I love the North East of England and was looking forward to a relaxing couple of nights after a stressful few weeks. When booking I was offered the chance of paying a 'one off' membership fee to the Leisure Breaks club which would give me certain upgrades and benefits including a deluxe spa room which was billed as larger and having better facilities. Normally I don't go for this sort of marketing but on this occasion my guard was down and I fell for it. The room was clean and comfortable but certainly not special (it had a shower with half a dozen jets that couldn't be angled anywhere useful). If it was larger their other rooms then I wouldn't like to try and swing a cat in a standard room. In London I would just about accept a room this small but not in a rural hotel in acres and acres of parkland. I even rang down to check that we were in the correct room as our promised spa robes were not there as promised. It took two phone calls and about four hours to get them so that we could go for a swim. The pool was a good temperature but tired looking and the sauna was out of order and apparently had been for some time. The spa treatment prices seemed high compared to what I pay at my local spa and given the overall level of service we decided not to risk being disappointed and wasting our money.
Our deal included dinner on the first night, the service wasn't too bad but it was all a bit pretentious without substance. The staff were friendly if a little robotic, just kept repeating the same phrases like 'not a problem' after every sentence. It felt like they were on autopilot rather than really being genuinely engaging. Then they come over to ask if we were happy with our meal and just brutally interrupted our conversation to fire the question at us. Then we listened as they parroted the same few phrases to every other table in the vicinity.
The food was a little odd too. The starter was a great dollop of fish pate with a tiny triangle of toast so that after one bite we had a plate full of fish with nothing else to give it some texture. A creme brûlée for dessert that was way to big and tepid with more of a skin than a crispy top with no flavour what so ever. I would rather have a simple dish done well any day, but that's a matter of taste I guess.
Breakfast was ok, plenty of choice but again some of the cooked items, eggs in particular were a bit past their best and the sausages tasted cheap.
This hotel is in a beautiful setting and could have so much more going for it with a bit of thought. My impressions were that a beautiful shell had been filled with a mediocre corporate approach. The travel inn style accommodation blocks tucked behind the beautiful historic house were disappointing and could have been so much more I keeping. I have stayed in similar priced hotels with a much more personal and luxurious feel and next time I am up that way I will be going else where for that little something special.
My biggest gripe however is that as normal we preauthorised our bank card on arrival and paid he bill on departure but as yet, more than a week after checking out the £300 preauthorised and held amount has not been released back to the bank. The hotel have been made aware of this and said that they would refund it immediately, that was 5 days ago and we are still waiting. This really is not good enough. It is pretty cheeky to dip into a customers bank account for more than the cost of the stay but then to hold onto that and take full payment again means that we won't be staying a a Puma hotel again anywhere. This has never happened at any other hotel and means we now have to chase around to sort it out which detracts from the whole relaxing break concept quite considerably.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dating back to 1693, the four-star Redworth Hall Hotel is a Jacobean-style manor house hotel with many original features, 143 spacious bedrooms, beauty rooms and a hair salon. Set in 150 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and woodland it’s easy to get away from it all yet also enjoy the historical and vibrant cities of Durham, Darlington and Newcastle, which are just a short drive away. Visit Hadrian’s Wall, the East Coast's unspoilt beaches and historical cathedrals then relax in the Health & Leisure Club’s pool or outdoor tennis courts before enjoying delicious local ingredients in 2 AA Rosette 1744 restaurant. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Newton Aycliffe
- Newton Aycliffe Barcelo
- Durham Hall Hotel Redworth
- Hall Redworth