The three iconic hotels in the Lake District in the last twenty years have been Sharrow Bay, Miller Howe and Holbeck Ghyll. David and Patricia Nicholson of Holbeck Ghhyll never quite became as well known as John Tovey of Miller Howe or Francis Coulson and Brian Sack of Sharrow Bay but in the end they have done something their rivals never achieved- they have sold up for a magnificent price. How magnificent I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to say in a public forum like this, but suffice it to say that no hotel in the Lakes has ever achieved half as much per room as they did. Their success was well deserved. David Nicholson was always immaculately turned out, but those who thought him rather snooty were well off the mark. I remember being taken aback when I was having lunch there one day seeing him appear in a pinny and he apologised for not being in the restaurant as he had to do the rooms because they were a chambermaid down. My other abiding memory is of the occasion, during a wine tasting in the hotel lounge, of seeing a young waiter enter the room with a full tray of glasses of champagne, trip over the rug and propel about 20 full glasses all over the assembled guests. The ever professional David was able to restore normality with two minutes.
Today I’ve enjoyed my first lunch at Holbeck Gyll since the new owners took over. They have inherited David’s chef, David McLaughlin. I’m relieved to say that the standards of food and service were as excellent as always. This video shows some of the dishes we had today.