Special events

Fairtrade Cake Competition

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Lovers of good cake will gather at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel for a Valentine’s bake-off competition.

The contest is organised by Windermere and Bowness Fairtrade group, and amateur bakers are invited to submit their “signature bake” which must be a single tier cake with a Valentine’s theme.

The event, on Wednesday February 10, will also feature baking demonstrations by Michael Vango, the pastry and sous chef at Cedar Manor’s restaurant. Michael, along with the hotel’s owners Jonathan and Caroline Kaye, will judge the entries.

Cakes entered must be made using Fairtrade sugar (widely available in shops locally or from Traidcraft online (www.traidcraftshop.co.uk). They will be judged on texture, flavour, appearance and decoration.

caroline and jonathan pic

Cake-loving hoteliers Caroline and Jonathan Kaye

First, second and third place prizes will be awarded and a “Special Fairtrade Merit Prize” will also be given. “This will allow people to be creative as far as range of Fairtrade products used together with any lesser known ones they are able to source,” said Theresa Wooll, who is co-ordinating the contest for the Fairtrade group with the Cedar Manor.

A maximum of 20 competition entrants will be allowed on a first come basis.  “You are not a registered competition entrant until a completed registration form and your fee is accepted by the Cedar Manor Hotel or by one of the Windermere and Bowness Fairtrade group members (details below).  You will also be given at that time a numbered Competitor Entrance ticket for the event,” said Theresa.

Cakes must then be delivered to the Cedar Manor Hotel, Ambleside Road, Windermere, on Wednesday February 10, between 11-11.30 am, on a suitably stiffened board or plate.  The winners will be announced at around 2.45 pm and all cakes must be collected by 3.30 pm.

The entry fee of £5 will include unlimited tea/coffee and a piece of cake at the event. Spectators can buy tickets for £3.50. Places are limited so it’s advisable to buy tickets in advance. Tickets and entry forms can be obtained from Joan Pollard (015394 44825);  Theresa Wooll ([email protected]); Sally Johnson ([email protected]); or from the hotel (015394 43192).

Cedar Manor co-owner Caroline Kaye said: “We are thrilled to host this competition because we love cake, and it’s such a good cause. Our restaurant uses Fairtrade products, and we are looking forward to some brilliant entries.”

Please email [email protected] for an entry form.  Thank you.

After The Storms in Cumbria

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There are Christmas lights still shining in Windermere. When the sun came out after the terrible flooding, the clouds lifted and there were the high fell tops, still magnificent outlined against the sky.

It has been a dreadful time for the Lake District but we have been lucky here, safely away from flood water. The roads are open again and we’re already looking forward to welcoming guests this week.

In fact, some weekend guests had an unexpected prolonged holiday, staying with us for an extra couple of days in luxury! Every cloud has a silver lining.

But friends elsewhere in the Lakes have not been so lucky. Hotels have been forced to close, businesses have been devastated, shops have lost stock. There is a fantastic community spirit here determined to fight back and get everything re-opened as soon as possible.

So much depends on the support of you, our visitors to the Lake District. An appeal to help flood victims set up by the Cumbria Community Foundation was heading towards £1m on the first day, donations coming in from all over the world. We know you love the Lakes, we know you love coming to stay here. We need you to come back as soon as you can, to support the local shops, and cafes, and all the tourist businesses that help you to have a great time by the lakes and on the hills.

We have some great plans for the new year ourselves. We’re working with one charity to stage a cake competition. We’re going to have a resident sheep – not real, but lifesize – at our gate as part of a big charity campaign. And whatever the weather, Caroline’s carrying on with her marathon training: London here she comes!

Wherever you are in Britain and across the world, have a wonderful Christmas, and think about our friends and colleagues across the Lakes who will need your support to rebuild their livelihood.

To donate to the flood relief appeal, visit http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/cumbriafoundation/cumbriafloodappeal2015or click here

Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you in the Lakes soon.

 

 

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Something Arty for the Spring...

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Visitors arriving here from next spring will notice a lone Herdwick sheep grazing under the cedar tree at our front entrance.

She’s one of a fantasy flock that’s set to roam across the Lake District, each of them decorated by a different artist.

