10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Very mixed experience
"Visited Red Lion a few years ago and decided to return for a long weekend and much needed rest. On this occasion, I've travelled alone and therefore chosen a hotel I was familiar with. Quite disappointed. On arrival I couldn't find a parking space and was informed that I would need to park in the village which was free until 10 in the morning by which time I may find a space in the hotel car park. This wasn't the case so decided to go for a drive anyway. Returned to the hotel at 4.30, no spaces. Couldn't find a space on the road and drove round the village until I gave in and paid for parking in the middle of the village. Had to later move the car closer to the hotel or I'd have to pay an overnight charge and once again would have to be moved by 10 in the morning. As a lone traveller, I did not want to eat in the pub on my own so opted for food in the "Lounge and Bar" only to be informed that the menu did not apply to the lounge even if I wanted something simple. Whilst staff are not rude or unfriendly, they do not appear to want to put any effort into making my stay enjoyable. Room is adequate, nothing special, lounge is very spacious and pleasant. I've never posted a review of anything before, but feel that others need to be warned what to expect. Shame really because with a little more effort, this hotel would be ideal in terms of location and price."
- Travel date: Sat 3rd of November 2012
Lovely, Welcoming Hotel in heart of the Lakes
"My partner and I have just returned from a lovely weekend away at The Red Lion Hotel in Grasmere.
Our room was the Coleridge Suite (magnificent views from the window). The room was very spacious and comfortable. When we arrived the room was a bit cold, however when we rang reception to ask about the heating, they informed us that it was due to come on shortly. A few minutes later a member of staff rang back to check that the heating had come on, this impressed us both!
We ate in The Lamb Inn on the first night (good pub food) and the second night in the Courtyard Restaurant, the waiting staff were very prompt, if maybe a bit too quick!
The leisure facilities were excellent, the swimming pool and jacuzzi being empty on the two occassions we used them.
I would definately recommend The Red Lion Hotel, and if visiting Grasmere again, would stay again without hesitation."
- Travel date: Sun 12th of February 2006
Idealy placed for walkers
"We stayed for a week at the Red Lion Hotel late January, 2006.
We were late in arriving, but after settling in, we had a first class bar meal in the Lamb Inn, which is part of the Red Lion complex.
The room was cold on arrival and we could not get the built in heater to work, but a fan heater (supplied) soon sorted things out, a welcome dip in the Jacuzzi bath and we were settled for the week.
The views of the mountains from our room were spectacular.
The breakfasts can only be described as very good and plentiful, with all tastes catered for. We had an evening meal but found the service, perhaps a little to quick, we were in and out in less than three quarters of an hour for a three course meal, no complaints about the food, but felt it may have been prepared earlier, although it "appeard" fresh.
We have always gone to different restaurants for evening meals where ever we have gone, so dont think that by us using this restaraunt once, means it is not up to scratch. Passing judgment on anything is always subjective.
The pool and gym facilities are very good, new and all working, the steam room is a must after a long day's walking.
In short, a restored building that has kept it's character, very comfortable and warm, very helpful staff throughout and would stay here again, but, the car park is woefully small which lets the Hotel down."
- Travel date: Wed 1st of February 2006
Great Hotel but agree with catering comments
"Stayed for 2 nights over the weekend in early Jan 06. It is a lovely hotel, very welcoming and extremely well laid out. The pool area and gym / sauna facilities are really good and the rooms are warm, clean and comfortable.
The Breakfast is brilliant, a well stocked bar of all kinds of tasty things and they take your order for the cooked bit so it is as fresh as it can be.
Very weird then that the evening meal leaves so much to be desired. it really just is not up to standard for the price so we cancelled our meal for the second night and went to Saras Bistro nearby which was amazing. I would advise anyone to do that anyway."
- Travel date: Tue 17th of January 2006
Will be back
"Okay.... So we got 2 crystal clear days for walking in December. Old Man of Coniston achieved. Good value flights with Ryanair to Blackpool. Good value car hire with Hertz. And we based at the Red Lion in Grasmere. Best value of all. Great rooms, lovely staff, substantial breakfast before a 5 hour climb, jacuzzi bath on return ( AAAGGGHHH ), full bellies after decent bar meal, and watch Man Utd win with a nice few bevvies.
