It's difficult not to be impressed as you roll up to the front of the hotel. Neat gardens and the exterior looks not at all bad, considering its age and history.
The entrance lobby was warm and inviting and check-in was swift. The receptionist shoed us to our room, which was a nice touch.
Things then went decidedly Pete Tong for a few minutes, as our room totally underwhelmed us, as it was tired with well worn fittings and furniture. I put most of it down to the lack of paint brush action, but my good lady said that some arm muscle wouldn't have gone amiss. A dusty mirror and a nice array of cobwebs added to the wow factor! The bathroom was no better, with numerous condensation marks and a dated bath and shower combination. There were some bathroom accessories, but you wouldn't want to hang around in there any longer than necessary. And then there was the marquee, conveniently situated to block the view from our bedroom window. The room was also cold when we entered, although it warmed up quickly enough when we fired up the heaters.
However, we don't do moping, so we decided to do what we always do when fortune has not been kind: head for the bar!
The newly completed Stable Bar is a real plus, and its modern, funky interior contrasts nicely with the period charm of the main building. It has a pool table, TV, juke-box [!], but more importantly, a fine selection of foreign lagers and some impressive local real ales. The seating area for bar meals is situated away from afore mentioned pool table, so you won't be disturbed by any noise from excited hustlers!
The food was as good as I can remember from any hotel stay in recent years, and was equally enjoyable in both the bar and in the impressive, wood panelled dining-room. The head chef was on the sick, so the sous chef had taken the reigns, and what a job he did. One to watch, me thinks. Breakfast was superb as well, with locally sourced ingredients.
As always, it's the staff that make a place, and the quality of the team here could not be faulted. Smiling, helpful without being overly intrusive.
I heard that the Malaysian owner had planned to start upgrading the bedrooms earlier this year, but that this has been put back to early next year. He's got the potential to create something really special here, so the sooner the work commences the better.
I've given the visit 4 stars, which might seem generous considering the room quality, but we slept well, enjoyed our visit and drove away happy. Is that not what it's all about?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A small, friendly Castle Hotel in the heart of the beautiful Northumberland countryside. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Otterburn Tower Hotel Otterburn
- The Otterburn Hotel
- The Hotel Otterburn