The Spa Hotel Review: Seaham Hall, Durham
Review: Jennifer Bonfield
We were keen to visit what has been described as one of the best boutique hotels in the North and as we entered the grand gravel driveway and pulled up to the 18th century building that was Seaham Hall (winner of Small Hotel of The Year 2015), we were sure we wouldn’t be disappointed.
We were greeted warmly by reception and once checked-in we were guided up the central spiraling staircase to our suite. All 19 suites (junior, executive, penthouse) are individually designed each with their own character, some with terraces looking out to sea. Our suite, with its subtly nautical décor peppered with bright floral accents, was flooded with light thanks to the beautiful floor to ceiling windows. On top of the super King Size bed was a pillow menu (yes, that’s right a pillow menu; feather/ firm/ memory foam etc.). The bathroom was huge; double sinks, double ended bath with spa jets, and double monsoon shower. Plentiful miniatures of Elemis toiletries were stacked on the shelves.
The plush comfy sofa in the bedroom offered a great spot to catch up on a spot of TV from the large plasma and sip on the supplied selection of specialty blended tea. However, there was no time for that as I had a date with the award-winning Serenity Spa.
The direct entrance to the spa from the hotel was on the ground floor via a wooden footbridge with flowing stream underneath (yes, an ACTUAL stream!) the tinkling musical sounds of tranquility flooded the serene tunneled walkway. The spa itself was designed fully with feng shui in mind, minimal corners (according to the rules of feng shui they attract bad energy) and instead nothing but curved walls flow throughout.
The 20ft pool is not for serious swimmers but rather for gentle paddling before or after treatments. This is not your general crammed in hotel spa, this is a multi-million pound invested, extensive sanctuary of well-being, and indeed spa luxury at its best. A spacious hub of spa experience rooms such as the hammam, sauna with quartz crystal, black granite steam room with amethyst crystal, saunarium with crystal light therapy. There is Snail showers, a huge Jacuzzi and iced plunge pools – if you are feeling brave.
I was booked in to try one of Serenity spa’s signature treatment experiences; The Samunpari Ritual. A superior level of massage experience which involves taking traditional elements of Thai message and using 3 types of massage techniques along with breathing exercises and a delicious blend of invigorating or relaxing oils to soothe not just the body but also the senses. My therapist was beyond amazing, obviously a master of her trade. I felt like I was transported back to the traditional Thai spas of Koh Samui. The experience was 90 minutes of pure bliss. After retiring to the dim lit relaxation room to meet Mr G&G we were brought water and mini bowls of refreshing sorbet while we lounged around ion the heated recliners.
There are 2 restaurants at Seaham Hall; Ozone – which offers Pan Asian style menu and Byron’s Bar & Grill – specialising in fresh seafood and succulent steaks. For dinner we were heading to Byron’s Bar & Grill. In terms of interiors inspiration I was expecting traditionally masculine décor reminiscent of the traditional Grill restaurant (yes, ok, stereotypical), but instead we were surprised to find a chic affair of pale gold, plush velvet banquettes, red velvet chairs and grand chandeliers sparkled from the high ceilings.
We sipped on Tattinger Rose Champagne while perusing the menus. To start I had the Potted brined prawns with spiced butter granary toast and marsh samphire while MR G&G after much deliberation choosing opted for the Confit Goosnargh duck leg canneloni with cauliflower, endive and candied walnut. For mains Chef recommended Chateaubriand to share, which we accompanied with skinny paprika fries. The Chateaubriand was succulent, tender and mouth-wateringly delicious. The portion was huge (600g) and we admittedly struggled to finish it. However we did somehow find room for a cheese board, which gave us an outstandingly impressive variation of locally produced specialties.
The staff throughout the hotel were, welcoming, chatty and genuinely friendly, even through this was our first visit we already felt like locals. Many boutique hotels are formed out of country mansion buildings, but lack the ambiance and wow factor of a luxury hotel. However Seaham Hall has got it so right; the warm charm of the staff, the quirky but opulent décor, an award winning spa and great food, this is boutique hotel luxury at its very best.
Junior Suites Bed & Breakfast with full use of the Serenity Spa facilities from £ 285 per night
Junior Suites Bed & Breakfast & Dinner with full use of the Serenity Spa facilities from £315 per night
Executive Suites Bed & Breakfast with full use of the Serenity Spa facilities from £ 485 per night
Executive Suites Bed & Breakfast & Dinner with full use of the Serenity Spa facilities from £515 per night
Penthouse Suite Bed & Breakfast with full use of the Serenity Spa facilities from £ 580 per night
Penthouse Suite Bed & Breakfast & Dinner with full use of the Serenity Spa facilities from £610 per night
Lord Byrons Walk | Seaham | SR7 7AG
0191 516 1400