Following the successful launch of Dappers Bar in 2011, the rest of George Hotel in Penrith has been brought up to date too, with classic new décor, lights, carpets and cosy seating. The fabrics and furniture were chosen from the manufacturer’s latest samples, creating a look that will appeal to all ages and where the phrase “meet me at the George” will extend to a younger audience too. The verdict from the first guests through the famous revolving door was relief that it still felt like ‘The George’ and delight at the new lighter, more modern classic look.
The refurbishment cost around £150,000 and took six weeks to complete - the hotel remained open throughout and there are now just a few bedrooms to finish. Justin Wales General Manager said “our regular guests have been very supportive all the way through and we were pleased they kept coming in. The whole of the ground floor has been refurbished and we knew we had the Winter Droving and our first Christmas parties at the weekend as our deadline to finish the work and launch our new lounge and Christmas menus. We were ready two days early.
The new festive menu includes fireside warmers like Cumbrian Rare Bit with streaky bacon and festive chutney served on a muffin as well as Turkey Broth – a house special and a hearty favourite with our guests. New dishes also include the festive Pheasant, Ham and Cranberry Pie, and for pudding there’s Winter Fruit Sherry Trifle and Sticky Ginger Pudding to name just two.”
Head Chef Philip Cook has also created a special winter menu to celebrate the opening of the new look silver toned Devonshire Restaurant. Focusing on local ingredients his dishes still include traditional favourites like the char grilled steaks, but new more inventive dishes have also been created including a Pork Wellington (pork fillet encased in puff pastry with a mushroom duxelle and chicken and duck pate) and the Penrith Pepperpot - a smoked sausage and bean casserole. To share, there’s the Fleetwood Catch – a fish stew served in a silver cauldron with fennel bread.
It’s not just the hotel that has had a face lift as Justin explains, “it’s the customer service that stands out at the George – so we wanted to make sure our team had a new look too. Their new uniforms were a surprise, but they love them.”
One thing that remains unchanged is the cake display with festive treats and four variations of luxury cheesecakes; it’s synonymous with the George and some traditions should never be altered. Normal service has now resumed, with food served daily 12-2.30m and 6-9.30pm in what is still Penrith’s most iconic of establishments.