The opportunity to experience the beautiful Joules Suite at Another Place hotel came about following a kind invitation from Joules.
Joules is fast approaching a milestone birthday: the big 3.0, in fact. Celebrating all that has made this brand so popular – its patterned wellies now a coveted lifestyle in their own right – the team at Joules have spent the past year throwing parties galore.
With spring spent swimming in the balmy waters of Cornwall and a summer dedicated to drinking fizz at Burleigh Horse Trials, this September it was decided that the celebrations should move to a more autumnal setting: the Lake District.
Surrounded by rugged mountains and stone built villages, there’s perhaps no better place suited to Joules’ ‘outdoorsy’ philosophy than here. Indeed, it’s here, by the dark waters of Ullswater, that the brand has even designed and styled its very own suite, snuggled within Another Place hotel.
With summer already beginning to fade – my dahlias in their final throws of life – we needed little persuasion when asked if we’d like to join the celebrations. With promises of bracing outdoor pursuits, cosy dinners and some indulgent pampering, we hastily headed north; our suitcases overflowing with autumnal knits and trademark wellies.
Last time we visited the Lake District we travelled by car. From Milton Keynes, the journey should take approximately four hours. However, with traffic, this extended to nearly six hours – a fairly long slog if you’re only heading north for a short break.
This time, we therefore decided to be a little savvier and travel to the Lake District by train. With a direct train to Penrith from London Euston, (via Virgin Trains), all we had to do was hop on at our local station and relax. A mere three and a half hours later and we were delivered into Penrith’s stone built station; a watercolour landscape stretching out ahead of us.
As the Lake District is fairly difficult to navigate without a car, we’d encourage you to hire a car at Penrith. Enterprise car hire will even collect you from the station and take you directly to their office – keeping things nice and simple. Prices start at £30 a day for a small car.
From Euston station, a return ticket to Penrith will set you back £110.
Walking out of Penrith station, past a small coffee van roasting beans and a procession of passing umbrellas, we found our way to our waiting taxi. Climbing in, condensation already fogging the windows, we were driven the short 15 minutes to our home for the next few days: Another Place, The Lake.
Winding through country lanes, our taxi driver told us that we were headed to one of the newest hotels in the area; its sister hotel now well established in Watergate Bay, Cornwall.
Nestled within 18 rolling acres, with the clear waters of Ullswater lapping at its gardens, Another Place, The Lake, is a boutique hotel with a difference.
An ‘activity-based’ hotel, Another Place offers guests the chance to immerse themselves in the Lake District’s famous landscape, whether that be via bracing open lake swimming, sailing, paddle boarding or a bit of life-affirming rambling.
However, this determinedly outdoorsy outlook does not mean that the hotel is stark or barren. Instead, it is filled with Cumbrian inspired – and thoroughly modern – decor, from wool throws to roaring fires, thermal flasks to lines of waiting welly boots.
Effortlessly blending its wholesome outdoor persona with a penchant for luxury, the hotel also boasts a spectacular spa and indoor pool (complete with misty lake views), alongside a first class restaurant.
It is, in short, the sort of hotel that the Lake District has been missing.
Surrounded by leafy fells, trails of lingering mist and a smattering of raindrops, we made our way from the taxi to the hotel’s grand entrance; porcelain tiles leading the way. Inside the handsome Georgian house (the original hotel) and amongst cosy sofas, an open fire and piles of waiting kindling, we were met by the Joules team; three smiling faces snuggled in cosy knitwear.
“Welcome to the celebrations”, they said – giving us a hug.
“And welcome to the Lake District”.
Walking past the hotel’s impossibly cosy looking library – newspapers, scrabble boards and solitaire covering every surface – we were swiftly checked in and led straight to our room.
Located in the hotel’s newly completed ‘Contemporary Wing’, situated above the swimming pool and spa, our new home was tucked away in a quiet part of the hotel. Classified as a ‘Family Suite’, the room was not only light, airy and beautifully appointed (complete with bunk beds in a separate room) – but decorated with Joules accessories.
Indeed, prior to our arrival, the Joules team had been busy – leaving behind a vibrant display of flowers, wellies, sugary soft throws, blankets, toiletries and even mugs; every item decorated in that distinctly Joules-esque design.
Whilst 20 of the hotel’s rooms (situated in the original house) are relatively traditional, the rooms in this newly finished wing are undeniably contemporary, filled with soft furnishings that wouldn’t look out of place in a West Elm showroom.
