Doxford Hall, Northumberland – Hotel Review
By James Robinson
The moment you turn into the driveway and are confronted with the elegant stone facade of Doxford Hall you are consumed with a sense of luxury.
Surrounded by acres of beautifully manicured gardens, this converted Georgian mansion dates back to 1818, and provides for a spot of old-fashioned good living.
After checking in my partner and I were given a short tour of the hotel’s lush interior, where intricate wood panelling, deep red carpets and grandfather clocks decorate the corridors and attractive lounges, which feature open fires and deep leather chairs in which to relax. The library too, with its floor-to-ceiling dark wood bookshelves and views over the surrounding parkland, would be a distinguished venue in which to while away a few pleasant hours.
We were also shown the Kennedy Suite, a beautiful ballroom with hanging chandeliers and its own private bar, which would make an ideal venue for weddings and other major occasions.
Hiding in corners here and there are wonderful wire sculptures of dogs by Newcastle artist – and sometime lookalike of James Bond villain Jaws – Gary Tiplady, which add a playful touch to the lush surroundings.
Our spacious room came with a wonderful view of the hotel’s grounds and was tastefully decorated, with a beautifully carved dark-wood bed and antique furniture, including a gorgeous writing desk. Modern conveniences came in the shape of a massive flat screen TV both in the room and – decadently – facing the deep square bath in our elegant, dark-tiled bathroom.
Little extras included robes and slippers, tea and coffee facilities, and toiletries by the chic brand Molton Brown.
Having admired our room, the natural next port of call was the hotel’s first-class Aqueous Spa. Airy, sun-dappled and elegantly appointed with wicker loungers and potted ferns, this spa offers a haven of indulgence and relaxation. Following a few not-too-strenuous lengths in the heated pool, we dipped into the Jacuzzi, before soothing our muscles in the sauna and steam rooms. This made for a thoroughly revitalising hour and the ideal preparation for dinner.
In keeping with the glamorous and opulent nature of the hotel, the candlelit George Runciman restaurant, with its deep maroon walls, makes for an intimate and upmarket dining experience.
Like at sister hotel Eshott Hall, Doxford Hall’s award-winning food is beautifully presented and makes use of locally sourced ingredients. Northumberland is famous for its seafood, and our starters of pan-seared scallops and crab with razor clam were followed by a delicious and innovative main of Seabass in a mussel and white wine sauce.
Breakfasts are generous too, with copious amounts of pastries, cereals and fruit. Reflecting our proximity to Scotland, the cooked breakfast comes complete with Tattie Scones, while the kippers, direct from the nearby village of Seahouses, were worthy of the stay alone.
The parkland surrounding Doxford Hall is simply breathtaking, beautifully tendered and ripe for exploration. After first getting lost in the yew maze, we followed the signposted walks taking us through a traditional walled garden and out into the wooded perimeter of the hotel, which afforded incredible views of the Northumberland countryside.
“Live like kings”
The hotel is perfectly situated to explore the beautiful Northumberland countryside, and is only a short drive from the historic towns of Alnwick, Chillingham and Bamburgh. Having sampled their kippers that morning we drove up to the picturesque seaside town of Seahouses, from where it is possible to join boat trips out to the Farne Islands and observe the famous seals and puffins to be found there.
The landscape of Northumberland is scattered with the castles of ancient royalty, but chances are that even they would envy the 21st Century travellers getting to live like kings or queens for a few days at Doxford Hall.
Doxford Hall Hotel & Aqueous Spa, Chathill, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE67 5DN
B&B from £109 (incs full English breakfast)
DBB midweek from £149 per room (includes three-course dinner and full English breakfast)