It’s a charity initiative by the Lake District Calvert Trust who hope that the sheep will become as iconic as the cattle of the Cow Parade – and bring in funds for a good cause. The Trust run challenging outdoor adventure breaks for those with disabilities and money raised will help fund a new £1.3m facility for stroke survivors.

We have long been supporters of the Calvert Trust. In fact, Caroline’s going to run her second London marathon for them next April. So when businesses along the 555 bus route from Windermere to Keswick were asked to sponsor a sheep – life-size blank Herdwick sculptures made of glass-reinforced plastic – and then have it decorated into a distinctive work of art, we were very keen to join in.

Our sheep – a ewe, though we don’t have a name for her yet – is being painted by our friend, the Kendal artist Thuline de Cock. She has already exhibited her paintings here, and run a workshop at the hotel. We love her paintings of animals, and it’s quite possible that our sheep will be decorated with some cows.

From Easter next year the sheep will appear in unexpected places; in parks, gardens, in the street, on buildings, in shops, cafes and restaurants – all paying homage to the Herdwick’s iconic home in the Lake District. An art trail map, posters and brochures naming all the sponsors and artists will be sold throughout the life of the project.

Herdwicks (the real ones)  are Cumbria’s native sheep and are ideally suited to life on the inhospitable high fells and mountains, grazing at up to 900m (3,000ft). They’re also credited with shaping the Lake District landscape that we see today.

Herdwicks are renowned for their hefting instinct, the ability – passed from a ewe to her lambs – to recognise an area as its home and return there, even after it’s been brought down from the fells for lambing or clipping and has to walk several miles back to its own area or heft.

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Considerate Small Hotel of the Year

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A great piece writted about the Green Hotelling Award that we won in London yesterday.

A luxury Windermere hotel has been awarded a top accolade for sustainable practice and care for the environment. The Cedar Manor Hotel was named best small international hotel at the Considerate Hotels award ceremony in London.

Owner Jonathan Kaye (pictured) picked up the carved elm trophy after being shortlisted along with hotels from Northumberland and the Seychelles.

Created in 1991 in Westminster with initially just London’s flagship hotels, Considerate Hoteliers was one of the first associations worldwide to impart the message that care for the environment and social responsibility should form a major part of a responsible hotelier’s agenda.

In a keynote speech at the ceremony at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, TV presenter and nature documentary film-maker Simon King OBE said that the hotel industry was one which was taking seriously threat to the planet.

In an inspirational and frank address, he said that top hotels had the power to be opinion-formers and role models. “You hold the flag,” he said. And he warned: “We need to pay extra for our food; because cheap is costing us the earth.”

The Considerate Hoteliers organisation encourages the adoption of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable policies and practices among hoteliers in a way which enhances the viability of their businesses, the environment and the quality of the experience on offer to their guests, staff and visitors. Member hotels are expected to protect and improve the environment locally  – and thereby nationally and globally – by taking action in a number of different ways.

The Cedar Manor already holds the Green Tourism Business Scheme Gold Award and the Cumbria Business Environment gold award. Jonathan Kaye is a Trustee of Nurture Lakeland, which inspires people to care for and contribute to the natural environment of the Lake District through a visitor giving scheme. He said: “We are really thrilled to win this award and to see our efforts recognised. We make sure that relevant environmental legislation and regulation is understood and complied with, reducing energy and water usage wherever possible and by implementing increased efficiency.

“We are careful to use raw materials in a way that avoids producing waste where possible, and by reducing, re-using or recycling waste whenever possible.

“We use environmentally friendly materials whenever possible and appropriate, raising the awareness of staff and customers so that everyone may be involved in looking after our environment and the National Park, and use locally sourced and fair trade produce whenever possible.”

Jonathan encouraged other hotels to become members of the CH organisation. “It gives us access to industry leading advice on sustainability in the hotel sector. Case studies, reports, research, management templates and best practice examples are all available to us.”

The hotel shared a table with industry leaders including Professor John Forte, independent environmental and food safety consultant to the hotel and catering industry, and former Cabinet Minister Nick Brown MP.

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Cumbria Tourism Awards 2015 Winners

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Top award for Windermere outstanding hotel assistant

Countless guests at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel have lavished praise on general  assistant Patricia Torre for her kindness, efficiency and humour.

Now Patricia has been recognised with the region’s highest honour at the Cumbria Tourism Awards. She has won the Sheila Hensman Award for Outstanding Customer Service, only three years after arriving from Santander in Spain knowing only a few words of English.

Patricia, 22, who comes from Santander, has worked at the Cedar Manor for two years where she is regarded as a treasured member of staff, general assistant and waitress.

 “Patricia is a real treasure,” said hotel owner Caroline Kaye. “She is singled out by so many of our guests for her kindness, thoughtfulness and her cheerful smile day and night. We are absolutely thrilled for her that she has won this award and that her efforts have been officially recognised.”

The award ceremony at Kendal’s Castle Green Hotel learned that Patricia plays a pivotal role in maintaining the high standards of service at the Cedar Manor, going above and beyond the call of duty in her attentiveness to visitors, and also in helping her peers and the managers.

“Her professionalism is matched with a sense of humour, remarkable for someone who knew little English three years ago,” said Caroline Kaye.

Caroline and her husband Jonathan were at the ceremony to see Patricia pick up her prize, along with her sister Alejandra Torre who had flown in from Spain for the occasion.

Jonathan Kaye said that from a timid start, Patricia now had an excellent command of English, but is also delighted to talk to Spanish guests in their native language.

“She has grown in confidence. Initially she was anxious about dealing with telephone enquiries, but now she’s a great communicator, capable of attending to anything, including welcoming guests in reception. She anticipates customers’ needs, stepping in even before they ask, understanding what might be required.”

He said that Patricia was especially attentive with guests who are elderly or disabled, always patient and kind.

Patricia, who recently passed written exams in English and Maths with very high marks, 89% & 100% respectively, was assessed in the hotel restaurant by Kendal college teacher Dean Boydell as part of her Hospitality & Catering NVQ and apprentice qualification.

Mr Boydell said : “Patricia consistently delivers excellent customer service. Having observed her in action over the past 18 months she has grown in confidence and skill. Patricia adapts her customer service skills to each guest, has a natural balance of friendly professional service and anticipates her customers’ needs. She has excellent knowledge of her organisation, local area and products and is able to give advice and suggestions, which adds to her customers' experience.”

The Outstanding Customer Service Award is made in memory of Sheila Hensman who was a former Chairman and President of Cumbria Tourism. She believed that the customer had to come first and always encouraged those she met to remember and act of this. The award is intended to encourage those in the industry to strive for the very best in customer service.

The Cedar Manor has the highest TripAdvisor ratings in the area, and Patricia has been highlighted in many reports. She was described by one guest as “the best hotel staff member we have ever come across”.

 

 

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Cumbria Tourism Awards 2015

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A place in the finals for treasure Patricia

Cedar Manor’s Spanish treasure is heading for the finals of a customer service award.

Patricia Torre, 22,  from Santander in Spain, came to work at the Hotel two years ago, a year after coming to England. She’s now a treasured member of staff – general assistant and waitress – and she’s singled out by countless visitors for her kindness and sense of humour.

Now she has been shortlisted for the Cumbria Tourism customer service award, and the hotel’s owners, Caroline and Jonathan Kaye, are thrilled.

“Patricia is a real treasure,” said Caroline. “She is singled out by so many of our guests for her kindness, thoughtfulness and her cheerful smile day and night.”

Caroline said that from a timid start, Patricia now has an excellent command of English, but is also delighted to talk to Spanish guests in their native language.

“She has grown in confidence. Initially she was anxious about dealing with telephone enquiries, but now she’s a great communicator, capable of attending to anything, including welcoming guests in reception. She anticipates customers’ needs, stepping in even before they ask, understanding what might be required.”

Caroline said that Patricia was especially attentive with guests who are elderly or disabled, always patient and kind. “She has helped with our charity fundraising efforts, often giving her own time to work on days like charity tea parties and annual Christmas fair.”

Patricia, who recently passed written exams in English and Maths with very high marks, 89% & 100% respectively, was assessed in the hotel restaurant by Kendal college teacher Dean Boydell as part of her Hospitality & Catering NVQ and apprentice qualification.

Mr Boydell said: “Patricia consistently delivers excellent customer service. Having observed her in action over the past 18 months she has grown in confidence and skill. Patricia adapts her customer service skills to each guest, has a natural balance of friendly professional service and anticipates her customers’ needs. She has excellent knowledge of her organisation, local area and products and is able to give advice and suggestions, which adds to her customers' experience.”

