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Durham
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Reviewed January 20, 2020

I will start with the good points.
Lovely location, comfy bed, very nice staff, breakfast good with just a couple of niggles.
BUT the bathroom is not a bathroom/shower room.
This weekend was a birthday surprise for me from the family. Yes they booked it on a "deal" but even so a certain standard of facilities are expected.
The room in the castle keep was a good size, dark and made darker by the decor but this was pretty much expected. Luckily in the evenings I do not use much make up as the lighting was dire for application. The bed was very comfortable and storage was good for clothes. Now we get to that bathroom. Leading off the room is a passageway, having stepped down a high step you are now standing in the shower tray. You then carry on to get to the toilet. The passageway is 2ft 6" all the way down. Between the passageway and the bedroom are 2 nylon shower curtains so anyone using the toilet has no privacy - I do not like being listened to when "going" - also there is no opening window or fan (yes I understand listed building) but we resorted to using deodorant as air freshener! No matter how long we have been together there are certain things that are done privately.

Once we had showered which was difficult and we were dressed if we needed the toilet before leaving we had to wear shoes through the shower of get wet socks. Non slip mat provided and towelling mat but with such a high step up/down still a safety issue.

There is a separate sink in the bedroom in an alcove and management should look into the possibility of making that the shower area. Having seen pictures on the website after arrival, as I say this was a surprise weekend, I was disappointed in the facilities we had. On check out I mentioned that I did not like what we had had and was told yes that room is quirky, not a word I would use. I did not kick up a fuss as I did not want the family to know I was unhappy.

Breakfast very tasty, very nice buffet maybe a few more preventative measures for people coughing and sneezing over the cereals etc, plus communal jam pots for large numbers of guests not a favourite of mine.

On the table there are sugar cubes and nothing to pick the cubes up with. Ok to use teaspoon on first cup but do not want to use wet spoon for second cup - but watched most people put their fingers in the pots to pick up/over the cubes this is a hygiene issue. What is wrong with granulated sugar and a spoon? My other gripe with breakfast was you had to ask for toast, it wasn't offered.

Don't get me wrong this is a beautiful castle in beautiful grounds with pleasant staff and if I stay again I will make sure I have a different room and will take my own sugar.

Date of stay: January 2020
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank Ploutarchou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2020

Living not too far from this hotel/castle I always fancied staying there, it looks amazing and had the idea it would be really top end.
I had to work away from home Christmas & New Year, so booked a couple of nights when I returned home as a bit of a treat.
The drive up to the hotel is magnificent, a superb building and grounds.
We checked in and were pointed to the annex part of the castle (car park area), this room was nothing like the pictures we seen when booking.
The room was very dark, very dated and although not dirty, didnt come across nipping clean either.
It was very cold in the room even with the radiators as high as they would go.
The room size was good and had everything you needed.
There just wasn’t any wow factor
We had an evening meal in the restaurant on our first night, very good and good service but at £200 we decided to eat out the second night (in fact if we had our bags in the car the second night, I think we would have just drove home).
Our 1st breakfast was great, the room very quiet and service great, we did not get toast and didn’t realise we should have until the next morning when we were give toast with our tea/coffee. That was the only good thing about the second day’s breakfast - the main room was choker block so we were shown to a side room, even that filled straight away and people were being shown to a room further away. we ordered coffee and breakfast, coffee came pretty quick with toast - and there was plenty on the continental table to eat, we waited for our breakfast - and waited - and waited - other people were getting very irate (they had been waiting a lot longer than us) in the end we gave up and left, other people were giving up too, and voices were starting to get raised - too many people too few staff it would seem.
All in all we will not be returning - we left very disappointed

Room tip: Book somewhere else
Date of stay: January 2020
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank shaunarontis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2020

While we theoretically didn't stay in the main castle, we stayed in the courtyard/annex area but we can say we have now stayed in a castle! The rooms were very well outfitted - we booked two rooms for our family of four. Decent sized bed and well appointed bathroom - great hot showers. The feeling in the room was extra special with the exposed beams and a lovely view out to the courtyard. Yes it has older and smaller rooms but at the end of the day you are staying in a heritage building, not a brand new multi-storey apartment complex.

The hotel staff made contact with us prior to arrival to arrange a booking for dinner in the Black Knight Restaurant and that was a special experience too. Have never been in a restaurant where we went to a library first to order our drinks and meals and then go to the restaurant when meals are ready. Our breakfast was included in our stay and there was plenty on offer in the buffet plus our full breakfast (I had the Eggs Benedict with bacon). Staff were all wonderful from the moment we checked in until the moment we left.

Date of stay: December 2019
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank deneller2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2020 via mobile

I had been before for afternoon tea but in a different area, the Christmas one however was in a large room with lots of other groups which, while more impersonal, the room was lovely (see photos). The staff were great and coffee was flowing well although there seemed to be quite a while before afternoon tea was served. There was a great selection and even balance between savoury and sweet.

There was a three woman choir performing Christmas songs while dressed in traditional outfits and they really added to the Christmassy feel of the afternoon.

Well worth the price and make sure you have a look round while you're there.

Date of stay: December 2019
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Thank AndrewP494
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2020

We stayed for two nights on the 21st December for my wife's 65th Birthday and again for one night for the New Years Eve Ball.
For the first visit we had the Richard II room, overlooking the courtyard, the bed was great and the grandchildren enjoyed running and jumping on it.
The bathroom was like Narnia through the wardrobe it was great, the shower was great.
On the first night we attended the dancing through the decades, this was a good event.
The next day we had a private lunch in the Cuthbert Suite for the family, there was six of us and we had roast turkey for the main course, there was plenty to eat and we sent the rest of the family away with a few dinners left over, we all enjoyed this experience and would recommend this if you have something special to celebrate. The service was first class.
The new years eve ball was fantastic, we had room 55 for the night, it was a part of the castle that we had not stayed in before, it was convenient for the ball, the room was great nice bed and a great shower.
The ball was fantastic, from the champagne cocktails and canapes, Shelly Stevens the singer was fantastic and entertained us well.
The six course meal was superb and the service was first class the staff were very attentive and kept our wine glasses topped up, every course was beautifully presented and the food was delicious.
The DJ was great making sure everyone was on the dance floor to see the new year in and all the way until 2 am.
The breakfast was great on all mornings, plenty of choice and plenty to keep you going.

Room tip: The state rooms are great the King James Suite is the best
Date of stay: December 2019
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank conqueror55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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