Premier Hospitality

Forest Side

Forest Side

Major Make-over for Forest Side

Located in Grasmere, Cumbria, Forest Side is a stunning hotel in the form of an original Victorian building, boasting bags of history and authentic beauty. The hotel recently underwent a multi-million pound make-over which began in 2014 and completed in time for Christmas 2015.

The 20 bedroom hotel was wholly refurbished and remodelled, with new floors and a new raised roof, in addition to being rewired and re-plumbed. The dining experience is now something really special with completely re-designed kitchens and a large, airy dining room that has been extended into the garden. There is also an extensive walled vegetable garden being planted for the sole use of the hotel.

Working on the interior design aspects at Forest Side, Mackies of Lancaster is the home of UK designer James Mackie, and resource for everyone interested in interior design, fine wallpaper, decoration, paint, fabric, curtains, blinds and upholstery. James Mackie and his design team ensured their high quality and timely services were delivered with each and every design project.

Premier Hospitality caught up with James Mackie, Managing Director of Mackies of Lancaster, to discover some more on the hotel’s refurbishment. James said:

“The interior design took place through November, with a lot of pressure on us to meet the deadline – the plan was to open for Christmas!

“The hotel owner also has two other hotels, one of them being Hipping Hall – a 5* boutique hotel and eatery located near Kirkby Lonsdale, with an enormously positive reputation. Although Forest Side is bigger, it certainly has all the spirit of an exquisite boutique hotel.”

James commented:

“The owner and I got together at the start of the project, full of excitement – we had a great partnership, and we decided that the key watchword would be ‘romantic’: in the biggest sense of the word. The Victorians loved romanticism, if they built a house they would often try to evoke their idealisation of past history, calling on the fables like King Arthur or the grandeur of the Gothic – this was no different; the hotel has a castellated tower, it sits in these big romantic gardens, with walks that lead up to the hillside, and it is beautifully situated. Obviously, we had to be true to that.”

Featuring beautifully recreated stonework where the extension has been built, the attractive detailing is visible to onlookers. The hotel has a real sense of understated luxury – it remains opulent but not flashy, with touches of pure drama in some of the communal areas. Guestrooms are stylish and chic; however Forest Side allows the building to be what it is, with an appreciation for the architecture and stunning gardens.

“All the carpets in the bedrooms and upstairs were made by Wools of Cumbria with Herdwick wool – a wonderful wool intrinsic to the Lake District – encouraging trade in the area, as well as the use of a great product and a great story to tell.”

A striking staircase leads from the main entrance to the higher level, adjacent to walls adorned with a retro and unique feature called Lincrusta that James was determined to introduce.  Lincrusta is made of putty and creates deeply embossed patterns on walls, a product that has been in existence since the 19th century, and produced in nearby Lancaster.

When asked what it meant to work on the project, James replied:

“The chance to work again with Andrew on another of his hotels was really exciting and I think building on the success of Hipping Hall through to a bigger development in such an exquisite landscape, was such a great opportunity to do something special.”


Forest Side


Wools of Cumbria

Wools of Cumbria produce 100% pure wool natural and over-dyed carpets and rugs made specifically from the three main sheep breeds of Cumbria, namely Rough Fell, Swaledale and Herdwick. The company works directly with all of its clients. Projects are mainly domestic but they also work with commercial clients on supply of carpets and occasionally tiles, but these are mainly bespoke over-dyed shades – as in the case of Forest Side.

Premier Hospitality caught up with John Barraclough, to ask a few questions on the company and its involvement with the project on Forest Side. John commented:

“We have been in operation since 2008 – however prior to this I was involved in the spinning of these wools into carpet yarns for more than 20 years. With regard to Forest Side, we supplied a Brown over-dyed Herdwick carpet for the 27 bedrooms and a Purple over-dyed Herdwick carpet for stairs and landings.

“This represents the largest single contract of one sheep breed wool with which we have been involved. It is particularly relevant to the promotion of the use of Herdwick wool as one of the most hard-wearing wools available for carpets at a time when the breed has become familiar to visitors to Cumbria and increasingly throughout the UK. Our main aim is to increase the use of this wool to the point where the price rises to a level which makes it financially-viable for the farmers to shear their sheep and get more of the wool to market.

“As a company we pride ourselves on being able to use these natural wools as stated above and making a product out of them with no chemical treatments which is all processed within 100 miles of the centre of Cumbria.”

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