Rich in heritage and set in beautiful countryside, Matfen Hall in Northumberland is the perfect place to escape away from it all and indulge in ultimate luxury. Perfect for couples, families or groups of friends, it’s an idyllic destination for a weekend treat or staycation. Claudia Robinson checked in for an overnight stay to remember…
Matfen Hall Country Hotel, Golf and Spa Estate is nestled away in the heart of stunning Northumberland where guests can relax, unwind and recharge in sheer luxury. Steeped in history, this spectacular resort has you captivated from the moment you arrive – the impressive main hall overlooking an immaculately presented golf course and beautifully manicured grounds.
Having recently enjoyed extensive refurbishment of the rooms, dining and communal areas, it’s clear no expense has been spared on this luxurious property.
Matfen Hall is set in undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parts of the country, Northumberland. With an abundance of unspoilt beaches, fascinating historical sites, breathtaking countryside and some of the UK’s darkest skies enabling you to see millions of stars, the resort offers so much on its doorstep. It only takes about 25 minutes to drive to the hotel from Newcastle, with extensive rail and air links, while Corbridge is just six miles away.
A new look
The resort has recently enjoyed a multi-million pound refurbishment after being bought by hospitality firm, Walwick Estate Group, having been part of the Blackett family since the 1830s. The extensive renovation project has seen updates to the main hotel, leisure and golf facilities, including restoration of the stunning Grade II Listed building’s Great Hall, which is the first space guests walk into on arrival, guaranteeing that jaw-dropping moment.
While we waited in this enormous room to check-in, with our welcome drink of a delicious rum cocktail, we marvelled at the beautiful star-patterned ceiling and stained glass window, enjoyed the roaring open fire and wondered how the massive wooden staircase that encompassed the room and led you to the suites above, stayed up! Specialist local tradespeople and builders carried out all the work, which included the installation of new bedrooms featuring huge Emperor beds, tasteful soft furnishings, as well as marble bathrooms with walk-in showers and free standing baths, many offering views of the stunning grounds while you soak.
Special attention has been paid to every detail as the new owners pledged to retain the elegance, beauty and history of Matfen Hall, and I can assure you, they’ve delivered on that pledge. As we wandered around the hotel, through the beautifully decorated and art-adorned corridors, into the welcoming communal areas and enjoyed the tranquillity of our enormous and yet homely suite, it was evident how much care and attention went into the renovation.
The historic features of the main building – including the intricate stone detailing, elaborate timber carvings and panelling and decorative ceiling roses and cornicing – have all been painstakingly restored and refreshed, some with opulent golds. The bedrooms, Emerald restaurant, bar areas and Great Hall are all now home to luxurious furnishings, beautifully upholstered chairs and sofas and eye-catching wallpaper. It feels a little bit like you’ve stepped onto the set of Bridgerton and we loved it.
Lay your head
There are 53 bedrooms at Matfen Hall, including luxury, premium, balcony, deluxe and classic rooms. Each has been carefully designed and decorated to a high standard, from intimate rooms that boast a warm home-from-home feel, to enormous suites that quite frankly, you never want to leave. We were lucky to have one of the latter, Room One, which had its own entrance hall leading to a sparkling, bright marble bathroom with walk-in shower and free-standing bathtub – and Penhaligon’s of London toiletries. Another door led you through to the vast main bedroom which housed the biggest bed I’ve ever seen, a seating area, table and chairs, dressing table… and there was still plenty of spare floor space! The room also boasted the most glorious views of the golf course and countryside, while we were able to enjoy complimentary high-speed WiFi, coffee from the Nespresso machine and access to the hotel’s spa.
So, once we’d unpacked and explored our delightful suite we retrieved our robes and slippers out of the wardrobe and headed to The Retreat. This perfect sanctuary offers a 15 metre pool beneath a glass roof that lets the light flood in, where we swam a few obligatory lengths to justify our subsequent lazing in the jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. There’s also an aromatherapy room, ice cold bucket shower (which I didn’t try, too chicken!), an ice fountain (obviously a handful of that had to be poured down the back of my other half’s swimming shorts) and a gorgeously warm monsoon shower.
Guests can also book a treatment or ritual with one of the spa’s highly-trained therapists using Germaine de Capuccini and Natura Bissé products. For those
looking to burn off some steam there’s also a fitness suite kitted out with the best gym equipment and machines.
Food and drink
There are a number of different spaces where you can dine or relax and enjoy a drink at Matfen Hall, including the sophisticated Emerald Restaurant, the 1832 bar and the Needham bar. All of which have enjoyed make-overs during the hotel’s renovations. We opted for a romantic meal in the Emerald, where, upon arrival we were guided by a welcoming member of staff to the 1832 bar for a pre-dinner drink.
While we’re on the subject of the staff, every member of the team at Matfen Hall was friendly, had a huge smile on their face and nothing was too much trouble. We both enjoyed a delicious, crisp glass of dry white wine; Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Shy Albatross, Marlborough, New Zealand (£12 for 175ml) while we perused the menu. Once we’d ordered we headed through to the restaurant which has beautiful wood panelled walls and Zoffany wallpaper and offers further stunning views of the terrace and grounds.
I opted for roast cauliflower and cumin velouté with roast onion and cauliflower bhaji on the side (£9). One of the waitresses recommended it and I wasn’t disappointed. It was velvety smooth and full of flavour while the bhaji provided some delicious contrasting texture. Andy chose the garlic and thyme roasted pigeon which was served with a warm salad of pancetta, potato and puy lentils (£12), which was melt-in-the-mouth perfection. For our mains we both opted for red meat and the wine waiter recommended a delicious bottle of Montepulciano II Caggio, D Abruzzo, Italy (£33) to perfectly complement both dishes.
Andy devoured his roast fillet of locally sourced beef with bone marrow crust, smoked potato purée and caramelised shallots (£40) while I thoroughly enjoyed my perfectly cooked, expertly seasoned 8oz fillet steak with huge hand cut chips, grilled tomatoes and a field mushroom (£38). The head waitress pointed out that all meat served at the hotel is sourced from a local butcher, and wherever possible they use local suppliers for their ingredients. There were several sauces to choose from. I’m thrilled I went with the truffle jus as it finished off the steak perfectly and there was plenty left for me to soak up with the chips. So much so that neither of us could manage dessert, sadly, as all the plates we saw coming out of the kitchen looked sensational, particularly the caramelised banana and toffee tart and the dark chocolate and pistachio mousse.
Matfen Hall is set in over 300 acres of parkland so there are plenty of walking routes for you to stretch your legs and take in the beautiful scenery. The hotel reception staff can provide maps of some of the best walks nearby enabling you to see more of this stunning estate. Matfen is also a paradise for golf lovers, with a 27 hole course that’s rated as one of the finest in the region. This challenging course is perfect for both novices and pros alike and you can hire clubs if required. There’s also a par 3 short course, a golf academy, driving range and purpose-built clubhouse where you’ll also find The Keepers which offers gastropub food and an after-round tipple.
Prices start from £199 per night, B&B, for two people sharing an Old Hall Classic Double and from £329 for a Great Hall Luxury Suite.