Waterhead Hotel

, Ambleside, United Kingdom
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Waterhead Hotel

, Ambleside
4 star

Rooms: 16

Lake Road - Ambleside - England - LA22 0ER - United Kingdom Hotel Website | | 44 01539432566
488 Traveller

Reviews - Waterhead Hotel

A huge disappointment
Submitted by: Michael in 27/03/06
  • Age Group: 31 - 40
  • From: United Kingdom
  • Traveller type: Mature Couple
We booked a two night (Saturday & Sunday) stay at this hotel based on their website and reviews in TripAdvisor and were hugely disappointed. We booked a ‘luxury lake view room' at almost £200 per night which is hugely expensive compared to other hotels in the area and so I expected something special.

We arrived shortly after dark and were led downstairs through a bar area to our ‘lake view luxury room'. On entry it was apparent that room was of no great size and certainly not what I would consider ‘luxury' for a four star hotel. Looking out of the window it was apparent that while Lake Windermere could indeed be seen from the room but the view was severely restricted by the large bar and restaurant. Worse if we drew the heavy net curtains so we could actually see what view their was of the lake everyone in the bar could see into our room! Bad enough you might think but a mirror had been so positioned that if those drinking in the bar chose to they could see into the bathroom! There were also outdoor dinning tables, which were fortunately not in use because of the inclement weather, positioned directly outside the room window. It was just as well then that the broken window sash hanging down made it impossible to open the window.

Being tiered on the first night we decided to try the restaurant which had a limited menu which I generally don't mind as long as the food is good – but it wasn't. My steak was very tough and overcooked despite my request that it be cooked rare. This was in stark contrast to the food that we had during the rest of the trip which was without exception excellent. Breakfast was another novelty – where apparently they don't provide bread of any sort just toast (although strangely they have a continental breakfast – I didn't enquire how they managed to do a continental breakfast without providing bread.)

On the final morning we had to leave very early and I had requested a 5am alarm call. Unsurprisingly this was forgotten and we did not receive any call.

I was disgusted with the whole experience and was quite frankly left with the feeling that I had been ripped off. I would never chose to stay in any of the hotels run by this company again.

Historical Traveller Reviews of Waterhead Hotel

Very good indeed

from Morpeth
Have just returned from a short stay at this hotel. It is excellent in almost every way, with friendly and attentive staff and excellent food, especially at breakfast. The 'town-house' style is not typical of Lake District Hotels and there are plenty of innovative ideas to make things here special and enjoyable. Will certainly be going back again.


from Burns301274
Everyone had said it all in the previous reviews, this is a very comfortable relaxed hotel. Food great, location fantastic and staff very attentive. Highly recommend. I was going to go the The Drunken Duck, but after reading the reviews on Trip Advisor I decided against it, which I'm glad. We popped in for a drink and found the pub to be totally devoid of atmosphere with a 'customer' on their best behaviour - it was almost silent, apart from the slightly patronising bar man who loved the sound of his own voice.

Fantastic - Strongly recommend

from 666-HIM-666
This was my first time to the Lake District with the premise of asking my girlfriend to marry me... so it had to be right!

It was!

Service was fantastic, the view was lovely (I went for a slightly upgraded Lake facing room) the bed was THE softest most comfortable bed of all time - so much so that I wish I had taken down the labels to buy some!

I found the Waterhead real easy to find for a first time visitor (spotted a cafe with the name on). Parking can be interesting. I'm glad I had a hire car else I wouldn't have even got my car in there. Some fun tight spaces to get into hehe!

Food we didn't have (we should have really considering it's got such a good rep and we were there for 3 days) but we did have breakfast which was lovely.

Thing I found most satisfying, it's quite a classy hotel but it's not one of these hotels that frowns on you for wearing jeans when you go for breakfast and so on - I found it very laid back and I like that in a good hotel.

I'd call this a 5* easily. I've stayed in plenty of 5* places and this surpasses a lot of them.

much thanks!

