THE PERFECT WEEKEND ESCAPE
If you are looking for somewhere to relax and re-charge the batteries after the hectic holiday season, a Valentine’s Day Bolt Hole or a treat for Mum on her special day then The Lawrence Hotel is the perfect answer.
A hidden gem this designer-led boutique hotel in Padiham, is like no other and is the ideal place to escape to for some rest, relaxation and pampering in great surroundings.
Originally built in 1821 as a grand house, doctor’s surgery, one up one down house and stables, with an extension added in the 1980’s The Lawrence opened earlier in the year after a massive restoration.
The hotel has been loving restored to its former glory retaining its grade 2 listed Georgian features by its owner Michael Huckerby – a man who knows quite a bit about hotels.
Michael has an impressive C.V. in the hospitality industry having worked at some of the most prestigious hotels in the UK. However it was Michael’s move to New York in 2014 that gave him the chance to stay at some of the most amazing hotels in the world and gave him the idea to open his own.
The Lawrence has four different types of bedrooms from snug to superior spread over the main house and stables, each room has its own individual interior design.
We stayed in the Aya Duplex suite the design of which was really something. The design was unusual but very chic mixing modern contemporary and art deco with rustic and antique.
I loved the upstairs bathroom with its roll top bath and exposed beams and a rainfall shower that was more than big enough for two.
The room had so many homely touches, you could see Michael had really thought about every little thing, including a sweetie jar of childhood sweets and an Amazon Alexa. There is also Netflix access, fluffy gowns and slippers and a super size king size bed with a Simba mattress for a great night’s sleep.
Michael and his team have a way of making you feel special. There’s a honesty bar and access to the courtyard with its vintage deck chairs and wrought iron furnishings which is well lit at night.
There’s a lounge area with board games and books just the place to while away a rainy afternoon and the great thing about here is its dog friendly so no need to leave Fido at home.
But if its pampering you are after The Lawrence has it too. You can pre-arrange in room beauty treatments and you can also book in room dining with a really tasty menu.
Breakfast at The Lawrence is an experience. Home cooked there’s a plethora of choice from the menu of local produce and you can even opt for a Bloody Mary with breakfast with or without alcohol.
The restaurant at The Lawrence is only open on specific days, but you can opt for pre-ordered in room dining or use one of their dining partner restaurants.
We wanted to see some of the surrounding area so opted for the Free Masons at Wiswell, which is about as country-pubified as you can get. You even have to leave your car at the bottom of the village and walk up as there is no car park.
It’s a typical type of village pub, stone floors, brasses and country craft furniture, though its overdosed with stuffed fox heads you can see one everywhere you turn – I just couldn’t avoid poor stuffed old Reynard.
We ordered our pre-lunch drinks and waited and waited because the staff were more concerned with serving regulars. Our soft drinks were sitting on the bar for ages whilst other patrons were being served. In the end I enquired and still had to wait until my partners cola was nearly flat before they were delivered to our table.
Eventually we were led to our table and started to order when an icy wind hit me. The door had been propped open. When I asked for it to be closed as it was freezing the server said told me it was for regulars who were too hot and it had to stay that way! So eventually we and a couple sat near by were moved upstairs.
As a regular restaurant reviewer I found the food on the menu rather adventurous for being adventurous sake. As if the chef thought the more tastes you put in a dish the better it is – not always the case.
Our starters eventually arrived and my soup of woodland mushrooms with a fondue of cheddar was not as hot as it should be and therefore the fondue was greasy.
For main I went for the roast loin of cod with savoy cabbage and a ham and parsley sauce and although it was obvious it was hastily put together or the server couldn’t negotiate the stairs, it was tasty and succulent.
My partners roast sirloin was served on a cold plate and without the cauliflower cheese. The beef was tough and Yorkshire pudding overcooked and burnt. All in all the course was a disappointment.
However the sweet course when it eventually arrived, I must admit was tasty and heaven on a plate with an Eton Mess and a Cheesecake with Passion Fruit Jelly. We both agreed it was the best part of the meal.
The Freemasons is let down by its service and attitude of its staff towards non regulars in fact we left the pub wishing we had booked in room dining at The Lawrence after what was not a pleasant experience.
Returning to The Lawrence was like coming home – it has that kind of atmosphere and it was still warm enough despite being an autumnal evening to sit out in the courtyard and enjoy a couple of nightcaps before retiring to enjoy the tranquillity and mod cons of our unique designer suite.
For more information or to book visit www.thelawrencehotel.co.uk
The Lawrence Hotel 26-28 Church Street, Padiham, Burnley BB12 8HG
Tel: 07921 684 742
The Freemasons, 8 Vicarage Fold, Wiswell, Clitheroe. Tel: 01254 822218