TV viewers wooed by Windermere love goddess

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    A Cumbria hotel which allows couples to live out their romantic fantasies is trying to cope with a booking frenzy after coming under the TV spotlights last week.

    Aphrodite’s hotel near Windermere – owned by husband-and-wife team Will and Lyn Howarth – was seen by millions of viewers of the popular Channel Four series “Four in a Bed”.After the screening of the half-hour episode in which the hotel was featured, Will Howarth said that his website server and telephone lines “went almost into melt-down”.

    With over £5000 worth of bookings taken on the first night, Will hopes that the knock-on effect will also benefit tourism generally by confirming Lakeland as the UK’s “capital of romance”.

    Aphrodite’s, just outside Bowness on Longtail Hill, is a boutique hotel which provides 17 luxurious and theatrically themed bedrooms where couples can let their imaginations run wild.

    Couples can spend their fantasy nights in surroundings conjuring up the world of James Bond, the Flintstones, Robin Hood or even Tarzan and Jane.

    Other bedroom scenes include settings inspired by the romance of Paris, Tuscany, ancient Egypt, colonial America, and the Swiss Alps.

    The “Four in a Bed” series looks at four couples owning hotels and guest houses as they visit each other’s establishments to stay the night and deliver judgement on their experiences.

    Shown nightly over a single week, each episode focuses on one hotel – and when it came to Aphrodite’s turn, Will and Lyn were able to hear their rivals’ comments for the first time.

    Despite one complaint from a mother and son that they weren’t allowed to share the same bedroom, the guests’ verdict on their experiences was an overwhelming thumbs-up.

    According to Will, the idea of spending a fantasy night in Cumbria living as cavemen or as an Egyptian king and queen clearly whet the appetite of those watching the show:

    “The phones starting ringing immediately the programme finished, and when we checked our website the following day, it had already received more than nine thousand hits!” said Will.

    “In fact we quickly had to find a new server for the site as it was in danger of crashing with the volume of visitors trying to make on-line bookings.

    “Our small-screen debut obviously hit the spot big-time for couples who want to spice up their lives with a little bit of make-believe and pampering!” he added.

    Will and Lyn’s guests in the series owned establishments in Oxford, the Peak District and Wales – and were shown reacting with wide-eyed amazement at what they found at Aphrodite’s.

    Cameras also saw them taking part in an aqua aerobics session in the hotel’s luxury pool, and enjoying an all-Cumbrian meal at the nearby Windermere Boutique Hotel.

    That hotel has been owned by Will for over 20 years, and then ten years ago he was given the opportunity to buy another nearby business offering traditional B&B stays.

    Sensing that the area was already well served by such accommodation, he began planning the hotel’s romantic renaissance, and named it after the Greek goddess of love.

    “Our idea was that Aphrodite’s would inject a bit of real fun into visiting the Lake District – whilst still keeping quality standards high, and focussing on Cumbrian food,” said Will.

    “The number of repeat visitors we get, some of whom are working their way around all our themed rooms, I think indicates that we all enjoy a bit of fantasy in our lives.

    “We’re naturally delighted at the reaction to our television debut, and I hope it also sends out the message that Cumbria has a lot more variety than mountains and mint cake!” he added

    Daniel Fountain / 27.04.2012

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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