The Rothay’s re-birth

Lancashire Life - - Food & Drink - WORDS: Mike Glover Š PHOTOGRAPH­S: Mil­ton Ha­worth

Fam­ily hol­i­days in the Lake District sparked a love af­fair with the Rothay Manor Ho­tel which has now been re-kin­dled

Jamie Shail never for­got his stay at Am­ble­side’s Rothay Manor Ho­tel at the ten­der age of four.

‘It’s strange what you re­mem­ber from that long ago, I very clearly re­mem­ber sit­ting on the stairs (af­ter be­ing put to bed) and lis­ten­ing to the adults hav­ing din­ner. I was sit­ting just far enough down to oc­ca­sion­ally hear my fa­ther’s voice,’ he re­calls.

Nearly four decades later the ho­tel came up for sale for £2.4 mil­lion, and Jamie, by then aged 40, and his wife Jenna, de­cided it was the per­fect busi­ness to buy.

The cou­ple had been run­ning a lux­ury chalet cater­ing busi­ness in Cha­monix in the French Alps for 15 years, but wanted to re­turn to the UK to fur­ther their ca­reers.

Jamie had been com­ing back to the Lake District ev­ery year, with his mother Irene’s pas­sion for the area rub­bing off on him. And when he met Jenna, he took her to the Lake District. The cou­ple are out­doorsy types and love the run­ning, cy­cling, swim­ming, walk­ing on of­fer in the area.

‘In those far off days, Rothay Manor was con­sid­ered one of the three fine din­ing ho­tels of the Lake District, up there with Miller Howe and Shar­row Bay. We hope to reach those stan­dards again,’ Jamie says.

Their first move was to spend more than £1 mil­lion ren­o­vat­ing the din­ing room, lounges, kitchens and 19 be­d­rooms. They have also put in a new ter­race. Be­ing a Grade II listed build­ing, dat­ing back to 1823, means the out­side is only al­lowed a fresh lick of paint.

As Lan­cashire Life went to press, the Shails were wait­ing to see if they get plan­ning per­mis­sion for an ex­pan­sion. They have al­ready moved from be­ing a three-star to a four-star ho­tel, and from hav­ing two

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