa's Thai Cafe in Trinity Leeds is the perfection location for a quiet and stylish spot for a traditional Thai delight. I was kindly invited along to try out everything they had to offer and it did not disappoint. Recently, I can say, Thai Food has become my new favourite cuisine and it's taken me thirty years to realise it! Having tried my first red curry only a few months ago, I've been hooked on Thai and I have now a place to pop on my list for some authentic cuisine.

Rosa's Thai Cafe Leeds

The staff are warm and friendly, and I opted for a refreshing ginger iced tea to begin with. Summer has been warm and muggy so far and it's been a welcomed refresher. For starters, I began with some delicious crispy prawns which were so good. Served with sweet chilli sauce, the batter was not greasy, not over or under done, but perfect and the shrimp were huge and meaty. Really impressed and it was delicious!

For the main event, I was really craving a savoury and aromatic curry and nothing hits the spot quite like a Thai Green Curry. It was the first time trying a green curry, as usually I would opt for a red curry but this sounded so good and it was well worth it. Sweet from the coconut milk but spicy from the chillies and it was a delicious combo. Not too spicy that it lingered for hours after, but it was just enough to give it a real kick! I ordered the tofu and vegetable curry (I'm a Pescatarian so this was perfect) and there were some classic veggies in too which was lovely. Rice is included with the curry in the price which I was highly impressed with - most restaurants do charge extra for rice so this is such a money saver if you're doing it as a lunch date! The service was fast and waiters attentive!







For dessert, I wanted to cool off a little with a refreshing mango sorbet and although it outfaced me (so full from all the Thai goodness), I really enjoyed it. Tasted incredibly fresh, with a little bit of an orange taste to it, really refreshing and the good thing is it wasn't icy, just smooth as many sorbets can tend to be a little too icy, this was very nice. I will definitely return to Rosa's, it's such a lovely informal place to hang out with friends or even colleagues and it has incredibly pretty decor! Book a table today - click here!

*I was invited to review this restaurant complimentary, but all opinions are my own



Gateway To The East: Rhodes

After spending four glorious days on this eastern Greek island, I can truly say that it feels like the gateway to the East. It's full of Turkish design and architecture, many old Ottoman mosques remain and it has the remnants of the empire throughout Rhodes old town, but with the hospitality and culture of the Greeks! I stayed at the Ibiscus Hotel in Rhodes Town, it was a little quick getaway with my favourite go-to Jet2Holidays and after trolling so many hotels, I decided upon a quiet, small city hotel which had a pool and also the vibes of the city without being too remote.




Art in Rhodes Town



Rhodes offers so much. The harbour is crammed full of tourists stands for boat rides, adventures, day trips, there is no way you can miss it and it makes it perfect for tourists who don't travel too often. Everything is at your fingertips. Take a day trip to Lindos (highly recommend although it is very busy through summer) and also I recommend looking at a day trip to Turkey with Tourtlee (make sure you get your e-visa online before you go if you're a UK national). If the water isn't for you, I'd recommend getting lost in the old town, everything is stone, rustic, a little reminiscent of Malta and has plenty of untouched streets, local cuisine and cafes. The Palace Of The Grand Master Of The Knights is in the main hub, you can't miss it when you're wandering through the old town, you'll find it is very busy but not too crammed and of course there is the Acropolis of Rhodes which is at the very highest point of the city, with panoramic views of the city. Good for walkers especially but not quite the spectacle that is the Acropolis of Athens. 


Mosques of Rhodes
Archeological Museum of Rhodes is another good spot for history lovers, and you'll also find art galleries in the town also. Food is very varied, you'll find a good mix of both Greek and western food, we even spotted a Starbucks (they're everywhere!) and there are lots of Italian pizzerias too, so I would not worry about cuisine in Greece. I think the fun part about travelling usually, are the memories that you bring home with you from a trip. The places you've seen, the people you've encountered and the historical information you've learned. Rhodes is nearby to the island of Kos also and if you wanted to island hop, Rhodes can accommodate you with their huge marina - there are boats that transfer you to many of the neighbouring islands.

Lindos

The ideal day trip, although the boat ride is long, it's worth it for the exhilarating sea breeze and many of the tours allow a swim stop. Ours stopped off at the incredible Anthony Quinn Bay, which was a refreshing (and very cold) stop for a dip but incredibly memorable. To do things that I would not have dared do before and conquering anxieties and fears feels wonderful; so to be able to say yes to new things really helped make the trip even more special. Lindos is down the eastern coast, a beautiful white village is awaiting and sandy beaches with warmer bays. It is idyllic and charming, albeit hilly and a little unstable under foot at points but the town itself is well maintained and flat once you reach it. It seems a popular hotspot for British tourists and many of the buildings are little villas which is the most beautiful place -I would love to go back. Take a look at their official tourist site for further information here


Lindos Village Greece

Lindos
Overall, this lovely island has plenty to offer and is an island I had never thought to explore, as many people opt for the picturesque Santorini, although parts of Lindos already have a feel of Santorini. There's plenty to explore in Greece - make sure Rhodes is on your list! It's a travel Blogger and Instagrammer's heaven! For more insight into the trip, check out my Vlog on the island! 

If you prefer villas, then see what Clickstay has to offer you for your next holiday villa in Greece!


*This Blog is not sponsored. Some links my be affiliate links.

Dakota Deluxe - Lunch Date

I am a huge fan of the Dakota Deluxe in Leeds. I was lucky to stay the night last year and was blown away by the style, hospitality and charm of this place. It’s quiet, cosy, dark and stylish, and I had to take advantage of checking out their new Market Menu for lunch. Brilliant for people wanting to dine in their lunch hour, you can have a three course meal in one hour with colleagues or friends, and sample some delightful culinary treats!



