REVIEW: Jesmond Dene House Hotel, Newcastle
WHAT? The city of Newcastle’s answer to a country house hotel. It may be mere miles from the city centre, but wandering the beautiful, oak-panelled halls it feels for all the world like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
WHERE? Encased in the dense green of Jesmond Dene Park and with traditional, warm decor, this is the place for romantic weekends holed up in your gorgeous room, deigning to leave only for leafy walks in pretty Jesmond Dene (about ten minutes away by foot) or a sumptuous meal in the three AA rosette restaurant.
If you do tire of admiring the wire sculpture dogs scattered about, or lounging on the sofa, a taxi will get you to ‘the Toon’ in fifteen minutes. The nearest Metro station isn’t far, either, and it’s only one stop.
Of all the feats of culinary mastery happening at the hotel, the afternoon tea is perhaps best known. One can buy vouchers to enjoy the tea as a non-guest, such is its fame in the area – but it’s well worth booking for dinner, too.
We sampled juicy Isle of Skye scallops (£14,50), and a beautifully cooked, Himalayan salt-aged flat iron steak (£21.50), as well as roast grouse with local mushrooms, beetroot and blackberries.
The in-house sommelier was kind and attentive, choosing (suprisingly well-priced) bottles from the plentiful cellar in the basement (you’ll be sure to catch a glimpse when popping down to use the bathroom) and it was a real pleasure to take a glass of wine through to the cosy lounge and chat by the open fire.
Then, it’s time to flop into your giant, welcoming double bed. This not being a purpose-built hotel (it used to be a girls school), each room is different and thus has its own charms (and downsides). While some windows overlook the Dene, others give a good view of the car park – but they’re all well-appointed and comfy.
Ours, outside in the New House, was large yet cosy, with a huge flat screen television, radio and small private garden to enjoy. A giant walk-in shower was much fun to use before wrapping up in a luxurious bathrobe, though its design meant the bathroom flooded rather easily.
You’ll find Junior Suites to be very spacious, but it’s the Noble and Apartment Suites that push the boat out, the latter with its sloping ceilings and skylight windows (not to mention a large dining terrace for rooftop views).
Perfect for newly-weds, the room complements the hotel’s wedding offering – it’s truly a stunning venue, with its historic minstrels gallery, 19th-century upholstery and original oak flooring. Watching guests arrive in all their finery, we were very glad we’d found it – and can’t wait to return again.
HOW MUCH: Bed and breakfast starts from £140.
ADDRESS: JESMOND DENE ROAD, NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, NE2 2EY