Discovering a jar of teacakes in our room, alongside Cumbrian farm-fresh milk and tea, we made a mental note to return to this beautiful place as soon as possible.
Double rooms at Another Place, The Lake, begin at £160 year round, including breakfast.
Whilst the Lake District is perhaps Joules’ natural habitat – a place for muddy dog walks and paintbox coloured raincoats – the brand had another reason for throwing their 30th birthday celebrations here: their newly opened Joules Suite.
Over the past year, the creative team at Joules have teamed up with Another Place, The Lake, to create a sumptuous, contemporary and wholly welcoming haven of textures, palettes and furnishings.
Curated by Joules’ Art Director, Hannah Coates, the Joules Suite at Another Place hotel is a vision of grey blue walls, mustard yellow furnishings and towering ceilings. Designed to mimic the suite’s surroundings – the green of the nearby fells and the comforting darkness of its forests – the space is not only undeniably beautiful, but a veritable retreat.
Whilst the room currently reflects the brand’s own Autumn/Winter 2019 palette – a triumph of tweed, wool and autumnal hues – it’s expected that the suite will change with the seasons, reflecting Joules’ own changing style.
The Joules Suite begins at £395 per night, including breakfast.
For the duration of the celebrations, the team had decided that the Joules Suite at Another Place hotel should be a communal space: a place that we could all enjoy.
The room also gave the team a good excuse to showcase Joules’ latest initiative: its marketplace (or Friends of Joules).
Having partnered with over 100 independent creatives and retailers, Joules recently took the plunge and launched a new online marketplace: one that doesn’t feature their own goods, but instead promotes the beautifully designed and hand-crafted goods of some of our country’s most talented small businesses.
To celebrate this, the Joules Suite had therefore been filled with these products; every inch of it heaving under pastoral artwork, felt animals, delicate jewellery, bespoke stationery and delicately scented bubble bath.
We could have easily lost an hour or so browsing the lovely items here and will be sure to explore more of the online marketplace once we’re home.
Having checked into our rooms and explored every imaginable inch of the Joules Suite, it was time to regroup over lunch.
Over bowls of steaming hot soup and melting grilled sandwiches, we finally had the chance to properly meet one another -including both the Joules team and the other ladies attending the celebrations.
With the atmosphere getting perhaps a little too cosy – an afternoon nap calling – it was soon time for Joules to shake things up a little.
Our paddle boards awaited.
One of the Lake District’s smaller and lesser visited lakes, the banks of Ullswater can be directly accessed from the hotel. It’s here, via the hotel’s Sheep Shed, that guests can access (free) wetsuits, hats and boots.
The rain now falling fairly steadily, we headed to the shed before zipping up and walking tentatively down to the water’s edge. Our instructor watched us with a smirk: “it’ll be refreshing, if nothing else”, he called.
After a brief interlude of hobbling and screeching, we eventually clambered onto our boards – ready to commence 90 minutes of paddle boarding. As we were guided through the finer points of SUP, we gently glided over Ullswater’s dark depths; taking in the surrounding fells in a blissful silence.
Despite a few falls and brief encounters with masses of tangled seaweed, the lesson was truly fantastic; offering not only stunning views of Ullswater, but providing a healthy dose of the great outdoors.
SUP lessons at Another Place cost £30 for 90 minutes.
After showering away the remnants of the lake, the Joules team had yet another birthday surprise: an evening trip on the Ullswater Steamers.
Offering guests the opportunity to take a peaceful ride on a beautiful heritage boat (a steamer) as it navigates eight miles of Ullswater’s mesmerising waters, the Ullswater Steamers are something of celebrity throughout the area. Indeed, they have been a familiar sight on the Lake’s waters for 160 years.
With evening fast approaching – the moon now illuminating the fells’ peaks – we drove the short distance to the boat’s little harbour; our steamer ready and waiting. Wrapped up warmly in my new Joules knitwear (complete with obligatory wellington boots), I boarded the boat to find a warmly lit cabin, filled with bottles of chilled Nyetimber wine.
Over the next hour, and after several toasts to celebrate Joules’ birthday, we toured Ullswater as night fell; our cabin now a sea of scarves, rain jackets and hats. Over glasses of sparkling wine we compared our various wellington boots and wax jackets, watching as Ullswater disappeared behind us.
The next morning, and after stealing ourselves away from yet another visit to the Joules suite at Another Place hotel, the Joules team shared with us their plans for the day.
