Revamped £4m Lake District hotel is a hit with guests

A luxury hotel is receiving rave reviews after opening its doors in Cumbria, following a £4million renovation project.

The Forest Side in Grasmere is the third luxury hotel in Andrew Wildsmith’s portfolio and is already winning awards after just four months of being open.

The Grade II listed hotel has been given a new lease of life following the two-year-long project, managed by Harrison Pitt Architects, which involved restoring and conserving the building’s original features.

The hotel’s 20 bedrooms feature bespoke beds designed exclusively for Wildsmith Hotels, made with more than 10,000 springs and its carpets are made using the wool from Herdwick sheep – the entire order for the carpets totalled more than 2,000 fleeces.

Complete with a lounge, bar and restaurant headed up by award-winning South Cumbrian chef Kevin Tickle, Andrew describes the hotel as having ‘Cumbrian luxury’.

Andrew, who also runs The Ryebeck in Bowness and Hipping Hall in Kirkby Lonsdale, said: “The response to The Forest Side has been great, we have had a lot of positive feedback from guests and we have had some great reviews in the national press.

“Location was the key thing for me, I wanted something right in the centre of the Lake District. Grasmere has got everything you could want from this part of the world. We wanted to do something a bit different – for example, we have a big vegetable garden which allows us to grow our own vegetables, which is really wonderful.
“We wanted to do something which impresses people and that can be hard to do sometimes but we have already had guests booking their second stays. Our staff play a huge part in that too, we endeavour to employ good people who deliver excellent customer service.”

The hotel’s restaurant recently won Britain’s ‘best kept secret’ at Tatler’s annual restaurant awards.

Kendal-based accountancy and business advisory firm Moore and Smalley advised and supported Andrew on the project, including support on capital allowances and implementing accounting software QuickBooks.

Colin Johnson, partner at Moore and Smalley, said: “We have acted for the Wildsmith family for more than 30 years, supporting them on various projects. Throughout this renovation project we have seen the transformation of the hotel from a rundown, unloved building, to a must visit hotel for people coming to the Lake District.

“We are thrilled to see the hotel has got off to such a wonderful start, it is the perfect addition to Andrew’s hotel portfolio.”