SEAHAM HALL IS MORE THAN JUST A FIVE STAR HOTEL...
Your first glimpse of Seaham Hall will take your breath away. As you make your way up the drive to this white former Georgian mansion there’s an air of peace and tranquillity interrupted only by the gentle noise of the sea.
Enter this haven of luxury, classical elegance and old world charm and be ready to be blown away for what you are about to experience in this, one of the finest five star spa hotels I have stayed in – and I have stayed in a lot all over the world.
The marbled entrance hall and antique reception table say it all. This place has ultimate sophistication and class. It’s a place where you know you are going to be spoiled and pampered.
But the most treasured thing that Seaham Hall has is the friendliness and efficiency of its staff and their genuine desire to do everything for your comfort and make your stay something special.
The friendly Hall Porter showed us to our Garden Suite and explained how everything worked – a real boon as even as a frequent traveller I spend ages figuring out where things are and how they work.
Our Garden Suite was the ultimate accommodation for us. It was not just a suite but an extremely large living space with a dining table in case we wanted a cosy in room meal. The marbled bathroom was something else with an enormous bath in the centre with jets at each side turning it into a work of art.
But what really impressed me the most was when I opened the French windows and a garden – not just a grass patch as some hotels offer – but a private large garden bigger than the average one at home, with a terrace, patio and chairs and excellent lighting for once dusk drops was revealed.
This area was perfect for sharing an alfresco breakfast, a cup of tea in the afternoon or a glass of something sparkling as the sun sets or late night tipples. We loved it.
Seaham Hall have lots of little quirky extras in their bedrooms that make you feel that more special. There is a pillow menu that made our super-size queen size bed into sheer blissful luxury and I must mention the card which gives you a weather forecast for the next day and the name of the morning’s hall porter if you are checking out.
There’s a wildly romantic atmosphere about Seaham Hall and its grounds it’s little wonder that poet Lord Byron chose to be married here – it’s the perfect location.
Although it was an autumnal day, we decided to explore some of the grounds – and there are a lot to explore nearly 37 acres of landscaped gardens and areas with lily ponds, manicured lawns, fountains and wooded areas.
The back of the hotel is as impressive as the front with an enormous terrace that leads out from the elegant cocktail lounge. On the terrace there’s comfy cushioned sofas and chairs where you can relax and through the balustrade have a view of the sea – the only noise being the crashing of the waves echoing up to this cliff top location.
There’s a wildly romantic atmosphere about Seaham Hall and its grounds it’s little wonder that Lord Byron chose to be married here – it’s the perfect location.
After a light lunch – Seaham Hall sandwiches are so delicious with chunky slices of ham and salad and pickles they are a meal in themselves – we were ready for our afternoon in the hotel’s famous Serenity Spa.
My spa experiences have taken me round the world, but I can say this was one of the best
The thing that sets it apart from all others in the UK is the seamless entrance for residents to the spa. We’ve all experienced walking down corridors in our dressing gowns or across a foyer even at the most prestigious spa hotels but not here.
Step out of your suite into the marbled atrium and down a staircase with its own water feature. Suddenly as if by magic when you reach the bottom doors open – it’s like the entrance to Narnia or Aladdin’s Cave.
Soft purple lighting, music and a wooden walkway with water running gently over pebbles at each side until you are faced with a magnificent golden elephant – this is the ultimate in a spa experience.
Like the hotel the Spa is winner of numerous awards and accolades and ranks amongst the world’s top 100 spas.
Serenity is an apt title for this Spa with its 20 metre pool, outdoor balcony, hot tubs, roof garden, hydrotherapy pool, manicure and pedicure stations and multi treatment rooms designed for a variety of therapies and treatments. It even has its own cocktail bar and restaurant serving pan-Asian cuisine.
This is the place to relax and escape from the everyday pressures and we certainly did so much so after my pampering I fell asleep in one of the many relaxation areas overlooking the parkland area.
In the evening after we sampled a Seaham Sunset – there own exclusive cocktail on the terrace and then it was time to eat in The Dining Room with its country house-meets-rustic décor.
Head Chef Damian Broom takes his menu’s seriously and takes care to ensure he sources products from regional farms and suppliers and all fish is from local sustainable sources, which is good to know.
The menu includes a small plates selection as well as normal size plates. We chose our starter from the small plates selection. My partner opted for the free range sticky pork with pickled cucumber whilst I settle for the smoked salmon with pickled cucumber and the most delicious buttermilk bread.
It was great to see Halibut on the menu, one of my favourite fish served with braised lettuce, apple, dill and oyster butter sauce whilst my partner went for a sirloin steak cooked over charcoal embers. Both our main courses arrived hot, perfectly cooked and tasted delicious.
The dessert menu is highly original with the perfect dessert for chocoholics served with blackcurrants, pecan praline and yoghurt whilst my partner’s glazed pear, walnut cake, cream and lemon thyme was exceptionally tasty and I must say every course was served with a smile.
After dinner we took advantage of the Taittinger Sports Lounge with it plethora of board and card games. Although I did not win at Trivial Pursuit, I did shooting pool on the table, something I had not done for years.
Next morning after breakfast we decided to explore the rest of the grounds at Seaham Hall and took the short walk that leads to the Heritage Coastline, although the tide was too far in to risk a walk on the beach.
If we would have had more time and the weather had been warmer, we would have taken advantage of the bikes which can be hired from the hotel and the Seaham picnic hampers that can accompany your bike ride.
Our stay at Seaham Hall was nearly over and our checkout was as friendly and professional as all our stay had been. We left promising ourselves that for whatever reason we would be back!
Seaham Hall, Lord Byron’s Walk, Seaham, Co. Durham SR7 7AG.
www.seaham-hall.com Tel: 0191 640 7505
Liz Coggins is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers