Leonardo DiCaprio and I are at the cinema. He is playing Howard Hughes, the intrepid aviation and movie magnate, viewing the rushes of his film Hell’s Angels that is in financial freefall. I am me, watching Leo watching the film. Howard is joined only by his CEO Noah Dietrich, I by my partner. Our surroundings are very similar: an intimate screening room, just a few seats for a private viewing.

It is snack time. Howard gets on the phone to call for “ten chocolate chip cookies, medium chips, not too close to the outside”. We are served a bento box of very tasty chicken satay, tempura cauliflower and king prawns with dipping sauces; a lime and soda for Ian, a Manhattan for me. It seems the right choice of cocktail for a film that starts in 1927, and very much in keeping with our wider surroundings, Langdale Chase hotel.

Great British Life: Bento box in the cinema roomBento box in the cinema room (Image: Sarah French)

It is a Monday afternoon. Windermere is shrouded in one of those misty, rainy palls. Most people are at work. We are in the basement cinema watching Leo and co in The Aviator. Eating tempura prawns and maraschino cherries. It feels naughty, and very, very nice. And that is before we find the Luxury Lakes sticky toffee pudding ice cream in the help yourself fridge.

We could have chosen any number of films from the hotel library – including Swallows and Amazons – but this one is ideal in period and decadence and fills perfectly the gap between our arrival at the newly refurbished hotel and dinner. When you have the pleasure of a weekday break in a luxury hotel, this is just the kind of experience you want so far removed is it from the normal Monday afternoon.

Great British Life: The majority of bedrooms, including the Windermere Panoramics, have lake viewsThe majority of bedrooms, including the Windermere Panoramics, have lake views (Image: Langdale Chase)

I feel Edna Howarth, for whom Langdale Chase was built as a private house in 1890, would approve. She certainly did not hold back in creating her lakeside home filling it with carved oak, stained glass windows and Italian flooring.

It became a hotel in the 1930s. Both its original period and its post First World War heyday are celebrated in the year-long refurbishment that was undertaken by new owner Daniel Thwaites. Victorian woodwork is complemented by Art Deco-style light fittings and cocktail cabinets in each lounge, where open fires provide a warm welcome. A choice of tea, coffee and breakfast pastries are laid out in the reception lounge, later replaced with Champagne for afternoon arrivals. Despite Thwaites owning a brewery, close to 200 pubs, 13 inns and ten hotels, Langdale Chase feels far from corporate.

Great British Life: A Windermere Panoramic roomA Windermere Panoramic room (Image: Langdale Chase)

Our bedroom is on the first floor, a Windermere Panoramic room in calming tones dominated by two picture windows that almost fill the walls and frame two different perspectives on the lake (and the distant fells were they visible through the murk). No matter, a two-seat sofa and a tub chair beckon, along with a madeleine for each of us under a glass cloche, a coffee machine and a varied choice of books in case you haven’t brought your own; I have, by pure coincidence, Tom Hanks’ The Making of Another Major Motion Masterpiece. I’m sure Howard Hughes would have approved.

The bed is huge, the bathroom bigger with an enormous freestanding bath and separate shower and twin basins, all white marble and brushed brass fittings with Cumbrian company Bath House products. Unusually for hotel rooms, the air conditioning and towel rail heater are simple to operate and effective. Although we never manage to fathom it, the loo is the most technical gadget in the room, apparently capable of heating and washing...

Great British Life: The reception lounge at Langdale ChaseThe reception lounge at Langdale Chase (Image: Sarah French)

Back downstairs, the pewter bar is a thing of beauty, while the lounges are distinctly different and appealing in their own right, whether you like a dark wood, club room ambience, the softer feel of lighter décor or the hubbub of the reception lounge, a great place to people watch in stunning surroundings.

The previously ugly white PVC extension to the hotel that housed the dining room has been upgraded significantly and is now much more in keeping with the building from the outside while being a contemporary contrast to the period interior, successfully brought together by Jane Goff’s design work.

A table by the window is a must for daytime dining; the set back, semi-circular booths and bench seats a cosier, warmer option for dinner in winter.

With a glass of very pleasant Pouilly-Fumé and a Luscombe’s ginger beer selected from the extensive and excellent wine list, we turned to the à la carte dinner menu.

Great British Life: Orkney scallop ceviche with fennel and golden raisinOrkney scallop ceviche with fennel and golden raisin (Image: Sarah French)

Executive chef Michael Cole’s meat and poultry options – venison carpaccio and ox cheek starters, Lakeland Dexter beef and Goosnargh guinea fowl among the mains – go untested as we both opt for double fish. My rapidly cooling shellfish consommé is gone in a few spoonfuls; Ian takes a little longer over his very pretty Orkney scallop ceviche with fennel and golden raisin.