The Cedar Manor, currently in the running for best small hotel in England, has the highest TripAdvisor ratings in the area, and Patricia has been highlighted in many reports. She was described by one guest as “the best hotel staff member we have ever come across”.

Another wrote: “But the true treat of Cedar Manor is its people. Patricia is truly a delight, with a fabulous future ahead of her, as she has a real flair with people.”

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Latest blog from Mrs Valjean, a northwest based theatre reviewer

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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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Backgammon Championships 2015

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Success across the board at the Cedar Manor

The game that’s played at pavement cafes across the Mediterranean and in the most exclusive of London clubs is now played regularly at Windermere’s Cedar Manor Hotel.

The monthly backgammon sessions have become a popular fixture since they were introduced by owner Jonathan Kaye.

They were started following the success of an annual backgammon championship staged at the hotel, part of the British Isles Backgammon Association Backgammon Tour and Grand Prix. This is now organised each spring by Jonathan, a keen player himself.

He would roll the dice during his time living in London, where for 10 years he managed the exclusive Chelsea nightclub, Raffles, frequented by celebrities and royalty.

“It’s a fascinating game, not difficult to learn, and knock-out tournaments like our annual event can be staged in one day,” said Jonathan.

“We have some real enthusiasts now, from experts to absolute beginners, coming each month. It is not difficult to learn. Our nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth picked it up very quickly.”

The winner of this year’s Lake District backgammon champion was Edinburgh-based science researcher Samantha Wilkinson. She took the title this spring after a thrilling final against financier Barry Teece, also from Edinburgh. Last year’s winner Graeme Turner from Newcastle was knocked out in the first round by Grasmere Gingerbread owner Andrew Hunter. Andrew’s 11 year old son Monty, playing in his first big tournament, was defeated by Ambleside chef Robert Shaw.

Jonathan said: “We have some really thrilling games here. It proves that backgammon is growing in popularity. We’d like to see it played in cafes and bars across the Lakes, as happens elsewhere in Europe.”

Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and a player wins by removing all of his pieces from the board before his opponent. Excavations have revealed that the game was played around 3,000 BC in Persia (Iran) and it was played in various forms by the ancient Romans, and subsequently throughout Europe. The first world championship was held in Las Vegas in 1967, and later moved to Monte Carlo for many years. The game is also played extensively online.

The next meeting of the monthly club is Tuesday 28th June

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June's charity winner

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It’s great to have a night away from it all at a lovely hotel like ours, and we’ll soon be welcoming June Ormerod. She won first prize in our charity raffle. But she won’t have to travel far. In fact, June lives right here in Windermere!

She picked the winning ticket at our afternoon tea party to help raise funds for Lupus UK, the charity which is researching the causes of – and trying to find cures for – this rare and unpleasant condition.

Our guests at the tea party, and another at Windermere school, raised well over £1600 and we are very grateful to them all.

The second prize-winner is Jacqui Douglas, one of the mothers from the Windermere Prep School, who will soon be tucking into a box of local homemade chocolates from Shap. Our congratulations to you both.

Cedar Manor is the Best Hotel

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We are thrilled to announce that we are now officially the best small hotel in Cumbria. Cedar Manor won the title at the Cumbria Tourism awards ceremony in Kendal attended by representatives from all accommodation providers and tourist attractions.

The judges were looking for a hotel that could “demonstrate impeccable standards of accommodation and service”. Tick. They wanted to see that “customer care will be of paramount importance”. Tick. They wanted to see investment in staff training, the impact of the business on the environment, and links with the local community. Tick.

They clearly loved the style of our hotel, designed by the award-winning Alison Tordoff from Fidget Designs, and the high quality furniture made specially for us by Lakeland Fells Furniture in Windermere. The judges “mystery guests” must have enjoyed the meals in our exciting restaurant. And they were impressed by all the comments from our lovely guests whose kind words are keeping us at the top of the Trip Advisor charts.

But there will be no resting on our laurels. We now go forward to represent Cumbria in the North-West and then national awards, and we want to keep on developing Cedar Manor as the welcoming hotel that so many of you are appreciating. Here’s our trophy, presented by Haydn Spedding from the sponsors of this award, Colliers International, the commercial real estate experts.

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