Excellent - almost faultless

from Baz2174
We have just spent 4 night at the Waterhead and can't praise it too much. The staff were very attentive. We eat in the hotel every night and it was a joy to watch the staff as they walked through the dining room, their eyes glancing at every table to see if anything needed to be done.

If anything the food was too much, we felt full after dinner, then went to bed and before you know it you have a huge breakfast to eat! The menu which seems to go in a three day cycle is very good indeed, whatever we chose we were not disappointed.

The location is great, we never went near the car from the moment we parked it on day one until we left. Boats to several different locations around Windermere from outside the hotel and a host of walks starting near the hotel.

The room was serviced twice a day, if you went to dinner and used one towel and left the top off your deodorant before you left, the towel would be replaced and the top put back on before you got back!

Well done everyone at the hotel.

A Jewel in the Lakes

from A TripAdvisor Member
You know when you are looking for your perfect home and you walk through the door and within 3 minutes you know this is the one - then this is the feeling The Waterhead gives you. Everything is shiny, beautifully clean with lots of smiley staff. We have stayed in lovely hotels all around the world, we like nice hotels, nice hotels are up there with the weather and surroundings as far as we are concerned so believe me when I say The Waterhead is now listed in my top 3. Full marks to the refurbishment team who last year transformed this hotel to the gem it is today. Okay, we did book a luxury room with it's giant bed, chocolate brown leather suite, dramatic purple and gold decor, plasma screen wall t.v. and black and white ultra modern bathroom suite with under floor heating but after saying all that I would guess that the standard is the same throughout. Full marks to their Restaurant and Chef also whose food wouldn't be out of place in Claridges. The ladies toilets were novel, instead of piped music they had one of Beartix Potter stories playing which transported me back to my childhood. We were on a 3 day break, but we could have stayed 3 months. Take note big Hotel chains that often get is so wrong, English Lakes Hotels have got their Waterhead so,so right.

This is a fab hotel

from A TripAdvisor Member
Cannot praise this hotel enough. Situated at the top of Lake Windermere just a mile from the centre of Ambleside with lovely views of the lake. The rooms were beautifully furnished with very contemporary bathrooms. We had dinner on our first night and were very impressed with the standard of food. The restaurant was beautifully decorated in contemporary style also. We particulary enjoyed our breakfasts in the conservatory over looking the lake. The staff were very helpful and welcoming. We shall be returning!

Details Lets Waterhead Down

from A TripAdvisor Member
My Wife and I have just returned from our second visit to the Waterhead. Both times we were given a menu on check-in which was different to the one we were actually presented with when sitting down to eat.

The underfloor heating in the bathroom is a great idea if only it worked. The manager mentioned that our room (room 7) and room 8 had just had new showers fitted and they had had a few problems but hopefully they had resolved them. The next morning we found out what the problems were, the shower was a cascade of water over a glass plate which unfortunately turned to a hot dribble after 5-10 seconds.

I am probably not giving this hotel justice as it is a lovely friendly hotel with tasteful decor and good food however I cannot help but notice the overall lack of detail in the finish and service. If they pull their socks up this place could be a gold mine.

Lovely hotel, great weekend!

from Riflerangeblues
We stayed here for 2 nights and we weren't disappointed. We had a classic room with a lake view - everything you could need, great storage, bathroom, plasma screen TV and DVD, spacious and luxurious. Only problem - the window didn't open and there was no air conditioning or fan. This was probably down to the fact that it's an old building, but on one of the hottest weekends of the year, it was stiffling, airless and quite unpleasant. I was surprised about this, as the rooms are bordering on expensive at weekends and I'd normally expect air conditioning for this quality of hotel. That said, don't make our mistake - I'd advise you to check the windows before you unpack - we'd have asked for a change of room if we'd realised sooner.

Used Lowood Watersports Centre to learn water-skiing on Saturday morning. Even with the speed restriction on Windermere, we had great fun, excellent teachers and a 10% discount for the hotel - fantastic!

