For Kieran’s mum’s birthday last week we celebrated by renting out a hot tub lodge at the newly opened Darwin Escape’s, Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat. It only opened last winter at the end of 2016, with the aim of renovating what was a campsite, into luxury holiday lodges in the Lake District. It was the perfect spot for a birthday celebration for Kieran’s mam, who had people from all over the place wanting to celebrate with her, including Pheobe the dog.
Getting there and Location
Kieran and I went on the Sunday – Tuesday night, and from Newcastle the drive took under two hours. Located on the hillside just twenty minutes from Keswick, the drive was easy and we found the retreat no problem. CA13 9SY in the sat nav – FYI.
It’s actually pretty big, but you wouldn’t have a clue from the road, it’s well hidden among the natural landscape, and once you’re down in your lodge you feel miles away from anywhere. You’re in the heart of the Lake District, with easy access to all the Lakeland hotspots known for walking, activities, and beautiful landscape.
Derwent Water is nearby, as is Keswick and a bit further on there’s Ambleside. All the things you want from a Lake District break can be accessed while staying at Keswick Reach Retreat.
Kieran’s mum and sister were already there when we arrived, and we pulled up outside number 27. There are over 100 lodges there, all suited to different size groups, and with different amenities depending on your preference. We had a hot tub and a fabulous view, others were by the small lake, some were dog friendly, others weren’t, some were hidden deep in the trees, they literally cater for everyone. There’s plenty of parking too, and they keep track of all number plates so it’s pretty secure.
Our lodge had the hot tub on the outside terrace, as well as a big table and outdoor seating. Inside was a very spacious open plan living room, complete with fire, TV, and lots of seating, a dining area with a table that sat 6, and a kitchen with island and bar stool seating too.
There were three bedrooms, one double with en suite, and two twins that shared a bathroom. It was modern, but still had a very country cosy chic feel to it.
By the entrance were plenty hooks and shelves for all your outdoor clothing and walking gear, as well as a cupboard for storage.
The front of the lodge was floor to ceiling windows, giving stunning views out and letting lots of natural light in. I have to mention the sofa, which was so comfortable and perfect for an afternoon nap which we had every day we were there.
Then there’s the hot tub. Out on the terrace and sunk into the decking, the hot tub was huge and amazing. A maintenance guy looked after it every day, so it was literally just a case of switch on and hop in whenever you felt like it. Perfect with a drink at any time of day when the rest of the world were at work.
Onsite Bar & Restaurant
After a glass or three of prosecco, and giving presents we went for lunch at the onsite restaurant. There was 8 of us, and we had a table booked at the Copper Fells Bar and Brasserie.
Located in the main building of the resort, you pass through reception to the more casual bar area, an open fire and a rustic atmosphere welcome you in, in an area where dogs are welcome and you can enjoy anything from a coffee in the morning, to bar meals at night.
The restaurant area is through the bar and out the back, with a glass wall facing over the hillside. Dogs aren’t allowed in this area, as it’s not as casual as the bar. It was Sunday so we all enjoyed a three course Sunday dinner. There are set prices for two or three courses, with plenty choice for each course. I was that hungry I didn’t get a photo of my dinner, but I did get one of my Greek salad with feta, olives and sun dried tomatoes.
Staff were very friendly, and went the extra mile to help us celebrate by handing out glasses of complimentary champagne, and they’d decorated the table for us. They allowed us to bring our own birthday cake for the celebrations too.
As well as the bar and restaurant, they also offer a takeaway service, so one of the nights we ordered from the bar menu and it was all boxed up for us to take back to the lodge. Despite being fully self catered sometimes you just want dinner made for you don’t you, especially in the Lake District if you’ve had a full day out in the great outdoors, or if like us you’d spent the day drinking and relaxing in your luxury lodge.
Dog friendly – like most places in the lakes it was dog friendly, and they were allowed most places with the exception of the restaurant. There’s a dog wash outside if yours tends to get dirty.
Spa – there’s an onsite spa, with a full brochure of treatments available, as well as a sauna and jacuzzi. We tried to get in for some massages but we left it too late to book, so my advice would definitely be to do this in advance. Kierans mum and sister both had back massages later in the week and said they were very relaxing.
Gym – none of us used the gym facilities because naps were had and alcohol was drank, but they do have a gym if you wanted to use it. It’s fully equipped and has lockers, and you can get a full induction with staff if you want to use it.
Entertainment – The lodges come with a selection of board games if you want to go back to basics with Cluedo or Trivial Pursuit. There is also wifi, and you can purchase movies through the TV.
We spent a lot of time relaxing in the lodge as it was such a nice place to be. We dipped in and out of the hot tub, made home cooked meals together, stuffed our faces with sweets from the Keswick sweet shop, and played with Phoebe. When the weather was good we got up early and it was lovely to sit outside with a coffee before devouring Kieran’s mum’s full english!
It felt like a lot longer stay than just a few days, and I’d definitely go back both with family or with a group of friends. The weather was great for our first few days but rained on our last, but even that didn’t put a dampener on it. It’s definitely got to be expected in the Lakes and it didn’t affect our time there at all, the lodge was warm and cosy and I imagine would be amazing in winter too.
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