Mr. Kent Man...I know you're from the garden of England, but don't go overboard about the veggies. I have been served Carrotts, Broccoli, etc. in the so called garden of Ireland, and couldn't break them down with the front bucket of a JCB digger !! Grasmere is a beautiful village, and the Red Lion plays it's part admirably.
In conclusion, my brother and I are giving serious consideration to investing a decent sum to acquire a property in the area, which we would use on a regular basis, with a view to cementing our walking world with the prosperity and decency of the people of Grasmere.
A very Happy Christmas and New Year to all at the Red Lion and Grasmere, and keep up the good and unfussed work.
Martin & Pat."
- Travel date: Sat 24th of December 2005
Tips for a Good Stay at the Grasmere Lion..
"I know the Red Lion very well as I have stayed there on a number of occasions, and I agree with the Man from Kent for writing to express his views. We need to let hotel managers know how things could be improved.
Mr Atkinson is a very nice man and he will do whatever he can to ensure the guests enjoy their stay, so im guessing any people who dont have a nice stay never mentioned there was anything wrong until here, so it could not be remidied.
The rooms are warm, so i left the window open when i went out for the day, you can always warm the room with the fan heater they provide in the rooms.
The pool is lovely and the same depth the whole length, there is a good variety of Gym equipment too.
The bar is well stocked, and the staff are very pleasant.
The only thing which is letting it down is the dining room, a bit hit and miss, the menu is uninspiring, maybe a well placed rocket up someones behind would sort it out and the Red Lion would be a Great all-round hotel.
There are bar meals served in the "lamb inn" and these are probably the best bet, or there are other hotels serving non-residents."
- Travel date: Fri 26th of August 2005
A memorable stay
"I don't normally bother writing reviews of places we go but after just returning from 2 nights in the Red Lion I felt I should share our experience. We had gone to Grasmere to celebrate my 40th birthday and it was perfect. The hotel was lovely and the staff very friendly and efficient. My partner had arranged for champagne and chocolates to be delivered and found the staff most helpful in keeping it a secret.
The pool was an absolute god send as it was such hot weather while we were there, there were never more than 5 people in the pool and it was a lovely way to end the day.
The only problem we had was the room was too hot but it was exceptional weather. A fan in the room would have been perfect - we should have asked for one as I'm sure they would have obliged.
The room was clean and the jacuzzi bath a real treat.
We ate in the Jumble Room one night which is a fantastic little restaurant round the corner from the hotel, the food was beautiful and the service first class.
The second night we went to the Glass House in Ambleside and had another fantastic meal.
A lovely way to spend a special weekend and one I won't forget."
- Travel date: Thu 14th of July 2005
"We stayed at the hotel to go to a wedding in Cockermouth. Lovely setting in the Lake District with hills all around. Great welcome and lovely room for a reasonable price. Parking is a bit restricted but it's the same anywhere in Grasmere. Dinner on Friday Night was excellent - best venison I have ever tasted. The after dinner coffee is help yourself in a massive residents lounge. It's the first hotel I've been in where the bathroom mirror had been anti mist treated - great for a shave after a shower!"
- Travel date: Sun 29th of May 2005
Food not fit for a dog
"This was a difficult one. Had we never eaten at the appalling restaurant, we might have accepted that everything apart from our pokey room was pretty good here - the public spaces were fine (very attractive and most comfortable) and their were a lot of nice touches such as a bowl of fresh apples for residents and copious coffee and choccies in the lounge. The staff were extremely helpful and friendly.
However, one cannot escape the very clean but poor bedroom (despite the jacuzzi jets in the bath) and most of all the dire food in the Restaurant for the evening meal. Breakfast was fine, though one has to comment that a previous reviewer here must have either blinkers on or not have been to many decent hotels to go overboard about this aspect. It was indeed a nice breakfast with lots of fresh bacon etc but no way was it comparable to some we have enjoyed in the Lake District.
I can better explain my view of this hotel by copying part of my letter of complaint to the owner -
To Geoff Atkinson,
Red Lion Hotel,
Red Lion Square,
LA22 9SS. 30th May 2005.
Dear Geoff Atkinson,
Back home again in Kent and I have decided to write to you following further mature reflection regarding our recent overnight stay at your hotel.
