The Ro Hotel: a dog-friendly retreat in the heart of Bowness-on-Windermere in the beautiful Lake District
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Add a crisp glass of Pinot to sip in the spring sunshine on a brand-new hillside terrace at a four-star hotel and it provides the best place to admire such picturesque surroundings.
There's always something special about the Lake District, where quintessential days out meet weekend adventures and family holidays, and our dog-friendly stay at The Ro Hotel in the sprawling tourist town of Bowness-on-Windermere was no different.
Our two-year-old greyhound Jojo is no stranger to hotel stays, but setting paws on a boat was one thing she'd never experienced. With check-in still a few hours away and Bowness Pier just a short plod down the hill, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to test her sea legs.
Purchasing a 'Freedom of the Lake' ticket with Windermere Lake Cruises is a great way of exploring the area's untouched beauty, allowing you to take as many boat trips as you please in a 24-hour period on any voyage from Ambleside, Brockhole, Bowness or Lakeside.
Stepping onboard MV Teal in Bowness, we opted for the 'Yellow Cruise', a relaxing hour-and-three-quarter round-trip to Lakeside, and with the dog settled and fresh air brushing across our cheeks, a feeling of contentment swept upon us as we marvelled at the breathtaking scenery.
Jojo's first experience on water was a big success and with the afternoon temperature rising a post-sail paddle in the harbour to cool off was the least she deserved.
Checking in at The Ro, we were directed to one of the hotel's dog friendly rooms which was conveniently located on the ground floor close to the hotel entrance, and for the rest of the afternoon the time was ours to do as we pleased as we chilled with a bottle of fizz underneath the cool air con while Jojo slept off the day's exertions.
There was plenty of space for the three of us to relax in the room, which had an artistic decor and an array of modern amenities including en-suite shower, flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi, eco boutique toiletries, mini-fridge, a safe and handy coffee machine ideal for that all-important morning cuppa.
After a quick shower and spruce-up dinner at the hotel's Lacu Restaurant was calling and as we were shown to our table in the dog-friendly bar area we were delighted to see the outside doors had been flung back to reveal the stunning Lake District scenery no-one could tire of.
The food was delicious too, with my wife enjoying hearty menu choices of sticky pulled pork topped sweet potato and a sumptuous rib-eye steak, while I opted for the lighter, but equally tasty parsnip soup and poached salmon with mussels which was enhanced with a dash of caviar and herb and white wine sauce. Neither of us could resist the epic Sharrow Bay sticky toffee pudding for dessert, which was topped with a mouthwatering butterscotch sauce.
As for Jojo, she was happy snoozing by the table while soaking up the evening rays, with a bowl of water and a few dog biscuits on hand to keep her refreshed and full.
For some guests the surprisingly warm weather meant 'full al fresco' was the only way forward, with many occupying tables on The Ro's new outdoor terrace, whether it was for food, afternoon tea, drinks with friends or a simple morning coffee while reading the newspaper.
For those on the move the hotel offers a takeaway 'pack-up’ lunch of sandwiches, crisps and pastries, an ideal option for guests wanting to continue their outdoor adventures, but also for those, like us, facing a long journey home.
But before hitting the road there was time for one last stroll around Bowness, this time keeping our feet and paws firmly on dry land with a visit to the local flea market, purchasing the obligatory souvenir Christmas decoration, before nipping into the town's Village Inn pub for a lunchtime pint.
For a hotel stay this one was short and sweet, but if you're looking for a Lake District base with stunning views in a great location, which also welcomes our four-legged friends, you can't go wrong with The Ro.
Rooms at The Ro start from £166. For more information or to make a booking visit www.therohotel.com
A 'Freedom of the Lake' ticket with Windermere Lake Cruises costs £30 for adults, £15 for children and £82 for families. For more information and other fares visit www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk/