Travel: Brompton lodges, near Richmond, North Yorks

Roy Stephenson wanted to create a holiday destination where nature and contemporary design could blend seamlessly, and this he has achieved with five-star finesse in Brompton Lakes, a development of 20 eco lodges on the edge of two lakes fed by the River Swale in North Yorkshire. Each lodge has been built to exacting green standards with luxurious interior design by Rosie Mennem (whose celebrity-sprinkled CV includes commissions for Nicole Kidman).

The lodges feature full-length balconies stretching over the water and the convex roof provides a base for a carpet of sedum. This works as an added layer of insulation and helps the roofs blend into the countryside. Adding to the award- winning eco credentials is a geothermal heating system that extracts solar energy from the lakes to provide hot water and underfloor heating. The abundance of birdlife is testimony to the sensitive landscaping and the lakes are well stocked for fishing enthusiasts.

Wining and dining?

There is no shortage of restaurants and country inns in the area but the kitchens in the lodges are so swish you won't feel aggrieved if you lose the toss for who cooks dinner. The kitchen in our lodge, Isabella, was a sleek, black, high-gloss affair with composite stone worktops and an island unit that housed the halogen hob. There's also a large barbecue on the balcony or, for the ultimate treat, you can arrange to have your own chef for the evening so you can enjoy a lavish dinner party without lifting a finger. Whoever cooks (and weather permitting), the balcony with its views over the lakes makes the perfect spot for dining al fresco.

Budget or boutique?

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Boutique all the way. The kitchen, dining and living area are all open-plan and enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows that stretch the entire length of the lodge to maximise the natural light and views of the lakes. The wooden floors have underfloor heating, and a futuristic revolving log-burning stove forms a funky focal point in the centre of the lounge. Each lodge's interior design is individual, but the website has a good gallery to help you choose (or at least narrow down your choices).

Room service?

The beds were large and exceptionally comfortable with crisp, white linen set against a backdrop of striking designer wallcoverings. Sumptuous furnishings and a spacious en-suite with double-ended bath and double shower completed the oasis of calm.

Worth getting out of bed for?

There's plenty to do on site with fishing right on your doorstep, plus a tennis court and boules pitch. There's also an abundance of historic houses, galleries and museums in the area, while family days out include the highly entertaining Forbidden Corner, an incredible labyrinth of tunnels, chambers and follies full of cryptic clues and surprises, all cleverly created on a country estate near Middleham. Our son also really enjoyed the all-weather Big Sheep, Little Cow farm at Bedale, where highlights included feeding the lambs and the Woolly Jumper play barn. Also near Bedale is the exhilarating Aerial Extreme high rope adventure course.

Little extras?

Having recently stayed at a self-catering lodge where the advertised welcome tray and several other essentials were nowhere to be found, it was lovely to find a hearty welcome hamper awaiting us at Brompton, overflowing with deli-style fare and local produce. Cots, highchairs, fireguards, barbecues, fishing on Brompton's lakes, tennis, boules and use of mountain bikes are all free of charge, and the bathrooms are well-stocked with Gilchrist and Soames toiletries.

Guestbook comments?

The ultimate best of both worlds – a chance to go green and get back to nature in idyllic surroundings while enjoying boutique chic at every turn. A word of warning for husbands, however – the interior decor will fuel some pretty hefty wishlists when you return home. Prices start at 296 for two nights in a three-bedroom A-type lodge or 317 for the slightly larger B-type lodge. Brompton Lakes, Easby, Richmond, North Yorkshire (01748 850333,