Firstly, thank you very much for tracking me down â it was really appreciated that you cared enough to make the effort. It is clear from the conversation that followed, that you are keen to maintain good customer relations and your offer of a free repeat meal was also appreciated. Sadly, we were unable to accept. I am sure that you attempt to run a tight ship and it is with that in mind that I feel empowered to write to you. I have discussed this with my wife and she wholly agrees with the sentiments expressed below.
I should first say, that usually when we make an overnight stop in The Lake District we stay at the Old Vicarage in Witherslack. It is an excellent small hotel with a superb dining room and in particular provides memorable magnificent breakfasts. Their charges are perhaps on a par with yours, if anything slightly lower.
To justify what follows I would make the point that the nature of our business means we very often find ourselves in hotels in UK, sometimes for as long as week or more.
No amount of explanation by yourself can mask the fact that this restaurant is something out of the dark ages both in dÃ©cor, standards of service and most importantly in the quality of food offered. The menu itself, is a clear indication and as I have mentioned in my review to a specialist website, had we not arrived so late, we would have taken time out to check it before booking. And then we would not have eaten there.
I shall try to run through the problems as we experienced them.
1. The look of the restaurant is old fashioned and uninspiring. Despite being called âCourtyardâ, it had no outlook, which seemed misleading and was disappointing. The menu was unappealing and again very old fashioned.
2. Though the restaurant was three quarters empty we were taken to the only table crammed in between everyone else. Very little space either side. A not very intelligent or professional approach by the waiter.
3. We ordered and before we had broken into the bread (we think less than one and a half minutes later) the main course arrived. It was dire. A thick slab of grey meat concealed under a congealing glutinous layer of sauce. It bore absolutely no resemblance to venison either by sight or taste. I cannot see how you and your chef can excuse that! Under any circumstances. The accompanying vegetables were totally inedible, an absolute disgrace. Surely cooked earlier and then reheated. Just not acceptable in this day and age. We cannot think of words so derogatory as to do justice to what was put on our plate for us to eat. You may think we exaggerate. I know we do not!
OK the Reception and Public area staff, were very pleasant, the bottle of wine we ordered was good, the coffee and chocolates flowed in the comfortable lounge and breakfast in the morning was fine. Our room though â 103 - was pokey and very tired (though very clean) but we are not specifically complaining about that.
Now you, Geoff, tell us that you get few complaints. OK maybe that is true. British people are notoriously poor at complaining. Also â and I know that this sounds pompous - looking at your mainly elderly guests and what they had on their plates (most of them didnât seem bothered at the dreadful vegetables they were eating, the same ones as we had just been offered), I am frankly not convinced that many of them would know the difference between freshly prepared high quality food and micro-waved meals. Believe it or not, often, even we cannot be bothered to complain. One gets battered down by the low standards everywhere and it takes something really atrocious to get even us to make that effort.
To conclude. This is just not good enough. Maybe you are catering for the sort of people you attract. I just donât know but I can tell you, that we have now stayed at the Old Vicarage maybe seven or eight times and recommended it to my whole business mailing list and dozens of friends, many of whom have in turn recommended it to their own friends. I know that as a fact.
How can you attract the right sort of customers, the ones with better taste and willing to spend on good food if you drive people like ourselves to eat at Dale Lodge just down the road, where we had a very good meal thank you and were shown some lovely rooms including delightfully renovated public spaces.
Guess where we would stay next time we opt for Grasmere?
We urge you to get rid of this chef (no compromises) and do something about the look of the restaurant and the content of the menu. Grasmere is such an attractive village it deserves quality places to stay in and eat.
Cc Best Western Hotels"
- Travel date: Sun 29th of May 2005
Loved the Red Lion
"I went to the Grasmere Red Lion for a mid week break at the end of November 2004 after the hotel had been recommended to me by friends.
The hotel is inviting, staff are welcoming and friendly. My room was large, had a jacuzzi bath (at no extra cost) and was lovely & warm at all times from the central heating. The pool and spa at evening time were deserted and gave me the chance to chill out after hard days walking out in the fells.
The breakfasts at this hotel are fantastic and I will definitely be visiting this hotel in future.
Grasmere itself is a charming little village which has few tourists in at Winter time, providing walkers with a great opportunity to explore the area in peace and quiet."
- Travel date: Tue 7th of December 2004