At times it can be easy to forget that we spend our lives surrounded by such majestic areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Nestled right in the heart of the Lake District, Waterhead Boutique Hotel and Bistro in Ambleside serves up the most idyllic of reminders.
The second you set foot through the door of this heavenly Lake District haven, the minutes and hours melt away.
Waterhead reopened in 2004 after an extensive multi-million pound refurbishment to become the Lakes' only four-star town house hotel. Classic elegance and contemporary sophistication seamlessly entwine for a memorable experience where time doesn't just stand still, it disappears.
Taking their names from local waterfalls, the hotel's spacious rooms boast tranquil surroundings, stylish en-suite bathrooms, the latest in multimedia technology and come with a selection of considerate complimentary gifts.
Getting up in the morning may well prove difficult but if you do manage it, a breakfast fit for a king, or queen, awaits. A never-ending selection of cereals, jams, juices, breads and meats, is laid out downstairs After grabbing an apple juice and a bowl of bran flakes, I had a quick look at the menu and wasted no time in selecting the Waterhead Grill. Preceded by a basket of mixed toast, the grill, comprising Cumberland sausage, grilled back bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, beans and an egg cooked to your liking, proved the perfect start to a busy day.
The hotel sits right at the top of Windermere. Surrounded by breathtaking panoramic vistas, it is a location that is as prime as it is prominent. Boat trips from the adjacent pier are an excellent way to traverse the UK's largest lake but you'll also want to be dusting off those walking boots.
Heavy legs replace heavy minds during a visit to the Lakes. Ambleside's bustling village is a mere 20 minute walk away and well worth a visit with its delightful little shops along with its outdoor activity centre boasting pitch and putt, crazy golf and tennis courts. Gentle strolls however can quickly become day-long hikes in these parts and with numerous trails dotted about the area there is always the temptation to explore farther afield.
And once that ravenous appetite has been worked up, Waterhead's award-winning AA rosette Bar and Grill is right on hand to help. Head chef Nick Martin brings more than 30 years experience to the kitchen with an abundance of knowledge helping to bring to life a fresh and creative menu high on local produce.
The 'Cartmel Valley' smoked duck breast with soused vegetable and pomegranate syrup was a delicious starter while the roast breast of corn fed chicken with roast potatoes, buttered greens and crisp pancetta to follow was sublime.
The drinks menu isn't too shabby either. There is a wide selection of cocktails to sample while if you're a bit of a gin fan, then local brand Bedrock is a superb choice...although maybe not if you're wanting that early morning start..
Dessert came in the shape of sticky toffee pudding with double jersey ice cream and butterscotch sauce. Quite simply incredible
Thankfully there's no need to start counting those calories either. Leisure club facilities including a 50ft swimming pool, spa bath, sauna, steam room, outdoor hot tub and fully equipped top of the range gym are available to use at Waterhead's sister hotel, Low Wood, a two minute drive down the road.
Despite Waterhead's opulent surroundings, this is very much a place to relax and unwind. Muddy walking boots are greeted with a smile as are wet pooches. Nothing is too much trouble for the courteous staff either who are friendly and helpful in equal measure.
They will not ring up and your ask your boss if you can have some extra days off work though...more's the pity.