Just occasionally, whether by luck or judgement, you can arrive somewhere that tells you to congratulate yourself on your choice of hotel before you even step through the door: The Gilpin is one of these happy places.
John Cunliffe's grandmother lived in this Edwardian house near Windermere for 40 years, and when he and his wife Christine came 25 years later, it had become a rather ordinary B&B. Now, with manicured grounds and gleaming paint, quite substantially and wholly sympathetically enlarged and set on a peaceful hillside with moor beyond the boundary, you are to some extent prepared for the warm welcome and deep-pile comfort waiting for you inside.
This is a highly professional and well-staffed Lake District hotel, yet still driven by the enthusiasm of owners whose unmistakeable priority is the happiness of their guests. There are no weddings, conferences or children under seven to disturb the peace. If your tastes run to good pictures, fine furniture and immaculate service you will be happy; if they include excellent and imaginatively presented food with more than the occasional touch of outright luxury (The Gilpin holds a Michelin star) you will be happier still; and if you want a large, thoughtfully decorated room, probably with its own sitting room, and a bathroom to talk about when you get home, then you're in luck.
Travel down a quiet country lane to find the nearby Lake House: a collection of six suites set on a four-acre private lake with boat-house, sauna, indoor swimming pool, and outdoor cedarwood hot tub. The Lake House is also available for exclusive use.