The Lake District’s premier self-catering cottage company, Heart of the Lakes, has learned that one of its most beautiful five-star properties is inspiring guests to ‘get creative’ in their own homes.
The luxurious Ghyll Crest Lodge, which sleeps six in complete indulgence is tucked away in 22 acres of forest, lake and gardens on the eastern slopes above Lake Windermere. Lovingly renovated by owners, Colin Sullivan and John Bray, their creativity and attention to detail has captured the special attention of those who have been lucky enough to stay there: “When we told people the shower rooms cost in excess of £20,000 each, they would smile in disbelief. But, we were delighted when our very first guests sent us a text declaring that the black and white marble shower room had inspired then to refurbish their own bathroom when they got home.” laughs Colin.
Arty duo, Colin and John, who also own the hugely successful ‘Arthouse’ in Ambleside, which is filled with John’s contemporary paintings, acquired Ghyll Crest Lodge several years ago but had immediate vision for the establishment, with the potential of the property attracting their interest.
“The forest and gardens had been neglected for many years,” explains Colin. “Anything can be done to a house except to pick it up and relocate it, so, with our full intention to gut it and start again, we purchased the building. We went to town refurbishing and undertaking an extensive landscaping project, including the construction of a whole new house in the grounds by the lake, Ghyll Crest Lodge.”
The Lodge itself forms an ‘upside down’ configuration, with three double bedrooms and a large open plan double height living space upstairs, with the gable ends fully glazed to flood the area with light and bring in the surrounding view of the lake and forest. The living room features two central kitchen consoles for cooking and dining, with bespoke light oak furniture topped in Corian. Double doors open from the living room to a generous outdoor balcony with dining furniture for al fresco living, which is bathed in sunshine – when the Cumbrian weather allows. And on colder days, the split-faced stone log burner is a central feature, although the contemporary heating system more than ensures comfortable living.
The master bedroom has an unusual bath and ‘rain shower’ area; natural stone features throughout, from the light cream marble Italian floors to the riven slate hewn from the Himalayas on the walls, and red Turkish limestone brightens the walls of the master cloakrooms. Colin and John have always placed enormous importance on providing top-of-the-range beds for their guests, with new sprung mattresses and the very best quality cotton bed linen.
“In our experience, when staying away from home, it’s essential to be able to sleep in a good bed,” states Colin. The beautiful location justified a project with little regard for budget, but Colin and John have always believed that quality will pay back: “You only have one chance to get it right, so, you have to bite the bullet and just do it,” says Colin.
“All we can hear is birdsong and the wind through the tall trees,” says Colin. “Seeing the dappled sunlight shining on the tarn and being able to enjoy this level of tranquillity is bliss. For our guests, it really is their own private ‘Rivendell’.”