He savours his crisp skin seabass resting on jauntily spiced mussels and more fennel. My modest butter poached cod is well cooked and juicy, the smoked turnip and battarga providing a savoury hit punctuated with pops of caviar, but not depth of seasoning, of which chef seems a little shy.

Great British Life: Butter poached cod, smoked turnip and battarga Butter poached cod, smoked turnip and battarga (Image: Sarah French)

Dessert is literally a high point, my light as a feather passion fruit souffle masterfully risen, the melting white chocolate ice cream providing a cool sauce. Curiosity pulls Ian to the chocolate delice with Black Dub Blue and poached pear but he is not altogether convinced by the combination of cheese ice cream and polished cue ball of rich chocolate. The three-course dinner is £79 per person with coffee and petits fours £6 and cheeseboard instead of dessert £15.

Happily replete, we head for bed as the family next to us orders a trademark 1807 burger (£25.95) in addition to the beef for the teenager who, like ours, cannot be fed enough.

Great British Life: Chocolate delice with Black Dub Blue and poached pear Chocolate delice with Black Dub Blue and poached pear (Image: Sarah French)

Dining at Langdale Chase is flexible. Lunch is served in the dining room too, and the lounge menu can be enjoyed through lunch and dinner, another hotel speciality being the New England lobster roll (£37.95).

There have been a few grumblings from local people who turned up on spec for drinks in early January and were invited to “come back tomorrow”. With weddings not on the agenda as well, the focus is very much on resident guests, which, at most prices being upwards of £400 per night, is reassuring for them. The website does state that non-residents are by advance booking only.

Back at a window seat in the dining room for a better view the next morning, breakfast can be created to suit from the options available, with kippers and kedgeree among the joys of being cooked for away from home.

This part of the Lake District is blessed with things to do, including taking a Windermere Ferry at Ambleside pier, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, Windemere Jetty Museum, Blackwell Arts & Crafts House and the Lakes Aquarium at the bottom of the lake. A walk into the centre of Ambleside and back will secure your 10,000 steps or there are multiple walking options in the fells above the hotel. Staff are ever present and obliging and will help create the perfect itinerary, including any number of outdoor activities and experiences.

Great British Life: Afternoon tea at Langdale ChaseAfternoon tea at Langdale Chase (Image: Sarah French)

If taking in a movie on Monday afternoon was decadent, returning to the hotel after a walk for afternoon tea on the Tuesday afternoon before final departure feels even more indulgent. We take up position on a sofa next to the fire in the lighter of the lounges as a huge pot of tea and a cafetiere of coffee arrive to get us started, followed by a series of savouries presented on interesting receptacles. First, a wooden block of crust-free sandwiches lined up like smart soldiers containing choices of smoked salmon gravadlax and beetroot; ham and Cumberland mustard; coronation chicken; the compulsory cucumber and cream cheese; and, served in grilled brioche as if it knows it’s a level above, a gorgeous mini lobster roll. Any not to your liking – egg for us – can be replaced with more of the above.

Next to arrive is a series of savouries: potted shrimp (from Flookburgh we hope, though the menu doesn’t specify) on a mini crumpet; a cheddar cheese and truffle custard doughnut, which had slightly too much emphasis on the dough for me; a beetroot and goats’ curd crème brûlee; and, our favourite, duck croquette, beautifully crisp on the outside and a tasty few mouthfuls dipped in damson ketchup.

Finally, to round off our two days of food and fun, lovely light fruit scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream and the patisserie chef’s piece de resistance sharing cakes: they ape fruit so there is a rosy apple with a crumble base and purée interior all enveloped in the thinnest green jelly; a superbly realistic banana containing all things banoffee; a refreshing key lime pie; a ridiculously indulgent black forest gateau of rich chocolate and dark cherries; and my favourite, a pineapple of coconut, white chocolate and piña colada flavours. Although we did our best we couldn’t finish them all and had them boxed up to take home.

Great British Life: Patisserie 'fruit'Patisserie 'fruit' (Image: Sarah French)

Spring and summer promise a transformation in the four-acre hotel estate, originally designed by renowned landscape architect Thomas Mawson. Now overseen by designer Annie Guilfoyle and head gardener Claire Farrington, the gardens are set to become a splendid feature to be enjoyed from the terraces.

What sets Langdale Chase apart, even from other lakeside hotels, is its location on the shore and its easy access to the water. Although no-one appeared brave enough during our stay, expect to see holidaymakers courageously launching themselves off one of the hotel’s two jetties.

Or you could always take the gentler option and head below for some of that delicious tempura and a Titanic date with Leo.

• Dinner, bed and breakfast for two in a panoramic Windermere room, mid-week in winter, is £590.