The Forest Side: AA Hotel of the Year
Nestled in a picturesque corner of The Lake District lies The Forest Side Hotel and Restaurant. Recently crowned the AA Hotel of the Year, this charming establishment is set apart for its breath-taking surroundings and dedication to preserving history while embracing modernity.
An Enchanting Setting
Perched on the forest side of Grasmere, The Forest Side Hotel and Restaurant occupies a beautifully refurbished Victorian hunting lodge. The location alone exudes tranquillity and invites guests to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the Lake District. The hotel’s interiors have been elegantly renovated, offering guests a luxurious and comfortable stay.
A Michelin-Starred Culinary Gem
One of the standout features of The Forest Side is its Michelin-starred restaurant. Here, the ethos is clear: to celebrate the bounty of the local region. An astonishing 90% of the restaurant’s produce is sourced from within a ten-mile radius, a testament to the commitment to showcasing modern Cumbrian cuisine at its finest. The restaurant’s reputation for culinary excellence has earned it the coveted Michelin star.
The journey to becoming the UK’s best country hotel was not without its challenges. In 2014, Wildsmith Hotels enlisted the expertise of HPA to reimagine The Forest Side. The former hunting lodge required extensive reconfiguration and refurbishment. HPA’s multidisciplinary approach and specialization in the leisure and hospitality sector proved invaluable in delivering tailored solutions for the project.
The transformation of The Forest Side was nothing short of remarkable. HPA’s collaboration with interior designer James Mackie and landscape architect Frances Truscott brought a holistic vision to life. The dining room was extended, seamlessly connecting with a new garden terrace. The restaurant itself underwent significant renovations, and an adjacent kitchen garden and bespoke greenhouse were added.
Throughout the renovation, great care was taken to preserve the historic features of the building. The result is a harmonious blend of old-world charm and modern luxury. Custom-made beds, designed exclusively for the hotel, ensure that guests experience the utmost comfort during their stay.
The Forest Side’s recognition as the AA Hotel of the Year is a testament to the dedication and passion invested in the project. For HPA and all those involved, it’s a source of immense pride and fulfilment to see their hard work acknowledged in such a prestigious manner.
The Forest Side Hotel and Restaurant is a shining example of how dedication to preserving history, a commitment to showcasing local excellence, and collaboration among experts can create a truly exceptional destination. It’s not just a hotel; it’s an experience that celebrates the beauty of the Lake District and the culinary artistry of Cumbria. With its recent accolade, The Forest Side has rightfully earned its place as the AA Hotel of the Year, and it’s an establishment that will continue to captivate guests for years to come.
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