Two Cumbrian hotels have scooped awards for top international hospitality at Mayfair in London, beating off stiff competition from across the rest of the UK and Ireland.
The Hazel Bank Country House Hotel at Rosthwaite in Borrowdale was named Best Small and Exclusive Property at the 2018 Conde Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence.
While The Sharrow Bay Hotel on Ullswater took the title of Best Waterside Hotel at the 36th annual awards held by the global travel guide publisher, which also produces Vogue, GQ and Glamour magazines.
The Conde Nast Johansens Awards celebrate excellence across recommended properties and act as a trusted mark of quality recognised by consumers and travel professionals alike.
Gary MacRae, who owns and runs the Hazel Bank with his wife Donna, said:"It was very humbling to be called up on stage in such elite company and at such a prestigious London venue to collect an award from Conde Nast Johansens, who are the most respected name in the world bar none for independent travellers.
"I don't think either of us ever dreamed we'd be bringing a trophy back to the valley from a grand event like this in Mayfair when we started out in hospitality!"
The awards are based on responses from online voting, guest feedback and local expert reports from hotels featured in Conde Nast Johansens' guides and online.The winners received a framed certificate, a trophy and a bottle of Champagne Taittinger.
The judges were impressed that the Hazel Bank, which is hidden away in four acres of grounds, had been "immortalised in Hugh Walpole’s Herries Chronicles as the protagonist’s idyllic Lake District home."
They also commented on the late-Victorian house's dramatic setting in the heart of Lakeland, referring to it as a "peaceful seven-bedroom sojourn, close to the market town of Keswick, serene Derwentwater and epic Borrowdale valley and fells.”
The Sharrow Bay was labelled "an English Lakes legend" by judges, having been heralded as the first country house hotel after its launch in the late 1940s by Francis Coulson and Brian Slack. "Idyllically located directly on the lakeshore at the foot of Ullswater’s wild and quiet Eastern Fells, the panoramic views from here are utterly breathtaking," the judges added.