Service in the hotel was great - impeccably clean rooms and reception, bar and restaurant staff were all friendly, responsive and unobtrusive. We ate dinner in the hotel on Saturday night - all good. One small point, we were only offered the 3 course set menu at £30 per head and would have had to ask for the a la carte menu if we'd wanted a cheaper or more pick and mix type meal. Whilst it suited us to take the set menu, I didn't like this attempt to force us down that route and I felt it unnecessary. But, it didn't sour the weekend, all in all we had a great time. The hotel is a simple, elegant haven in a lovely location and I'd recommend it.

Best hotel in the UK?

from Phillipt21
My wife and I stayed at the Waterhead for one night on July 1st 2005 to celebrate her birthday. This hotel was everything that we could have asked for and more. We have stayed in some of the best hotels in the UK and abroad, and this certainly ranks amongst them.

The location is superb, on the banks of Lake Windermere, with beautiful views of the lake and surrounding countryside. There are a number of shops and other hotels close by, and Ambleside is 500m to the north.

The rooms are awesome, everything you'd associate with a five star hotel - although it's officical rating is a four star. I can only think that this is because it doesn't have it's own health club (shared at the sister hotel 1km south).

The room had a flat screen TV with DVD player with DVDs available free from reception; Electric Fire; under-floor heating in the bathroom; king-size bed; caffetiere coffee etc.

It is also often the little touches that make the difference. The room had a resident stuffed dog with the 'do not distburb' sign hanging around it's neck. Instead of normal biscuits with the coffee cups, there was locally renowned Gingerbread from Grasmere. The room with a view of the lake was made all the more special as there were binoculars provided too!

The staff were friendly throughout the hotel. The receptionist escorted us to our room and explained the technology etc. The waiters were pleasant and made us feel welcome.

Our room also came with breakfast in the morning, and probably was the best breakfast I've had in years. The cooked element was beautiful; the pastries were crisp and fresh and the toast/tea/coffee was plentiful. Superb.

We decided to eat at the restraurant that evening. It is a very nice and quite an expensive option (£30 per head for three courses). The chef clearly had been watching the Gordon Ramsey series, and the food was designed to be what you'd eat at a gourmet restaurant, portions were small but the focus was on taste. We did enjoy the meal, but it did feel a little pretentious (we were given a 'pre-desert' - and the waitress kindly told us that this meant a small desert before the main desert....) and wasn't top quality in my opinion. But - it was alright. We didn't leave feeling robbed, and didn't feel the need to complain. It was just okay.

All in all, this is a super hotel and we would go back again. We booked online directly via the hotel website and paid £110 for the room and breakfast - so a good deal in my opinion. This was for a luxury room with a view of the lake and to say the breakfast should be £12.50 each, it was excellent value.

Go and enjoy it - great romantic treat and top marks from us!


Classy and that bit different

from CCWbay
I had the pleasure of staying at the Waterhead Hotel recently. I remember staying at this hotel many years ago when it was owned by Best Western. It struck me what a great building this was in a fantastic position. But it was in need of a serious update. Well that has now happened and a change of owner to English Lakes Hotels. It is now a stylish modern hotel offering the kind of accommodation and service you would expect from a contemporary hotel in a major city (Plasma TV on the wall!!) but with the quality service of a 5* B&B. The room I had looked out over the front of the building onto the shores of Lake Windermere and was even equipped with binoculars! The restaurant was also top class, if a little expensive. All in all a top hotel offering great accommodation in a beautiful setting. Tip - book direct for best deals @ (---).

Top Local Tips for Ambleside

early arrival They were happy for us to have our room from 11.00 am which gave us loads of time the first day

Coniston Bluebird Have a pint of Bluebird in the put opposite. Beautiful view over the lake!

Things to do Avoid at weekends


Other names for Waterhead Hotel

  • hotel waterhead
  • ambleside hotel waterhead
  • Address: Lake Road - Ambleside - England - LA22 0ER - United Kingdom
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