Latest blog from Mrs Valjean, a northwest based theatre reviewer

Latest blog from Mrs Valjean, a northwest based theatre reviewer


Celebrities warmly but discreetly welcome

It must be really hard going on holiday when you’re famous. I know a woman who stalked Dr Who (can’t remember which one) around St Ives, and  while it’s socially unacceptable to take out your autograph book at Rick Stein’s in Padstow – it happens.

It’s surely happened to you somewhere. That chap on the next table – isn’t he the double of that guy who was in Emmerdale…. No, please, let him finish his dinner in peace.

We had an encounter on short break in the Lake District at a place so sumptuous and yet so discreet that it almost seems like an affront to name the place, let alone the still-elegant former star with whom we shared a bottle of Prosecco on the patio. He will remain incognito, we promise, but it would be a terrible pity not to boast about the Cedar Manor.

Ooops! There, I’ve said it, and the secret is out. Though to be fair, this elegant country house at Windermere in the Lake District is actually the best small hotel in Cumbria, and in the top ten in the whole country, so it’s not a very well-kept secret at all. But genuinely small – just ten rooms – and only for the discerning.

We’ve been a few times, to get away from it all, and have found some rather delightful fellow guests doing likewise. No one ever makes a fuss here about the famous, whichever alphabetical celebrity list they might be on. Everyone is treated like – not royalty, because that would suggest deference – a star, perhaps, though our hosts are never star-struck. Just friendly and welcoming and very entertaining.

You can, of course, ignore them and your fellow guests and the whole world, by booking the Coach House, a detached two-storey suite where you can watch movies in the bath and have your meals delivered to your own private dining room. The same food that everyone has in the restaurant, though, cooked by a chef called Roger who keeps a low profile and a high regard for his craft.

We’ve stayed in several rooms, named after the mountains you can see from the windows. We’ve climbed some of those on our visits, or just trotted up nearby Orrest Head for a view across England’s biggest lake, but we’ve also done absolutely nothing, in style. We’ve done nothing in the garden, sitting under the famous Cedar tree that gives the hotel its name. And we’ve done nothing in the lounge, under a chandelier made of recycled gin bottles. Not any old gin, of course, but Bombay Sapphire. The place has won lots of awards, not least for design.

We really want to tell the world about this place, but we want to keep it to ourselves as well. Perhaps I’ll write this review but leave you to find the website yourself? Is that half way to discretion?

The Cedar Manor Hotel and Restaurant, Windermere

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