After reading reviews of this hotel I was fearing the worst but I had little choice as to where to stay that was central to the whole of Northumberland. I can only conclude that it largely comes down to which room you’re in as to what your impression is. On arrival you cannot fail to be impressed by the grandeur of the hotel and grounds – if Linden Hall were a country house managed by the National Trust you would want to visit it. I had vouchers for breakfast but as the discounted breakfast was still £15.95 I just went out to the excellent shops in nearby villages where you can get twice the food for half the price. I had room service two nights and Caesar salad on occasions; while both were excellent, the recipe and ingredients used were extremely different. I borrowed a cable to connect to the internet in my room which was fine, though the room wasn’t really laid out for business use – the desk being quite small.
On arrival on a Sunday afternoon I had that feeling of being a gatecrasher – lots of older couples enjoying tea and staring at me as if I was some sort of freak for carrying luggage to the lift and asking for an internet cable. The message was clear: this is a place to stay for business Monday-Thursday and a place to stay for a weekend with your spouse Friday-Sunday.
The room itself was hot, there was no air conditioning and the window only partly opened due to the blinds so I rigged up a fan on the windowsill to blow air from outside into the room which made the room nice and cool (it’s fair to say that the cleaning staff were not impressed with my desire for non-sauna like conditions over-riding various health and safety guidelines but needs must).
Quite a few reviews have mentioned poor cleaning and while this was not the case for me, I did report black gunk coming off the shower hose on my first morning and the hose was never replaced, otherwise the room seemed perfectly clean. The bathroom had a self-de-misting mirror, plenty of shelf space and plenty of hot water (too much so, in the evenings even the toilet would flush with hot water and it took an age for cold water to come through – I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels where there is a lack of hot water, never one where there was no cold water in the evenings!).
The iron in the room was clean and there was an ice bucket in the room (no fridge) with a note to say you can order ice from room service. One of my pet hates about UK four-star hotels is the lack of fridges and ice machines and as I was travelling around a lot during the day, I needed a lot of ice for my coolbox. The staff were always happy to help (at least they appeared to be happy!) but the lack of a guest-accessible ice machine must have tested their patience when I asked for a big bag of ice every morning. I heard a few guests say that some of the staff appeared to be flustered, verging on harassed, during busy periods so they may be a bit short-staffed at certain times of the day. If there is one thing that would make this hotel run more smoothly, it would be if they installed a guest-accessible ice machine!
I was lucky to be able to squeeze in a round of golf and the staff were helpful and friendly and the course was perfect. The first three par-3s have to be the three most impossible holes I’ve ever played!
I wasn’t particularly inspired by the hotel and pub menu but I highly recommend an alternative. Drive out the hotel, turn right, go three and a half miles along the road and eat at the Village Inn, Longframlington. The food there was outstanding, though not exactly cheap, and you’ll need one hec of an appetite as the portions are huge. It has to be the best pub food I’ve ever had and you can really tell that they care about the food they serve.
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- Also Known As:
- Macdonald Linden Hall Golf And Country Club
- Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club Hotel Longhorsley
- Macdonald Linden Hall Hotel Country
- Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Club Longhorsley, Northumberland