It’s not often we get a brand new hotel in Grasmere, far less one right on the shores of Grasmere. I had written before about the trials and tribulations of the old Prince of Wales/Waterside Hotel in a previous post “Prince of Wales Hotel, Then and Now”. Lots of people had commented on the blog. They were people who had memories of the history of the old Hotel, people who had worked there, people who had stayed there, and lots of people commenting on their worries of what the Hotel would become.
Well, a new chapter begins here. The Hotel opened on the 26th July 2012 under a new name. The Daffodil Hotel.
At first glance it is obvious that a lot of work needs to be done on the grounds surrounding the hotel, after all it has been a building site for quite some while. However it’s not difficult to visualise what it will become.
While the outside might still need a bit of work, the interior is more than finished. Talk about a room with a view!
It must be one of the most stunning settings for a hotel you could imagine. And what about a room with a balcony overlooking the lake. Yes you can have that too.
There is talk of having lots of natural flowers in the gardens, bluebells, daffodils, just imagine how nice that will look.
Anyway, let’s wander down the hall and see what else we can find. I say wander, but it’s easy to become distracted by the wonderfully quirky limited edition prints hanging there. Worth a look in themselves. Being female I couldn’t help being impressed by the Molton Brown goodies in the bedrooms, and guess what, there is even a Molton Brown room you can stay in, just take a look at this shower.
You don’t need to worry that the character of the hotel has been lost though. There were still plenty of sympathetically restored areas of the original hotel.
Lots of variety in the rooms, some were suites, some had amazingly large baths and bathrooms, it would be hard to pick a favourite.
Lovely little touches like echoing the pattern of the beautiful carpets, on the wardrobes. But I still had to see the bit I was most excited about. The Spa. And what a spa.
To quote a famous retailer ” This is not just a spa, this is a Daffodil Hotel spa”. Not a swimming pool, but lots of different experiences in each area. Talk about relaxing. And as if that wasn’t enough, what about the very large steam room.
Now to have a look at the dining room and bar area. Well this table will do me just fine.
By now I was just about ready to book in, what a shame I live so near. Free Wifi everywhere too. I also had a quick peek in the two reception rooms, and to all the folk who thought the past had been forgotten, one was called the Waterside room, and one The Prince of Wales. Guess which this is.
By now the sun was trying to come out, and as I was going outside I had a little laugh to myself that one kind guest had obviously decided not to dirty the carpet!
There are views from every direction in the grounds. How about this view of Helm Crag.
So there you have it. A new chapter in an old hotel. All that’s left to say is “Cheers” and all the best to the new owners on their exciting venture.
A few weeks ago we had a little taste of what Summer should be like in Grasmere.
A certain family member had been wanting to go out on a rowing boat on Grasmere for ages and I had kept saying it was too cold.
Trust me to land myself without an excuse when I woke to the most beautiful sunny morning and went into the kitchen announcing “isn’t it warm today”. That was it, rowing boat day had arrived!
To be honest I had a reason to go out on the lake myself, but once it was agreed that I was taking photos and not rowing I really started enjoying myself.
It was a stunning day weather wise and still early so not many folk about.
We headed out to the Island in the centre of the mere. This got me thinking as we got nearer and nearer, how much it had got overgrown. I can’t remember the last time I saw the farmer taking sheep across to graze on a rowing boat. It used to be a regular occurrence. It was also common for flocks of sheep to be brought down Stock Lane in the centre of the village. Quite often the cry of “sheep!” prompted us to run and close our shop doors, in case they decided to pay a visit. I never had sheep in the shop but I did once have a flock tramp through the house when someone who shall remain nameless left the front gate and front door open!. A very “sheepish” (sorry couldn’t resist that) farmer appeared at the door with a box of chocolates to apologise.
A few more lake users were appearing so we headed over to have a look at the new Waterside Hotel. Formerly the Prince of Wales it is due to open this Summer.
I had been desperate to see what it looked like from the water, and this was the perfect view.
It was good to see what was happening from a different angle.
There will be some lovely views from these windows. Time was moving on so we went round by the Waterside Boathouse and rowed to the top of the lake.
It was a quick row to the top of the lake, and by now the sun was really shining.
