The hotelier, who moved to the Lake District to open Hipping Hall 10 years ago, told BigHospitality the purchase of Forest Side in Grasmere ended a long search for the perfect Lakeside property.
“I always wanted a property in the heart of the region and it’s taken a while to find one that’s perfect,” he said.
“I think this will be the last one I buy. I always wanted three hotels. I like the idea of having three of them working together in tandem.”
The Victorian property, which has a secluded pathway to poet Wordsworth’s house, is currently undergoing a £2.5m renovation before opening this summer as a 21-bedroom hotel with a ‘romantic feel’.
Wildsmith has taken on Kevin Tickle, who worked for Simon Rogan as sous chef and head forager at L’Enclume and head chef at Rogan & Co, as head chef of the hotel’s 45-cover restaurant.
Tickle, whose wife works at Wildsmith’s Bowness-on-Windermere hotel The Ryebeck, will create a menu featuring ‘challenging but memorable dishes’ using produce from the region, together with a biodynamic wine list.
Wildsmith also hopes the kitchen will be able to use produce grown in the property’s walled Victorian garden.
“Kevin’s style of cooking is very natural and very clean and we really liked the way he presents his food, so he was a natural choice to lead our restaurant,” he said.
“Our aim is to create a hotel and restaurant that stands out on a national level and I hope we can achieve this as we have with our other properties.”
This year will also see the addition of a further five bedrooms at the 10-bedroom Hipping Hall and further renovations of The Ryebeck.