If you're the type of person who likes the glossy, predictable but 'safe' experience found in one of the many hotel chains...you probably won't be reading this review. If however you rate the quality of your stay by the service you receive and the value you get for your money - this hotel has to be for you. Yes,if you read some of the less flattering reviews it's true to say that the decor that wouldn't find its way into the latest edition of Country Life, and fittings that don't reflect the latest fashion but everywhere was clean. Then of course you start looking beyond the facade to the quality of the overall experience and the amazing value for money that this hotel represents.
From the moment we arrived it was evident that the hotel manager does her best to ensure a happy and friendly atmosphere. I don't think we've ever experienced a warmer staff who make it the most welcoming of environments - they were brilliant.
We had our evening meal in the hotel and our breakfast. The quality of both meals was outstanding, far better than many restaurants we've dined in but at bar meal prices. My wife, a vegetarian would strongly recommend the mushrooms - the best she's ever had! Breakfast was equally as good and it required tremendous self restraint not to go for the full English. But the opportunity to experience the mushrooms again was too much.
Cask conditioned hand-pulled ale is on offer in the bar - at bar (and not hotel) prices. Three pints for less than £10 is not bad. Main courses ranged from just under £7 to about £15. We shared a starter and had a main each for just over £20 in total. Locals were dining alongside us, which is always a good sign.
On checking out I asked what the policy was on room allocation. Too often I've booked into impressive hotels through bargain websites to find myself in rooms that probably wouldn't be offered to other customers. We'd been upgraded on arrival into a more expensive room. The manager took me on a tour of all the rooms available and I have to say that even if we'd been given the 'base' room, I wouldn't have been upset.
Two footnotes on this one.
Firstly, if you can and the weather is good, get their early and take a trip to Housesteads or Steel Rigg on Hadrian's Wall - 20 minutes' drive away. Spectacular!
Secondly, we attended a business meeting after checking out. One of our colleagues had spent a rather unsatisfactory night at a well-known hotel chain and spent nearly £10 more for a single room B&B. I know where we'll be staying next time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ryton Country House is set in Old Ryton Village just a short drive from Newcastle city centre and the very popular Metro Centre. Our old country house is situated in a stunning old village full of character and has great links to fantastic walks, cycle paths and many local attractions. Ryton Country House offers meals seven days a week serving from 18:00-21:00pm Monday through to Friday. Saturday Hours are from 12:00-21:00pm and Sunday roast available from 12:00-18:00pm. ... more less
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