OPULENT suites the size of some Lakeland cottages are offering couples the chance to escape thanks to a labour of love by a developer and hotelier.
Proprietor of the popular Aphrodite’s Lodge Boutique Hotel, Bowness, Will Howarth has turned his creative talents to the Windermere Tranquil Retreat, which brings the full spa experience into sumptuous suites.
Visitors are offered unparalleled levels of luxury, a private spa in the suite, including a full length lying down massage shower experience, saunas, hot tubs and slipper baths, super-king sized beds and water-beds, complete with mood lighting, cosy log burners, private garden areas, home cinemas and Sonos music systems, for the ultimate pamper experience.
The new development sees the transformation of the former Packway House self catering apartments on Longtail Hill, Bowness.
Built in 1924, at the end of the Arts and Crafts movement, the property originally provided a private residence with commercial stables for the packhorses which took visitors into the hills while their horses recovered from the long journey to Cumbria.
Will, originally from Barrowford in Lancashire, who has a background in restoration and refurbishment, and his team have spent months transforming the premises into the ultimate extravagant retreat offering discerning couples the opportunity to spend quality time together.
The project is the idea of Will, his Kendal-born son Matthew and general manager Victoria Gilmour, of Egremont. “Matthew is young and in tune with what young people want; Victoria adds the feminine touches, features which provide the seductive appeal and I ensure these are practicable and implement the ideas,” said Will who has lived in the Lakes for 40 years and has run Aphrodite’s Lodge for the past 17.
“We have six suites completed with an individual floor area of around 600sqft fitted out to the highest standards. They can use them as a base for the plethora of activities the Lake District offers or as a sanctuary for some quality time. We have planning applications to add more and create balconies so visitors can enjoy glorious views of our two-acre wood, gardens, stream and pond, with the associated wildlife.
“Existing facilities are proving popular with couples aged 18-34 and our Aphrodite’s Facebook page has 31,000 followers. The Lodge is incredibly sociable and couples love the themed rooms.
“By contrast, Windermere Tranquil Retreat is attracting discerning people who visit to celebrate an occasion or just their love. They want privacy, peace and quite, to enjoy all the facilities of a lavish spa but without leaving their suite.”
Matt, who studied business at Newcastle College, adds: “There is a culture of love out there and of young people buying into an experience. One look at virtual reality TV – Big Brother and Love Island – and of course social media clearly shows a generation wanting to share their experiences and the suites are proving to be the perfect setting.”
Guests, who visit from all over the country but the North East and North West in particular, can help themselves to a complimentary minibar or champagne. They also have the facilities of Aphrodite’s Lodge at their disposal if they want to socialise.”
Eventually a breakfast butler service will be introduced. A ‘dining round’ programme sees them within five minutes’ drive of 50 top restaurants and they are a three-minute taxi ride from the heart of Bowness.
Will said: “It has been a huge learning process on the back of detailed research of what is on trend, about what works and works well. We are receiving a lot of bookings from the North East and North West and with such fast train journey times to the South East we are hoping to appeal to the London crowd.
“We have also attracted some celebrities from popular reality TV programmes, one of who has 3.5m followers on social media. All of our guests are helping to spread the word by taking selfies of their experience here and sharing them across digital platforms. They are certainly feeling the love.”