on our Doorstep
WEST EVENING MAIL
It has not been an easy year for the hotel – located in a charming 17th century converted alehouse – which was badly damaged by the devastating floods of November 2009. However, the devoted hotel team has spent the last six months lovingly restoring the hotel to its former glory. Refurbished in a tasteful ‘country chic’ style, this 52-bedroom retreat is ideal for a romantic weekend away or a short mid-week spa break, like the one we enjoyed – especially with room rates starting from as little as £99 a night on a bed and breakfast basis.
We drove to the hotel straight after finishing work and arrived just in time to catch the last bit of warmth in the evening sun, while sitting next the River Leven enjoying a much-needed glass of wine and some stunning views of the water with ducks at play. We could’ve happily remained where we were until the sun went down but we had a table booked at the hotel’s River Room restaurant for 8pm, so we headed up to our room for a quick shower and change first.
While we decided to ‘dress up’ for our special midweek treat, the restaurant can be as formal or relaxed as you wish. Lots of patrons were obviously enjoying a meal after a day’s sightseeing, while other couples like ourselves were there for a romantic evening in all their finery. The restaurant’s staff were really friendly without being intrusive and after ordering a bottle of Merlot, we settled down to peruse the menu which features locally sourced British cuisine with an Italian flair, all prepared with seasonal ingredients. We started with the mouth-wateringly good crab and king prawns with creme fraiche, lime and coriander and the stuffed mushrooms, before moving on to mains of sea bass and Goosnargh chicken breast. All of the meals were delicious and presentation was as key as flavours – with all meals served with stylish flair. Despite concerns over our ever-expanding waistlines, we could not resist a dessert with my hubby going for a classic cheeseboard featuring a superb selection of local cheeses and me going for the salted caramel tart – which the waiter assured me was an “excellent choice” and he certainly wasn’t lying! After a delicious vintage port in the bar after our meal, we felt replete and relaxed.
The relaxation continued after a lovely breakfast in the morning as I was booked in for my full-body ESPA aromatherapy massage in the hotel’s Vu Spa. While a therapist worked on my ‘knots’ in the delightfully peaceful spa, my husband worked off a little of the previous evening’s meal in the spa’s indoor 10m swimming pool. We met up afterwards to enjoy a short walk in the surrounding countryside, to soak in more of the summer sun and the stunning views in this part of the world. We headed over the bridge behind the hotel and followed a footpath through the woods to the little village of Finsthwaite and its picturesque church. For those seeking something a little more active than walking, there are plenty of activities to keep even the most restless entertained at the hotel including sailing, horse riding, hiking, fishing and fascinating nature trails that sneak a peek at the local wildlife.
Whether you are looking for total relaxation or an active weekend break, the Swan really does have it all. What’s more, it is quite literally on our doorstep.
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