Short stay: Slaley Hall, Slaley, Hexham, Northumberland, UK
Slaley Hall is a large hotel set in a 1,000 acre Northumberland estate, between Consett and Hexham, and part of the QHotels chain. This elegant Edwardian mansion enjoys a winding approach that gives a feeling of grandeur before you even reach the main building. Enjoying a rural location surrounded by moorland and forest, the hotel is nevertheless easily accessible from the A1.
As is often the case when we travel, we arrived quite late but were nevertheless warmly welcomed. Check-in was thankfully swift as we were ready for bed, and we soon made our way to our rooms where we found a ‘welcome’ plate with a couple of biscuits.
We had interconnecting rooms with complimentary green, gold and brown hues – one large double and one twin.
The rooms are reasonably spacious, comfortable and homely.
As a family consisting of 2 adults and 2 children, this arrangement with interconnecting rooms suited us perfectly. We had the privacy of our own room, yet still had our boys in earshot should they need us during the night. Each room had a small study area/dressing table and TV.
Each room also had its own small bathroom with WC, basin, bath and a shower over it.
Geneva Guild toiletries (a range made in Italy largely for the hotel industry) were provided.
Breakfast is served each morning in Hadrian’s brasserie. It is largely self-service but with a la carte options. It is also the main restaurant in hotel.
In the evening, we dined in the more intimate Duke’s restaurant just next door – a luxurious Edwardian drawing room.
We chose from table d’hote menu. I had the feta cheese, olive and cucumber salad, with a mint yogurt and croutons as my starter.
The smoked trout, gem, apple and celery salad, with toasted walnuts, also looked very appetising.
The highlight for me was the corn-fed chicken wrapped in pancetta, served with a Spanish chorizo bean cassoulet, and finished with buttered kale, which was succulent and full of hearty flavours.
My eldest son opted for the gourmet British short rib burger in a brioche bun, with crispy bacon, cheese (he skipped on the cheese), red onion chutney and fries.
For dessert, I had the treacle tart and vanilla ice cream, whilst our boys each opted for the chocolate delice with a white chocolate sauce.
The meal was both relaxed and enjoyable. We were waited on by quite a young member of staff who was a credit to the hotel.
Snacks and drinks can also be ordered at The Claret Jug although this was closed at the time of our stay. On one evening, we did try venturing out to a local pub but had ended up wishing we’d stayed at Slaley as the experience was not that great.
In addition to these two restaurants, there are a number of bars and public spaces where you can sit and relax with a drink or simply enjoy a good book.
The hotel also has its own spa, beauty salon and indoor swimming pool, and two championship golf courses, although sadly we didn’t have time to take advantage of these facilities during our short visit so can’t comment first hand. Both courses are PGA standard, though, and have played to the European Tour on numerous occasions. There’s also a 7-bay covered, flood-lit driving range.
The best available rate typically starts from £121 room including breakfast but, by booking in advance, you can enjoy a 10% discount on this.
There is so much to do both on and off site. Within the grounds, you can go quad biking, explore the estate a Segway or partake in 4×4 driving, archery or other outdoor pursuits. Set on the edge of the North Pennines ’Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, you can also enjoy relaxed country walks or venture further afield to the likes of Hadrian’s Wall, Bamburgh Castle, Alwick Castle, Lindisfarne, Newcastle-upon-Tyne or the iconic Angel of the North.
We were in the area for a sailing event at nearby Derwent Reservoir, one of the biggest inland waters in the country and popular not just with sailors, but also trout fishermen, windsurfers, runners and triathletes.
The best bit
Although quite a large hotel, we enjoyed the rural setting and found the hotel itself to be very relaxing and homely and, despite high occupancy at the time of our visit, it didn’t feel too busy.
The final verdict
Slaley Hall is traditional, luxury country hotel that is ideal for golfers travelling with partners who would prefer a little ‘me time’ in the spa instead, but also catering for families, weddings, parties, business events and a multitude of other needs. Continuing investment in the hotel is expected after a takeover deal was announced last year.
Disclosure: Out stay was courtesy of QHotels.