Andy Mossack samples a new type of luxury B&B, the type that has thought of everything before you get there.
Kirkby Lonsdale is a little town that looks like it’s come straight out of central casting’s location services under the heading charming, historic, and well to do. Perched between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales it really is a perfect place to base yourself for exploring some of England’s most captivating scenery. Scattered around the delightful market square you’ll find a clutch of high-quality retailers, inns and eateries set inside 17th and 18th-century buildings.
Within such esteemed company, you’ll also find Absoluxe Suites, a new four-suite B&B that promises a completely different experience to anything you’ve ever tried before. Created by well-travelled owners Zuzi, Carol, Tim and Phil, their mantra is simple; to give you a luxurious experience that includes everything you’ll ever need to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
They started by acquiring one of those Kirkby Lonsdale historic buildings and proceeded to transform its interior into something quite extraordinary. Fortunately, they had two other businesses between them that could provide some essential support. One that provided high-end state-of-the-art bathrooms, the other fitting out homes with cutting edge technology like mood lighting, top of the range sound and TV control. With the added help of a talented interior designer, the Absoluxe story came into being. Four exquisite travel-themed suites where each portrays one of the four corners of the world: Europe, Africa, The Americas and Asia.
Europe is symbolised by The Parisian Suite, echoing the impressionist paintings of 19th century Paris. A homage to feminine pink with chandeliers, velvet upholstery, a carved four-poster king bed and a free-standing copper bath. Africa is represented by The Oasis Suite, lush greens of a Congolese jungle canopy here with African art, a mock zebra rug and its own hot tub in a private terrace area.
Asia is reflected in The Orient Suite a space where yin and yang are harmoniously balanced in bold red tones and black and gold furniture. There’s another private hot tub terrace (or should I call it an Onsen perhaps?) and plenty of feng shui. Finally, the New World is characterised by the Columbus Suite, a penthouse space with a nautical theme and suitably impressive views across the Yorkshire Dales. There’s even a vintage-style brass telescope to help you capture the landscape in close up glory.
All the suites have king-size Hypnos mattresses, 400-thread Egyptian cotton sheets, pillow menus, luxury bathrobes, Bath House toiletries, free minibars, Nespresso machines, ironing boards with irons, free wifi, automated blinds, hairdryers, massive flat-screen TVs with amazing sound and mood lighting controls.
Breakfast is included of course but ingeniously, the owners have partnered with the Sun Inn, no more than five minutes’ walk away, who recently won an AA best breakfast award. Shrewd move that. Why bother trying to cook on-site when you can partner with an expert who’ll do it better?
I loved the sound of Absoluxe, but would it stand up to scrutiny? Did it really have everything you could ever want in a luxury stay?
With the promise of the Columbus Suite awaiting my adventure began with a COVID friendly self-check-in. A text arrived with the front door entry code so I parked outside, offloaded the luggage, opened the front door, unloaded my bags and retrieved my keys and parking permit for the nearby car parks (only one suite has on-site parking). That accomplished, I made my way up to the Columbus Suite, right at the top, but the climb was worth it.
It was an amazing space by any stretch of the imagination.
A very spacious main room in brown and cream tones was dominated by a huge bed against the back wall facing a raised platform with a large brass telescope pointing out of the large windows at the rolling hills beyond. Another wall was covered with a vintage map of the world, whilst the opposite wall was adorned with ship’s wheels. The shag carpet was thick enough to sink into while a distressed leather couch, one of those lovely soft deep ones, had two stars and stripes cushions politely placed on each side. The enormous flat-screen TV (which came on by itself as I entered the room) was tuned to a soft jazz radio station and sounded like the band was right in there with me. Gorgeous audio.
But there was more. Around a corner a dressing area with plenty of wardrobe space and a dressing table with (shock) a mirror and power outlet for a hairdryer! I have stayed in many fancy hotels where this simplest of needs is overlooked.
Leading off the dressing room, a beautiful charcoal tiled bathroom with thick fluffy towels, a copper sink, good size bath complete with an indulgent head height TV and a separate monsoon shower.
As first impressions go this suite had the wow factor!
Back in the main room, I had a fully stocked free mini-bar with wine, beer and nibbles and a healthy tube of Nespresso pods and teas.
But there were more surprises to come. Touch panels changed the lighting theme and operated the window blinds, and I particularly loved the way soothing sounds materialised from hidden speakers whenever I stepped out into the main hallway. It was a genius touch.
Part of the fun of being away is to get the lowdown of the area from locals, and Absoluxe provides a small dossier of the owners’ picks for the best restaurants, pubs, walks and areas of interest. I was delighted that the Black Bull in Sedbergh was in there as it was my destination for dinner that night.
Absoluxe also has a number of additional packages to complement the basic rate to offer an even more indulgent experience. Everything from bubbly and chocolates to fresh flowers and rose petals on the bed.
After a deep and restful sleep in a bed that was the size of the New World, and a sumptuous VIP breakfast the next morning at the Sun Inn, I can only congratulate Zuzi, Carol, Tim and Phil on creating a very special property.
One I’m almost positive Columbus himself would have loved to explore.
Tell me more about Absoluxe Suites in Kirkby Lonsdale.
The Parisian and Columbus Suites start from £220 per night, The Orient Suite starts from £340 per night and The Oasis Suite starts from £390 per night.