In true Joules style, the plans would, of course, entail more hearty outdoors adventures – this time in neighbouring Windermere.
A forty minute drive later and we arrived in the chocolate-box town declared to be the jewel in the Lake District’s crown. The largest lake in England, Windermere has long played host to ramblers, artists, poets and philosophers; offering a place to reconnect with nature, escape the demands of real life and – on most occasions – battle the wet Cumbrian weather.
With our newly acquired guide leading our merry procession of red anoraks and crayon yellow bags, we headed away from the town and towards Orrest Head – a fairly gentle twenty minute hike away.
Winding our way through quiet lanes and up past upturned roots, we had the chance to not only test out our new Joules walking boots, but to shake off the fog of the previous night’s sparkling wine.
Eventually we reached the top to find Orrest Head hidden behind a blanket of mist and low lying fog.
Apparently offering one of the best views in the region – including of Windermere to the west and the coast to the south – this popular viewpoint affords some spectacular sights, including views of the looming Scaffel Pike.
Unfortunately, and due to the damp Cumbrian weather, the views on this particular day were largely obscured. However, with a picnic each in hand and a beautifully cool autumnal breeze, it was still an idyllic place to sit and admire the Lakes’ rugged beauty.
With our dirty wellies now hung up to dry (and after a brief pit stop at Joules of Ambleside), we were deposited back at our hotel.
It was time for a spot of pampering.
The hotel’s spa – known as ‘Swim Club‘ – is described as a ‘collection of secluded spaces to relax and be active’; a description that perhaps doesn’t do the space justice.
With floor to ceiling views of Ullswater and its dark ferns, the area is stylish, peaceful and immaculately presented. With a small sauna, an outdoor hot-tub and a glittering pool, it’s an idyllic space to relax after tackling mountainous trails.
Very kindly, the Joules team had booked us in for a short 30 minute treatment – with the choice of either a massage or facial. Taken into two beautifully appointed treatment rooms and spritzed with a ‘reviving’ concoction of lemongrass and peppermint, I spent 30 blissful minutes trying to stay awake as my therapist worked the knots from my shoulders.
It was nothing short of heavenly.
What better way to undo any relaxation than by plunging into a shockingly cold lake?
Having floated back to our rooms after our massages, Claire and I – a little naïvely – decided we should seize the opportunity to fulfil one of our bucket list activities: a wild swim. Having heard rave reviews about the positive impact (both physically and mentally) that wild lake swimming can have on individuals, we were eager to give it a try.
As mentioned, Another Place hotel are keen for their guests to fully embrace the great outdoors; offering free wetsuits, hats, buoyancy aids and boots; something we took advantage of.
Now, I cannot lie – the first few moments in the water were a shock to the system. The water felt like ice and with the sun already disappearing behind the surrounding mountains, the lake felt almost unbearably cold. However, after making a concerted effort to move and splash around as much as possible, the cold faded – becoming almost bearable.
After thirty minutes and we couldn’t feel the cold at all; our cheeks pink and hands tingling with adrenaline. It was the most incredibly refreshing experience and one that comes highly recommended.
Climbing out of the lake just as dusk settled over Ullswater, I hoped that Joules would be proud of us – its life affirming philosophy of a life lived outdoors was clearly one that we had embraced in its entirety.
Wetsuits and all.
Our final night in Ullswater was marked by a distinctly Joules-inspired soirée.
Heading downstairs to the hotel’s beautiful Library and we were met by flickering candles, glowing lamps and sparkling glasses of gin and tonic. “To Joules”, we toasted, sampling the brand’s newly devised apple and pear gin, in partnership with Warner’s.
It tasted just like autumn.
After a short introduction to the gin (and a glass or two of it), we were shown to the hotel’s restaurant – the Rampsbeck Restaurant – where a beautifully decorated table and balloons waited. Framed by bouquets of flowers and a carefully made garland, it was the perfect setting for our last night together.
Over a delicious three course meal and wine, we chatted about the adventures over the last few days and our exploration of the Lake District – rain and all.
Looking around as the night drew to an end – everyone dressed in their Joules finest – I realised just why this brand has become such the success that it has. More than just a retailer, or a fashion outlet, Joules is a lifestyle – a family in its own right.
And after a celebration like this? I hope to stay part of the gang for a long time to come.
Our trip to explore the Joules Suite at Another Place hotel was a gifted press trip and included some gifted outfits.
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