From the moment you arrive at Seaham Hall, you realise it’s no ordinary hotel.
The stately Georgian house - Lord Byron was married here in 1815 - has been turned into a five star boutique hotel, set in 37 acres of delightful gardens in a stunning cliff top location overlooking the sea in the heart of Billy Elliot country on the Durham Heritage coastline.
Its rich and charming history is woven into the fabric of the hotel. Dine in Byron’s restaurant and the romantic poet’s portrait adorns the wall, there’s even a supremely luxurious Ada Lovelace suite named after the daughter of Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke.
We were warmly welcomed as soon as we stepped over the threshold and shown to our executive suite - the hotel’s mantra is ‘it’s all the detail’ and the staff certainly lived up to it. Nothing was left to chance to make sure we had a fabulous stay.
The suite was colourful and contemporary but extremely tasteful and it’s no surprise to find out the hotel has won top awards for its first class facilities.
One of the main attractions of Seaham Hall is its Serenity Spa. If you’re looking for some serious relaxation, this is the place to go. It even has its own restaurant, Ozone, which serves Asian-style food.
We changed into the robes and slippers provided in the suite and went along the underground walkway - complete with water features and an elephant sculpture - that takes you from the hotel to the Thai-themed spa.
The spa has a sense of peace that’s instantly relaxing. It’s a destination in itself, but hotel guests have free access to the facilities, which include a 20-metre pool, steam room, sauna, gym, hydrotherapy pool and outdoor hot tubs.
Treatments cost extra - I had the Ytsara Skin Drink facial. It was a fabulous treat for someone who just about manages to slap on some moisturiser every morning. The hour-long treatment used 100 per cent natural Ytsara products and left me feeling 10 years younger! After a swim in the pool, a visit to the steam room and dip in the hydrotherapy pool, it was time to head back to the suite to get ready for dinner.
Byron’s restaurant is spectacular - with sparkling chandaliers, velvet chairs and a stylish bar. The service is superb - attentive but not over the top - again, the attention in the detail.
We ate from the a la carte menu, I had dry aged heritage beef and my companion chose the duck. Both were sublime and packed with flavour. We rounded off the meal with a selection of cheeses with home made biscuits and chutney, all washed down with a bottle from the restaurant’s extensive wine list.
Unsurprisingly, the Seaham team have come up with some sophisticated ideas for guests visiting over the summer.
You can indulge in a grown up ice-cream cabin on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer and choose between an array of creatively-flavoured regular ice creams, boozy liquid nitrogen ice creams, and a range of enticing frozen cocktails (or mocktails).
There’s also the summer seaside afternoon tea - with treats including classic sandwiches, cakes featuring candyfloss, colourful ice cream sundaes – accompanied by a bottle of Taittinger Rosé Champagne.
For exceptional indulgence, the Spiffing Seaside Escape package has all the bells and whistles. This two-night stay includes a day’s hire of a vintage Jaguar E Type, together with a luxury picnic hamper, a map of nearby hidden gems and scenic picnic spots and entrance to the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle if you’d like to sample some culture. Coupled with accommodation in a suite, dinner at Byron’s Restaurant on the first night and full use of the spa, this really is the way to indulge yourself. The Spiffing Seaside Escape costs £1,500 (based on two people sharing), subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply for car rental and you can take advantage of this until September 30.
Seaham Hall - just a 90 minute drive from Leeds - is featured in Tripadvisor’s 2016 Travellers’ Choice Top 25 Small Hotels in the UK and Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the UK, and additional current accolades include Spa Manager of the Year in the Boutique Hotelier Awards, Editor’s Choice Spa in the Good Hotel Guide, Five Bubble Luxury accreditation by the Good Spa Guide, and Gold in ‘Small Hotel of the Year’ at the North East England Tourism Awards.
Seaham Hall is one of the best hotels I’ve stayed in, perfect in every way, and it’s clear the staff work hard to make sure everyone who visits has a first-class experience.
For more information, call Seaham Hall on 0191 516 1400 or visit www.seaham-hall.co.uk