Walkers were appearing on the walk round the shore.
The views are stunning in every direction from the lake, it really is the most perfect place to take in the surroundings.
It looked as though lots of people were starting to get the same idea as us, and more boats were appearing as we headed back to Faeryland where we had started from.
Nesting on the bank just before we got back to the landing stage were some swans, we just had time to watch them enjoying the sun.
Then just before we docked we spotted a Heron in the shallows.
Feeling guilty that I hadn’t done a single bit of rowing, I felt it only right to offer refreshments. A pot of Faeryland’s own blend tea.
So a perfect sunny day in Grasmere. No need to open an umbrella. Well not for the usual reasons anyway!
Working in Grasmere you get used to the usual questions. “Where is the gingerbread shop”, “Where are the toilets”, however over the past year a new question has joined them “What on earth has happened to the Prince of Wales?”.
Built in 1855 and occupying an enviable position with frontage to the Grasmere Lake, Browns Lake Hotel was built as a testimony to the 19th Century tourist industry that Wordsworth did so much to inspire.
The hotel was built by Levi Hodgson who was resposable for building other impressive buildings still standing in Grasmere. Cragside, The Hollins, and Woodland Crag were all built by him and if you look at the church bridge you can see his initials there as he was responsible for widening it in 1832.
Not long after the hotel was built they had a Royal visitor Edward V11, The Prince of Wales , there was great excitment and Moses Bowness the photographer photographed the young prince on his visit in 1857. Edward Brown the owner of the hotel then changed the name to The Prince of Wales Hotel.
The name Prince of Wales remained until fairly recent times when it had a brief change to the Thistle Grasmere, followed by The Waterside Hotel. The Town End area of Grasmere where the hotel is situated was made a conservation area in 1984.
And now we jump to recent times. Having been sold, plans were submitted to improve the hotel.
The original plans, doubled the existing floor space and immediately there were protests. The Waterside Action Group was set up and even Rolf Harris and Sir Melvyn Bragg got involved. Lakes Parish Council, The Victorian Society, Friends of The Lake District and Grasmere Village Society put forward their arguments against the plans, saying it would dominate Grasmere Lake in an overbearing manner.
Eventually after three attempts the plans were passed on the premise that “All the bulk of the original building will be left intact”.
Apart from knocking through the hotel and leaving this fine Victorian building to the elements work seemed to have stopped. What a couple of years ago looked like being a beautiful 5 star hotel according to the plans has been left to rot.
Recent events have seen the death of one of the owners and I am afraid that Tony Ball hit the nail on the head right at the beginning when he said “This has all the makings of a Trojan Horse”.
Now we have an eyesore as the entrance to our beautiful village as the first thing people see. Situated directly opposite Dove Cottage and the hoardings dominating the landscape. It used to be the main stop for coaches travelling through to Scotland to spend the night. We always knew at about 5pm there would be a sudden flurry of customers who had just checked into “The Prince” and usually remained open until late to serve them. Reekies weavers used to visit the hotel with their wares to sell in the evening. It has taken the buzz away and has impacted on many of the businesses. Will we ever get the coaches back? who knows. We used to always blame any mischief in the village on “the staff from the Prince” and I would give anything to have them back.
Let’s hope that some day this symbol of early tourism in the Lake District is transformed back to her former glory and a new chapter begins for The Prince of Wales, Grasmere.
Update 9th April 2011
Well work has started and to keep everyone up to date here are a few recent photos.
I do have a habit of calling the hotel the Prince of Wales, but believe the name The Waterside Hotel is what will be retained.
As you can see things are actually moving, but there is still a long way to go.
I will keep posting photos as the work progresses, let’s hope we are soon seeing a big improvement.
Watch this space….
Update 2nd August 2011
Good news. Real progress is finally being made. First the tatty hoarding round the development was spruced up with a coat of paint so that it wasn’t such an eyesore and work now seems to be progressing quickly.
You can see the shape of the old hotel appearing at the front elevation.
Apparently the opening date is being kept a secret.
Good News! 26/07/2012 The Hotel is now open under the new name of The Daffodil. See new blog post. The Daffodil Hotel Grasmere A new Beginning.