Just back from the Cranleigh staying in ‘The Hideout’ from 7th February till the 9th, 2014. And although this place is definitely what everyone is saying it is, luxurious, quirky and romantic, it, in our opinion makes some fatal errors in livening up to its rather expensive price tag.
Ok first things first, the good points, of which there are many.
The hideout is decorated from top to bottom in extremely chic, artistic and mood setting décor, from the wall coverings to the mood setting lights to the cushions and throws that give every room its own character and feel.
The best of the best is most definitely the ‘Wellness Spa room’, which although looks to be a converted garage deserves praise for whom ever designed and implemented its transformation. From the massive air spa bath to the huge 65” hidden TV to the complimentary cocktail bar, this room really does what it says on the tin and makes the whole experience worthwhile.
The middle floor comprises of an extremely small toilet and bathroom and a very well decorated bedroom, although the four poster bed in my opinion should have some kind of canopy or veils as it is just a chrome frame which I didn’t personally like (just a matter of taste though am sure many others will love it).
Upstairs is great with more mood lighting, a well equipped kitchen an extremely comfy L-Shaped couch with another big screen TV, Blu ray player, Halogen flame effect fire and a funky coffee table that pulls open to reveal lots of magazines etc.
All in all extremely good, unique, quirky and a lovely experience for my wife’s special birthday.
Ok negatives, and this is where everyone reading says “ohh he is just being picky” or “some people will moan about anything” but to be fair for a hotel that is allegedly 5 Star and costs £225 per night MORE than an executive room in the Hilton Waldorf in London, £525 per night. Then you need to live up to that price tag.
Check in was pleasant enough by an extremely friendly member of staff who hands you a map and explains how you drive to the hideout, I have a good sense of direction and struggled finding the place mainly because even when you drive past it is not what you are expecting, if there were pictures of the outside on trip advisor it might put you off, hence I have not posted any as inside more than makes up for it.
The parking slot you get is tiny and needs a competent driver to park but after many inching backwards and forwards we were docked, wish we had emptied the boot first though as once parked its almost impossible, I must add if you have a small car then this would not be a problem.
Ok we wandered round and really did get the WOW factor; it is amazing, especially when you first get there. On getting to grips with everything we found as all 3 levels had different equipment it was like getting to grips with a different remote controls for every room, extremely frustrating and annoying after a while. The claims that everything is controlled by the ipad are exaggerated as for what we could see it was only the lights, the sonos and the Apple TV downstairs.
Ok if you are wanting to use your own music etc then I hope you have an old Phone as all of the rooms have Ipod Docks but all are for the old 30pin Apple connectors which means anything over an iPhone 4S, iPad 2 or iPod Touch, that uses a lightening cable are useless (I had downloaded loads of music for the weekend but was a waste of time).
10.30 that night it started to get very chilly (it was February and the weather was awful), we could not find any heating controls at all and all of the radiators were stone cold. A chilly night was in store but by the morning the radiators were back on and it was not till later that we were informed that the heating was on a timer, the controls were locked away and they sent someone round to turn the timer off. One night out of our two was already gone though and this really had me confused. Apparently it is because some guests have complained about being too hot. However if it is left on you can turn the radiator off and it cools down, if its turned off and the controls are locked away…its off…this excuse didn’t make any sense and I put it down to penny pinching (which at £525 a night is a bit cheeky).
Breakfast, a continental is left in the hideout, however, one of each cereal sachets? One of each? So if you and your wife both like Alpen, sorry one of you chose again…really? Penny pinching again I am afraid. You can of course go up to the hotel and enjoy a cooked breakfast (which is fantastic by the way) but unfortunately there only a handful of parking spaces at the hotel, at no time in our stay was one of them free and anywhere near the hotel as Bowness seems to be the home of the double yellow line. In the summer this is probably not a problem as it would be a nice 10-minute stroll to breakfast. In the winter and with ice cold pouring rain as it was for the entire length of our stay, you arrive for breakfast cold, wet and fed up….5 Star…..£525 a night??
As I have already mentioned the breakfast is extremely nice, the service however, not so I am afraid, not showed to a table, which resulting in us sitting down as someone’s table who was off getting fruit juice, how were we to know. The room is tiny for breakfast and involved lots of sorry and excuse me’s whenever pulling chairs out etc. We waited about 10 minutes sat down before anyone approached us then a further 10 minutes for our Coffee to arrive and all in all 45 minutes to get our breakfast. Now all of this in a Hotel not claiming to be top of the tree…fair enough but once again 5 Star? £525 per night? To top it off on both mornings we asked for some more toast (the one they bring you has 3 slices in it) and both mornings two different girls serving came back saying “Here is your EXTRA toast” and the toast rack was smaller (only 2 slices) really? Its about 10p a slice!
Ok last one….
The toilet back at the hideout is bizarre, extremely close to the wall which houses a heated towel rail so to enable you to use this toilet you almost have to go side saddle, the seat is very round , almost although they know this issue and have fitted the round seat to enable you to sit at an angle, here’s the twist the toilet roll is housed on the wall behind your left shoulder, so you have to perform some insane shoulder dislocating exercise because your side saddle on the toilet which if nothing else had us in fits of laughter the first day, second day the funny side had worn off!
OK all in all as a one off this place is great if not extremely over priced, the owners have displayed a no expense spared attitude in some aspects of the Hideout but some of the penny pinching housekeeping throws a spanner in the works.
As a suggestion if the hideout can not have reserved parking for breakfast I would stick the ingredients in the fridge to enable the guests to cook it themselves as turning up soaking wet and freezing cold does not start the day on a good footing. Having paid for what is undoubtedly the best seat in the house at no point did I feel like I was sat in it.
Also adaptors for the ipod docks, come on guys their only £25 each.
Overall experience was very good but claims of being the best in my opinion are way off the mark.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Luxury Boutique accommodation, perfectly located in the Heart of the English Lake District. 23 Individually designed rooms and Suites with features including: private hot tubs, super sized air spa baths, free Wifi, free car parking, and access to leisure and spa facilities. Adult only accommodation. International award winning accommodation, completely unique to the area. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Cranleigh Guesthouse Hotel Bowness-On-Windermere
- Cranleigh Boutique Bowness-On-Windermere, England, UK