Hotels

Stay Here: The Malabar, Cumbria

For all tea enthusiasts or individuals who love a mug of Rosy Lee – The Malabar is really a boutique B&B nestled between two of Britain's most breathtaking national parks, serving luxury loose-leaf tea directly to your bed. Yes, please.

The Malabar: The Lowdown

On the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, at the end of a narrow country lane, lies a concealed blend of cultures; a little slice from the British Raj in Southern Cumbria.

The Malabar is a converted 18th century traditional stone barn, framed by the picturesque Howgill Fells and adorned having a unique variety of antique Asian furniture. It's the personal assortment of owners Graham and Fiona, who've lived and travelled extensively across the globe.

Along having a design-forward mixture of rustic and luxury, there's a big focus on tea. Both Graham's father and grandfather were tea planters in Kerala, therefore it is no surprise the cuppa is held in high regard. Loose leaf 'Bed Tea' is delivered to your bedroom door each morning at the time you request, while outside every room is really a wooden bureau with kettles, teapots and various luxury blends that guests are free to brew. There are even glossy books and posters about the history of chai.

But tea isn't the only thing which will perhaps you have stirring. Encompassed by verdant fields and rolling hills, this B&B is an ideal base for walkers and those seeking to explore a truly beautiful corner of the country. The Winder Fell, an hour or so climb directly behind The Malabar, offers spectacular views of the Yorkshire Dales, while the Lake District can be reached in 15 minutes by car.

The Malabar: The Rooms

There are just six rooms in the Malabar. We stayed in 'Camellia' (the biological name for the tea plant), a large and classy double-room, full of art deco tables and switch of the century Indian armchairs, searching onto the Winder Fell.

A supremely comfortable super king bed comes with a cashmere mattress that regulates the body temperature while you sleep. Even more impressive is the luxurious exposed brick bathroom, with walk-in shower, freestanding pastel yellow bathtub and native, natural products.

The Malabar: The meals (…and Tea!)

On arrival, afternoon tea is served, there is however no Yorkshire Gold in sight here. Instead, 12 different loose-leaf brews form the tea menu, including those from China, Sri Lanka and India, served alongside local cakes and scones. Try the 'Malabar House Blend' (it seems rude to not), a mix of Darjeeling and Ceylon teas, that's light and floral – a great pick-me-up following a 4 hour drive from London. The bespoke chai blend can also be among the finest you'll taste outside of India.

Non-caffeinated teas take presctiption offer for individuals who don't wish to stay up through the night (and like to sink into those wonderfully soporific beds). Best of all is the excellent 'Pillow Tea', a calming chamomile-lavender-rose mix created by Fiona.

Breakfasts are a perfect mixture of Cumbria and India, with ample vegetarian options. Think porridge with jaggery, local venison with spiced scrambled eggs, Assam tea alongside traditional Punjabi lassis. The downside is that breakfast is the main meal available at The Malabar. Thankfully the Three Hares restaurant in nearby Sedbergh (two miles away) features some truly exceptional cooking, showcasing the best of local, seasonal ingredients.

Back at The Malabar, for a nightcap there's a very fairly priced honesty bar, with craft beers from the local microbrewery, a wide selection of gins, whiskies and wines. Or you might relax and sample another of those 12 varieties of top-notch loose-leaf teas…

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