The Belsfield - Laura Ashley Hotel opens in the Lake District
- Credit: Archant
The classic Belsfield hotel on Bowness-on-Windermere has been given a Laura Ashley makeover. The project has combined its traditional charms
Upon entering the grand Belsfield Hotel, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve strayed into a stately home. Hardly surprising, then, to discover this was built in 1845 as a residence for a European aristocrat, Baroness von Sternberg, before being bought by philanthropist Henry Schneider in 1869. A key figure in the development of the Lake District and its iron ore mining business, Swiss-born Henry was a man who enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, a philosophy that seems to have struck a chord and continued with the Belsfield to this day.
Re-opening in July 2014 after a luxurious renovation, the Belsfield remains in the hands of Corus Hotels but now in partnership with the classic Laura Ashley fashion and home-furnishings company.
The Laura Ashley company already has one hotel situated in Hertfordshire, the Manor Hotel, Elstree, and this new project sees them venture up to the Lake District where the beauty of their furnishing go hand in hand with the spectacular surroundings of the region and the stunning classical architecture of the Belsfield.
Joe Nichols, business development manager at the hotel, said that the addition of Laura Ashley to the hotel had enhanced the beautiful features of the building, marrying the contemporary with the classic.
‘The Victorian Italianate architectural style fits perfectly with the class of the Laura Ashley brand,’ said Joe, who lives in Grasmere.
‘It’s been more of a renovation than restoration. The hotel already had character and the Laura Ashley element has only enhanced this further.’
The £4 million renovation project has been totally overseen by Laura Ashley interior designer, Kay Cullen, who juxtaposed modern and classical elements of the signature brand throughout the Belsfield. Joe said that spaces within the hotel now flow seamlessly and there is continuity throughout the building due to the renovation being done all at once.
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‘The project began in June 2013, and the final effect is a timeless, English design that also feels current, for example the addition of the glass reception,’ said Joe.
Areas such as the stunning drawing room have been decorated with wallpaper archived from the classic Chinoiserie range, which stays true to the building’s heritage.
The Summer Palace Blue wallpaper, which depicts birds and flowers, is effortlessly elegant and compliments the breathtaking views of Lake Windermere, which is seen from the majority of rooms at the Belsfield, including a great many of the 62 bedrooms.
Non-resident guests are also welcome to visit the Belsfield, and in the summer months Joe said their afternoon tea on the lawn had been very popular.
‘There has been a huge demand and interest in the Belsfield since we opened,’ he said. ‘The building has a fond place in the memories of local people but it was just underinvested. Now, with Laura Ashley, it has been brought back to life and to its full potential. This has resonated well in the local market.’
The hotel has two restaurants on site serving a fusion of nouvelle cuisine and traditional British dishes. The Belsfield Restaurant and the Brasserie, both offer what they call unrivalled, unique and spectacular views over Lake Windermere.
Weddings can also take place here as well as meetings in their newly developed conference space.
‘It has been a lovely experience for everyone involved,’ said Joe. ‘Staff moved with us from the original Belsfield, as well as some new members from luxury hotel backgrounds. Now all can share the enormous pride of working at the prestigious Belsfield.’
Kendal Road, Bowness-on-Windermere
Tel: +44 (0)15 3944 2448