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REVIEW: Seaham Hall, County Durham

WHAT? A stunning spa hotel combining five star luxury, exquisite service and jaw-dropping history atop a ragged cliff edge in County Durham.

WHY GO? A breathless recommendation from Jay Rayner brought FashionBite to Newcastle last month, ready for a bracingly cold but soulful afternoon at Riley’s Fish Shack. Monkfish wraps and mulled wine surpassed all expectations, but after a frosty ferry ride from North Shields to South Shields we sought warm baths, hot tea and a cosy bed to rest in.

Enter Seaham Hall – the stunningly modern spa hotel were we lucky enough to bed down in. Rising majestically from a cliff overlooking the North Sea, a colourful, swirling fountain stands tall in front of a white Georgian building.

It was in this very house that Lord Byron and Lady Lovelace began their short and tumultuous marriage – moreover, in the same room we stayed in. Named the Ada Lovelace suite, it celebrates their daughter, an extraordinary mathematician widely credited as the world’s first computer programmer.

Two mischievous slipper baths (with L’Occitane products, to boot) overlook the Seaham estate and sea beyond, the grand split-level suite featuring a daring glazed bathroom and mirrored boudoir. The elevated sleeping mezzanine boasts a gargantuan, fluffy bed, with a flat-screen TV that rises from your feet as if by magic.

This overlooks a huge private lounge, and Ada’s memorable portrait, decked in sumptuous colours and delicate materials of lilac, blue and appropriately enough – lace.

Donning fluffy robes and slippers, we ventured to the Oriental-themed spa, passing a gorgeous elephant sculpture on the way. Pad through the candle-lit tunnel to the swimming area and you’ll find yourself in many people’s version of heaven.

Facilities range from a Hammam with snail showers and a jacuzzi to a black granite steam room with amethyst crystal. Then there’s the outdoor hot tub, ice fountain, plunge pools and hydrotherapy, and waiters wandering about with canapes – hours of laid-back fun.

After a soothing treatment (we tried a nourishing ‘yoga’ facial – divine) dressing for dinner might seem all too much – so head to Ozone, the spa’s pan-Asian eatery that takes no notice if you dine in your bathrobe.

If you are looking for a chance to get dressed up, Byron’s restaurant offers fine dining of exceptional quality in a laid-back, but still special, environment (the pork belly was truly sublime).

Elsewhere the Tattinger Sports Lounge boasts an all-American pool table, with custom lighting, stately oak floors and a few oddities to bring a smile – plus a 80” flat screen TV showing all the important matches.

Truly, there’s something for everyone here and if you find yourself in the area (or even vaguely near it, as we did) it’s worth any extra effort to experience such cosseting luxury and attention. Packed off by the night manager with a bacon sandwich, boxed pastries and fresh coffee, a four hour train straight to work felt dreamy. We’ll be back as soon as we can and hope to see you there.

HOW MUCH:  Check out the Wellbeing Escape deal, £545:

  • Luxury overnight accommodation
  • Use of the award-winning spa from 12 noon on arrival until 12 noon on departure
  • 90 min Abhyanga massage per person
  • Three course dinner in Byron’s Restaurant
  • A delicious breakfast

ADDRESS: Lord Byrons Walk, Seaham SR7 7AG

WEBSITE: Seaham-hall.co.uk

FashionBite xx

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