Travel review: The hotel owned by Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson

Rockliffe Hall Golf & Spa Hotel offers just about everything you would want from a luxury break, writes Chris Burn.

Rockcliffe Hall.
Rockcliffe Hall.

The five-star Rockliffe Hall Golf & Spa Hotel already offers the chance to get away from it all to enjoy a life of luxury but has recently spent around £750,000 on the creation of a new parkland development called Mischmash to attract more families. The new area includes an adventure play area and tennis courts, as well as themed play pods for children of all ages, a games room and a cinema. Childminding services are also available, while during the school holidays activities like falconry and golf coaching are on offer.

Location: Set in the quiet village of Hurworth close to Darlington and near to the North Yorkshire border, Rockliffe Hall dates back to the 19th century and opened as a hotel in 2009, with the luxury resort now including an award-winning spa and an 18 hole golf course.

Ambience: Rockliffe Hall brilliantly manages to strike a balance between providing a luxurious and refined getaway with a welcoming atmosphere that allows you to feel comfortable in your surroundings.

Accommodation: The resort includes 61 bedrooms, of which 12 are family rooms. Inside the leafy grounds, there are also four houses with four bedrooms each, offering the chance to say on a self-catering basis.

Food and drink: A la carte meals are served in The Brasserie, while it is also possible for guests to book in for a unique tasting menu experience in the evenings that have been created by executive chef Richard Allen in The Orangery. The 4AA Rosette restaurant offers the opportunity to try either six or ten-course tasting menus and it is also possible to add wine pairing to complement each course with drinks carefully selected by head sommelier Daniel Jonberger. It is an experience not to be missed. The hotel also offers the opportunity to have a private wine tasting session with Daniel in its cellar, suitable for everyone from wine buffs to absolute novices. Falling very definitely into the latter category, my wife and I had a very enjoyable and informative hour learning from globe-trotting Daniel about his favourite wines and the stories of their production.

What to do: The location offers an ideal base for exploring both the North Yorkshire countryside and the North-East coastline. Nearby attractions include The Forbidden Corner, on the Tupgill Park estate filled with quirky statues, water features and tunnels. It is also within driving distance of The Beamish Museum, a popular open air museum which tells the story of life in North-East England in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Worth writing home about: The hotel’s spa is an absolute standout and is one of the largest in the country. In addition to the 20m swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool and various heat treatment rooms, guests also have the option of booking into the ‘Spa Garden’, which includes an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the grounds, as well as a glass-fronted sauna and heated relaxation loungers.

To book: Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa, Hurworth on Tees, Darlington, County Durham, DL2 2DU.

Prices start from £210 per room per night for bed and breakfast.

Phone: 01325 729999. Web:

Concierge tip: The hotel is owned by Middlesbrough FC owner Steve Gibson and the club’s training ground sits adjacent. Don’t be surprised to spot a few players using the hotel facilities.