The Rothay’s re-birth
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