The Spa Hotel Review: Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa, Northumberland, UK
Review: Nichola Hirst
Doxford Hall is a grand 200-year-old country mansion situated in one of England’s finest counties, Northumberland. With an abundance of beauty spots, land-marks and coastal countryside, it’s no wonder the Northumbrian coastline had previously been voted ‘Holiday Destination of the Year ‘in the BBC Countryfile Awards. This is the only hotel in the county to be awarded the AA’s most enviable rating of four red stars. Sympathetically renovated and restored, this Georgian building is set in ten acres of private estate and features the impressive, super-sized, Yew Tree Maze planted by local school children in the year 2000. You can enjoy and walk around the maze which takes around 25 minutes to complete.
There are 31 bedrooms over nine categories, including two lovely ground floor rooms (which are great for disabled access), also the boutique-style Coach rooms featuring exposed brickwork and beams, Deluxe suites with a contemporary vibe, and the decedent Four-Poster suites. All rooms are decked out with bespoke furniture, and some with free-standing baths. Some rooms are allowed to host our doggie pals too. Also situated in the hotel’s estate grounds are two Grade ll listed and self-catering cottages; Head Gardner’s House (accommodates six people) and the North Lodge (accommodates five peoples) both of which are ideal for family breaks.
We were staying in the rather grand, Four-Poster room which had sweeping views of the manicured gardens. The large bathroom had Molton Brown toiletries (a firm Groomed & Glossy favourite!). Bath robes and slippers added to the super-luxe hotel feel.
After dropping our bags in the room, we sat down to enjoy a cosy Festive Afternoon Tea (which ran through the Christmas period) in the Grand Georgian room which had comfy couches and roaring open fires. We relaxed and enjoyed a festive afternoon tea of mini sandwiches including beef and caramelised onion chutney, turkey and cranberry, stilton and white grapes, and smoked salmon and cream cheese. The sumptuous sweet bites of dark chocolate and orange tart, pumpkin spiced latte pannacotta, mini mince pie, pistachio macaroon with vanilla cream, homemade cranberry & orange and all butter scones with preserve and clotted cream were AMAZING, and of course all these treats MUST be accompanied by copious servings of the finest English Breakfast tea.
After donning our robe and slippers we headed to the hotel’s Ystara Spa, where we were greeted by a lovely receptionist who confirmed our treatments and sat us in the waiting area. The spa compromised of many treatment rooms, swimming pool, spa baths, steam room and sauna. The spa treatment menu had some serious contenders to offer the ultimate in relaxation therapy and after many hours prior to my visit, mulling these over (yes HOURS – spa treatment selecting is a serious task, not to be rushed), I had opted for the Warm Bamboo Anma treatment (a whopping 90 mins); a massage therapy which uses heated bamboo to tackle cellulite, tone muscles and detoxify the organs.
I was taken to my treatment room which was cosy and warm where I was given a consultation. The therapist started with the back massage using a herbal poultice that helps melt away tension followed by the warm bamboo rolled over specific areas incorporating the Ystara Sculpting oil to detoxify and fight cellulite. This was a very relaxing full body treatment that left me feeling calm, sleepy, and ready for a chill in the pool and sauna. My friend, not wanting to be left out of all the pampering fun, choose a ZenSpa pedicure followed by a mini manicure; this refreshed her hands and feet leaving her relaxed and rejuvenated by her super fabulous therapist.
For dinner we visited the George Runciman restaurant; a grand but also cosy dining room set up with crisp white ‘linen-ed’ tables and flickering candle light. We enjoyed, starters of duck liver, smoked bacon & pistachio parfait with textures of cherries, toasted smoked bacon brioche. This was followed by a perfect pan roasted chicken breast with a side order of rosemary & rock salt hand cut chips, smoked garlic pomme puree, heirloom carrots, and English parma ham chard. For dessert, we opted for the dark chocolate pave-salted chocolate brittle with Chainbrige honey ice cream and toffee popcorn. All three course were nothing less than amazing, and left us wanted to book a future return to the restaurant to samples every other course, which is bound to be just as good.
After a relaxing night of slumber, we headed downstairs for breakfast, again served in the lovely Georgian Runicman restaurant.
There was a good selection of sweet and savoury pastries, cereal, stewed figs and prunes, fruit compote, continental cheeses’, seasonal fruit, fresh orange & apple juice, yoghurts and preserves.
The hot options were free range eggs (fried, poached, scrambled or boiled), a traditional English breakfast of cured back bacon, locally sourced sausages, plum tomatoes, flat mushrooms, locally sourced black pudding, fried bread, and baked beans. You can also opt for Swallows of Seahouses kippers, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and my most favourite breakfast option; Eggs Benedict – which was delicious.
Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa
Chathill, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE67 5DN
Hotel rates start from £149 DBB January – March.