AN Award-winning, 5-star hotel is gearing up for a strong tourism season in the Lake District, following funding from The Cumberland Building Society.

Nestled in the heart of Bowness on Windermere, The Cranleigh Boutique aims to attract visitors to the region, offering them a truly ‘British experience’ where they can enjoy their favourite tipple in the sun while taking in the stunning landscapes the Lakes has to offer.

With The Cumberland providing a significant refinancing deal to The Cranleigh Boutique and its sister venues, Managing Director Steve Hargreaves intends to be a driving force for tourism across Cumbria. The Cranleigh Boutique offers a unique experience for visitors, giving them access to the ‘next-generation’ of luxurious accommodation with bespoke suites fitted out with the latest technology, cutting-edge design, and the largest air spa baths in Europe.

The hotel group provides a wide range of entertainment, with its sister venue the Lake View Garden Bar offering guests stunning views of Lake Windermere as they enjoy beer steins, specialised gins, or cocktails. Meanwhile, the hotel’s other venues in the area include The Fizzy Tarte, a luxury champagne and cocktail bar, and Baha, where guests can test their vocal range during karaoke.

With Steve, who holds 28 years’ experience in hospitality, harbouring ambitions to see the region’s tourism sector flourish, he sought to bring his lending, which was with multiple banking institutions, into one place so that he could plan more effectively.

The Cumberland’s work saw them structure a refinancing deal which consolidated finances across The Cranleigh Boutique and Lake View Garden Bar, giving Steve a single point of contact which would allow him to move more efficiently with future plans.

The refinancing will be used to further increase infrastructure and inspire growth with a view to further positioning the region as a must-visit area for tourism. With over 30 years’ experience of supporting businesses in the hospitality sector, the building society collaborated with Napthens Solicitors, based in Cumbria, on behalf of The Cranleigh Boutique to see the deal take place.

The Cranleigh Boutique was acquired by Steve in 2007 before he undertook a substantial refurbishment of the building to turn it into a luxury hotel which attracts thousands of visitors to the area each year. Throughout 2023 the hotel was recognised with numerous awards including Hotel and Social Certificate of Excellence and the TripAdvisor Travellers Choice awards.

Meanwhile, the rise of its sister venues has created regional jobs and provided a significant boost to the local economy. Moving forward, Steve is looking to develop staff accommodation at The Cranleigh Boutique’s premises in a bid to encourage more people into the hospitality sector and bridge the sector’s current employee-gap by providing them with a roof over their head.

Steve said: “The whole idea behind The Cranleigh Boutique is that we listened to what customers want and decided to give them that. Over the years we’ve seen a change in the way people wind down and we created a venue which accommodates this.

“They want to sit in the sun, listen to music, and enjoy a beer while over-looking the lake, before going to bed to a luxury state-of-the-art room.

“The Cranleigh Boutique’s family hits the right themes and that’s why people keep coming back, and this has a positive impact not just for us, but the other businesses around us. It’s great to be a part of supporting the local area by helping to pull visitors in.”

Speaking about working with The Cumberland, Steve added: “I’ve never dealt with a building society as efficient, friendly, and professional. I’m looking forward to a long-term, mutual partnership moving forward.

“I didn’t have much faith in banks but The Cumberland have been fabulous.”

Steve added: “The guidance from Napthens to ensure everything went smoothly was top notch in every department, I can’t thank them enough. Along with The Cumberland, it just shows what can be achieved when Cumbrian businesses come together to support each other.”

Andy Gibson, Relationship Manager at The Cumberland said: “Steve has vast experience of the hospitality sector and The Cranleigh Boutique really is a stand-out venue.

“We’ve seen the fantastic efforts of Steve and everyone at the hotel to create an experience for visitors which will see them returning time and time again. Naturally, this has a hugely positive impact on the area as a whole.

“The whole refinancing process was incredibly simple, with thanks to Napthens, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Steve. We look forward to seeing The Cranleigh Boutique flourish moving forward.”

Yasmin Blamire, a senior associate solicitor from Napthens, who acted on behalf of Steve alongside colleagues Jamie Allison and Cheryl Hood, said: “As a Cumbria firm we pride ourselves on helping the wider business community thrive and deliver prosperity for the region.

“We are delighted to guide Steve’s family business as it supports the wider Cumbria tourism industry and provides vital income and jobs in the area.

“The whole process of simplifying the business finances of both The Cranleigh Boutique Hotel and Lake View Garden Bar, was made easy by the collective efforts of everyone involved, in particular Steve and The Cumberland.

“It’s great to see Cumbria businesses supporting each other, and it means these two key hospitality venues can be around for a lot longer, serving customers from far and wide, and introducing them to everything Cumbria has to offer.”

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