One of the Lake District’s most iconic hotels, with breathtaking views of Lake Windermere itself, recently went through a £1.7m refurbishment – so we went to see what the new-look The Ro Hotel is like.
The national park is just a hop, skip and a jump from Manchester, making for a great bank holiday getaway in one of the world’s most outstandingly beautiful destinations.
The Ro Hotel itself sits high on a hill in Bowness-on-Windermere, just a stone’s throw away from the bustling town centre.
Once known as The Hydro, dating back to 1881, this grand Victorian building has been welcoming visitors for 142 years and is one of Windermere’s oldest hotels. It was purchased by Lake Merritt Hospitality in April 2019 and has since undergone a £1.7 million refurbishment.
The welcome is warm and friendly, with the Ro Hotel known for its inclusive hospitality and care. Our room is grand, with high ceilings and an outdoor balcony space overlooking the lake. It’s a gloomy day when we visit, making the view moody and dramatic, the sprawling hills looking like sleeping giants in the clouds.
The refurbished hotel has been decorated with a sophisticated elegance that is both comforting and luxurious. The beds are large and adorned with cloud-like pillows and snuggly duvets.
We had used the opportunity to visit one of Windermere’s local spas, an additional treat for my Mum on her birthday, and one of several fantastic options for things to do in the local town.
After settling into our hotel and a quick change, we headed to the colourful hotel restaurant, The Lacu. A small but grand space, beautifully decorated and home to a cherry blossom tree to dine next to.
The menu is simple and relaxed, with local ingredients being at the heart of each dish. They have a three course set menu for £35 per person in the evening, alongside the a la carte. There’s something for everyone, with Muncaster crab and smoked salmon salad, fluffy and indulgent twice baked cheese souffle and Cumbrian chicken breast with pancetta on a bed of buttery smooth mash. We opted for a bit of everything, including a scrumptious cauli cheese with a stretchy cheese pull to die for.
The Ro Bar has a number of classic cocktails to enjoy, or if you fancy stretching your legs, the town is just a few minutes walk down the hill with a number of great bars and pubs to choose from. We weren’t up for partying, so went back to our room for an early night.
There was a large family group on our floor at the time of visiting, but we wouldn’t have known as our space was so peaceful. We woke to another moody morning outside, but to be able to step out of our room onto our private balcony and look at that view was priceless.
Breakfast is an all you can eat buffet afair, with both hot and cold options to suit every taste. They even provided me with my own veggie sausages, which is always a plus in my books. I recommend getting to breakfast early though – the restaurant isn’t huge and most people’s stays include breakfast, so some found it tricky to find somewhere to sit. If you don’t mind waiting though, then enjoy that lie-in in your big, plush bed that you probably wouldn’t want to leave anyway.
The Ro Hotel really is open to everyone, with families and four legged friends all welcome here. So if you are looking for your next break with your partner, your family, or even just for yourself, make sure you put Ro Hotel on your list.
Featured image: The Manc Group
Travel & Tourism
TfGM confirms Metrolink strikes have been called off this weekend
Metrolink strikes that were planned across Greater Manchester this weekend have now been suspended, it has been confirmed.
With the tens of thousands of people heading to some of the biggest events in the city’s cultural calendar this weekend preparing for significant disruption due to planned industrial action on the Metrolink network, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Unite has now confirmed that these strikes have been called off.
Strike action was planned by Metrolink staff who are Unite members after the union said they “are angry” at only being offered a 5% increase on pay for a 15 month period, and proposed to move the annual pay anniversary date back from 1 January to 1 April.
Unite also said that starting salaries at Metrolink are “very low” – with tram inspectors starting from £20,000, drivers from £22,000, and engineers from £26,000.
TfGM had been warning that those making their way to major events, such as Courteeners and Parklife festival at Heaton Park, at Soccor Aid at Old Trafford, as well as to massive gigs the Etihad Stadium and AO Arena, should expect more disruption than normal over the weekend – with tram, bus, and rail services predicted to be “exceptionally busy”.
But now, it has been confirmed that strike action has been called off.
Metrolink said in a statement on its website: The Metrolink tram strike due to take place this weekend has been suspended, [and] services will now run as normal. If you have any queries, we will be available on Twitter from early doors until late in the evening.”
Talks between Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Unite have been taking place all week, and an improved – but undisclosed – pay offer was made yesterday, which will now be put to a vote by the the union’s members, with Mr Burnham taking to Twitter to explain: “I am pleased to say this weekend’s strike action on the Metrolink has been called off.
“I have been working to bring the two sides together and am grateful to Unite and KeolisAmey for reaching agreement on an improved offer that will now be put to members.
It is of course for Unite members to decide whether to accept this offer and we can’t pre-empt that, so strike action is therefore only suspended, but trams will be running this weekend and this is good news for everyone going to Parklife and other big events.”
Addressing the outcome of the talks and the proposed pay offer, Colin Hayden – Regional Officer at Unite – said in a statement: “Unite made it clear from the outset that Metrolink was fully able to make an improved offer and as a result of the intervention of the Mayor that has now occurred.
“Our members will now be balloted on the offer and they will decide if it meets their expectations.”
Despite the Metrolink strikes having been called off, TfGM is still advising that it’s “vital” for anyone heading to events this weekend to “plan ahead wherever and whenever you are travelling”.
Read the latest travel advice for this weekend on the TfGM website here.
Featured Image – TfGM
Travel & Tourism
Manchester Airport announces direct flights to Las Vegas from 2024
Manchester Airport has announced that passengers will once again be able to catch a direct flight to Las Vegas from next year.
The bright lights of the fabulous Las Vegas are calling.
When it comes to non-stop flights, those jetting off on holiday from Manchester Airport currently have over 169 exciting destinations in 50 countries to choose from – but now, you can add the party capital of the US to that list, as Virgin Atlantic has confirmed that its latest direct route from the Northern hub is Las Vegas.
The Nevada hotspot has always been a popular travel destination, not only because of its legendary nightlife scene, but also thanks to the fact it provides a gateway to the wide range of attractions in America’s West.
The stunning scenery of the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park, the Pacific Highway, and the major cities of San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles, are all within reaching distance from the desert city – which is presumably why Virgin Atlantic has chosen it as its next direct route from Manchester.
Starting from 2 June 2024, three flights a week will depart from Manchester Airport Las Vegas.
Flights to Las Vegas will operate on Virgin Atlantic’s newest Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, and will be added to the US routes already available through the airline from Manchester Airport to Orlando, New York, and Atlanta
The new Las Vegas route makes Manchester the only airport in the UK outside London to fly directly to America’s West Coast.
“It’s hugely exciting to see the return of Virgin Atlantic’s direct service to Las Vegas, which has always been one of our most popular long-haul routes,” Manchester Airport’s Managing Director, Chris Woodroofe, said of the new flight destination.
“As the UK’s global gateway in the North, it’s great to work with airline partners like Virgin Atlantic to connect the region directly to as many destinations around the globe as possible.
“I am sure this service will be really popular with passengers and we look forward to continuing our work with Virgin Atlantic to further grow its route network from its Northern home in Manchester in the years to come.”