Is it all a bit Squirrel Nutkin?
A Lake District hotel with a literary history now has a striking new
look. Beautiful or just a bit bonkers? ROGER BORRELL reports
It seems these days every hotel needs something special, something that makes it stand out from the crowd. A unique selling point, to borrow a phrase from the wonderful world of public relations.
If you need a distinguishing feature, then they don’t come much more distinguished than being the former home of the children’s author Beatrix Potter.
The Potters were regular visitors to Lindeth Howe, near Bowness, when it was a private
home and Beatrix illustrated some of her books there. She was smitten by the house and when it came on the market, like a good daughter with a few bob in the bank, she bought it for her widowed old mum.
That connection is gold dust to an hotelier. We all love Beatrix but in some countries they are seriously besotted, travelling halfway around the world to buy key rings with Squirrel Nutkin’s features embossed in plastic.
Nevertheless, it seems the owners thought the old place needed a little more oomph so they hired interior designers who spent three months conceiving a new look. A refurb of the downstairs lounges and bar – along with investment in the 34 bedrooms – cost about £1 million.
The owners describe the result as ‘bold’ and aimed at ‘broadening its appeal to visitors.’ You could also call it ‘busy.’ It no longer uses the words ‘country house’ to change ‘outdated perceptions’ about the place.
ABOVE: Fake ferns hanging from the function room ceiling. The style is ‘busy’