Moving away from all the delicious food, brightly coloured clothes and beautiful views out over Newcastle and South Shields in my last post from the trip I took with Barbour up North last week, for the second instalment I wanted to do a little review for you all of the beautiful Jesmond Dene House, the hotel we stayed in while we were in Newcastle, in case any of you are planning a jaunt to the area and have no plans for where to stay.
We checked into the restored hunting lodge mid afternoon after a quick cab ride from the train station, and we were left to explore the hotel and relax in our rooms for an hour or two before it was time to dress for the dinner Barbour were throwing for the visiting journalists, with Dame Barbour (who is fantastic, by the way) as guest of honour. As well as having many beautiful hallways (I like that sort of thing, wandering around without knowing what I'll find around each corner!) Jesmond Dene is full of lots of different bars and lounges; great for relaxing with a drink and the days paper after exploring Newcastle, or a day full of work: the hotel seemed to be popular with a good mix of visitors to the area and business guests.
I was staying in a lovely Classic room in the West Wing, and I wish that I could have stayed there longer than one night. When I walked into the room I was hit with the relaxing smell of the diffuser coming from the bathroom, and the relaxing sound of Classic FM playing on the iPod dock/ radio. After I'd explored the rooms little details (glossy magazines, a good television, nice toiletries in the bathroom, a fluffy bathrobe, mineral water and a good mini bar) I flopped down into the pillows to admire the original fireplace and the lovely curtains. That's the problem when you work in leisure (in case you did not know, I run 4 holiday cottages in Kent with my parents), the things you notice when you walk into a hotel room (Jesmond Dene uses the same bed sheets that we do, for example) are totally different from other people!
The hotel had laid out the Great hall beautifully for our dinner. I know it is used a fair bit for weddings, and with the fireplace roaring and the table laid you can really see why. I snuck in before the champaign reception in the adjoining bar (where we also retired after dinner for G&T's made with a delicious local gin) to snap a few pictures, including of some of the Barbour jackets from the companies archives that were decorating the room, really showcasing a good bit of Barbour history. While I do like some of the newer biker jackets, my heart will always be with the good, rugged and practical countryside numbers.
Now, this is the moment where I admit to being an absolutely horrific food blogger. You see, the team at Jesmond Dene had put together a fantastic dinner for us which I'd fully planned to show you all to give a general idea of what style of food is available on the hotel's (delicious looking) main restaurant menu. But past the fantastic smoked salmon starter with a celeriac remoulade, I got so sidetracked by the fantastic food, atmosphere and conversation I forgot to photographically catalogue the simply wonderful truffle stuffed chicken and wickedly indulgent sticky toffee pudding we were all treated to. Oops!
While you could have different eggs and things made for you and brought to the table, I was saving myself for lunch, so I opted for the breakfast buffet (which turned out to be just as delicious as dinner the night before). There was a choice of homemade loaves you could slice your own hunks off of, cured meats, smoked salmon, gravlax, yogurts, granola, chopped nuts and seeds, ham, cheese, fruit and pastries. My favourite from the whole bunch was a massive local honeycomb of simply mouthwatering honey you could just slice your own chunks off of. Once I'd made my selection, I had a pot of peppermint tea brought to my table in the conservatory, and that mornings Times all to myself. I was apparently back on full food blogger form that morning, as I can tell you that while the hotel and its rooms were beautiful and I'd happily go back, breakfast was my favourite part of the whole stay!
While I was at the hotel as a guest of Barbour, my room cost £120 for the night, with breakfast included. if you think what you'd get for that money in London, I think that is really reasonable. Check their website, because with the room you can also get foodie packages, with either a meal in their award winning restaurant included, or a multiple course tasting menu the evening of your stay from their head chef.