The menu was delightful; varied and well priced. Three courses for £20 is incredibly well priced for a city centre restaurant and this is a relaxing chilled zone that is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I brought my mum along for a little post birthday lunch, and we both were very impressed. We were served by the lovely Sofia who was attentive and welcoming. We received some bread with a tomato and goats cheese sauce which was such a different twist for a bread dish and really heated plain butter. I opted for the chicken samosa, lightly fried, with mint yogurt sauce. Delicious and not too filling for main. I chose a gnocchi main because I haven’t had it in so long and felt that I had to try it out here and it didn't disappoint. It was a lovely texture, complete with a delicate pesto sauce which was not too rich and sun blushed tomatoes for an extra zing. Very filling also! The dessert was a complete delight, it was a take on an eton mess but with mango! It was perfect for spring and although I am not alwyas a fan of meringue, this was so good, the cardamom cream made it really sweet and creamy and not sickly at all.











They offer a range of side orders too as you can see below from their menu and wines and coffees, which makes it fantastic choice for lunchtime diners. Dakota Deluxe pride themselves on brilliant customer service and also above the restaurant is a bar which is perfect for a drink afterwards. The menu was incredibly well thought through and each dish was incredibly fresh, tasty and attention to detail with the presentation which makes such a difference!

*This experience was gifted by Dakota Deluxe but all opinions are my own.

Falling In Love With Bratislava

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and the newest capital city in Europe. Formally part of Czechoslovakia, it has close ties with Czech Republic and you can see the influence of this in Bratislava but this city is definitely a quiet, off the map kind of town that's quiet, pretty and full of history. I had previously visited Vienna in the days before and there is only a forty mile difference between the two cities, so it made perfect sense to visit this gothic town. Despite feeling a little under the weather with lack of sleep, I had my trusty vitamins from Voost which I've been using to keep me a little perked up with energy and feeling ready to take on the day (my favourites are the multivitamins!) We arrived in the city at around 3pm and it already felt a calm and relaxing little city.

Bratislava has a very eastern european feel, which was incredibly exciting to me. It meant a little more culture to soak up, less of a cosmopolitan feel, which Vienna most certainly had, and it had so much history, but above all, it is the perfect place for a mini-break because it is a compact, clean and well oiled city, easy to get around and most things you can walk to. I was so impressed with the amount of bars and cafes in the old town, which is a maze of gothic colourful buildings, museums, and much more. If you're working away from home, there are amazing cafes with WiFi which are specifically for people who are working on laptops. Other cafes are perfect Instagrammable such as this Pink Garden Cafe in the old town. What a place! We also were kindly given Bratislava Cards which gave you free access to many museums and public transport and also percentages off your bill in certain restaurants which I thought was incredible! Always incredible for transfers is Welcome Pickups who I always use for holiday airport transfers, they are affordable and brilliant service.

The Pink Garden Cafe
To Stay & Eat 

There are plenty of hotels in Bratislava, from big chain hotels to smaller chains and of course apartment and rental options. For all my villa rentals worldwide, I love Clickstay villas. I stayed in the Radisson Carlton Blu hotel for a little treat but there are plenty of affordable places to stay. I had been wondering where to eat in Bratislava for some time, because I felt incredibly spoiled for choice. There must be so many cuisines in the city that I truly didn't know what to opt for. There is a huge Asian food community, with plenty of sushi restaurants which was a huge surprise but a welcome also! The places I ate at were:

D. Steakhouse - this is in the main square Hviezdoslavovo which was a very plush and expensive restaurant with the most incredible fresh fish and meat. It was a solid 4 stars and with a lovely view of the square!

Five Points - this is a little coffee shop that serves well priced food and plenty of good WiFi! This was really a lovely little spot in the old town and highly recommend!

Korzo Cafe & Restaurant - this was our first stop on the first day and we had some delicious Slovak soup which was incredibly watery with spinach dumplings (interesting taste!) and beef strips. It was a really laid back and stylish cafe! [10% off your meal with Bratislava card]

The Skybar - this is a must see for anyone wanting a beautiful city view and a cocktail! It was such a delicious stop off for a mid afternoon drink and the view as you can see is incredible.



What To See

The Castle is a must see of course it's at the top of the hill and boasts incredible city views. It also has so much history, this castle was built in the 9th century, and you can either jump on a city bus from the main square upto the castle [€12 per ticket] or a chaper option would be to walk to it, and along the way stop off at the incredible St Martin's Catholic Cathedral which is open to the public but closes for mass.








Here are some other places you should stop off at whilst you're in the city:

  • Blue Church of St Elizabeth
  • Man At Work 
  • Most SNP (the new bridge with a viewing platform at the top of the bridge!)
  • Michael's Gate 
Another place to stop off at which is free to get to and go inside with your Bratislava card is Devin Castle. It's a small suburb of the city in a quaint Slovakian village with beautiful countryside and on the border of Austria, you're also very close to the Danube and can walk along it and see it well from the top of the castle. Take the number 29 bus from the city centre to Devin and get off at any of the stops around the village, either at the castle itself or on the main country road for a little river walk and some fresh country air! 






For airport transfers around Europe I always use Welcome Pickups! Overall Bratislava was brilliant for a short break and with plenty of culture. It's easy to get to Vienna from here also either by train or car or boat! To watch my 48 Hours in Bratislava vlog, click below to see what I got upto! I always use Clickstay Villas for holiday villas.


*Some of our experiences were complimentary in collaboration with Bratislava Tourism Board.