Seaham Hall Review
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A UK Getaway to Seaham Hall

Luxe checks in to Seaham Hall for a dreamy UK getaway…

Seaham Hall is a beautiful five-star Georgian country house hotel where its rich heritage and historical features are perfectly blended with contemporary style that oozes luxury.

It boasts a collection of stunning bedrooms, many with breathtaking views of the sea and countryside, a sensational spa and two exceptional restaurants.

True to many of the North East’s country house hotels, Seaham is steeped in history. It was built on the site of Seaham House in 1791 by Ralph and Judith Milbanke.

Their daughter, Anna, married the poet Lord Byron at Seaham Hall and in 1815 their daughter, Ada Byron, later the Countess of Lovelace, was born. One of the suites at the hotel is named Ada Lovelace in her honour.

The building has served many purposes over the years – it was used as a military hospital during the Second World War, a sanitorium for people suffering from tuberculosis, and was even a secret bottling and distribution centre for Scotch whisky in the 1920s.

It wasn’t until twenty years ago that it was transformed into the stunning hotel it is today, and thank goodness it was because it’s one of the most perfect places I’ve ever been to.

Set within 37 acres of parkland on the Durham Heritage Coast, the beautiful main mansion boasts traditional high ceilings, a sweeping staircase in the entrance hall and carefully thought-out interiors throughout.

There’s lots of dark wood floors, brightly coloured, oversized velvet sofas, ornate mirrors and so many gorgeous light fittings and chandeliers, I struggled to choose a favourite. It feels more like you’re stepping into someone’s (incredibly luxurious) home than a hotel, with a welcoming reception area in the entrance hall where we are efficiently checked in before being whisked off to the spa for a tour.

Spa

The 44,000 sq ft Serenity Spa is in a separate building which you can access from the hotel via a vast, pillared hall where the light floods in before you step into a dark, moody corridor.

You’re guided along a dimly lit wooden walkway and immediately feel like you’re entering another world, calmed by the sound of flowing water around your feet before being greeted by an enormous elephant water feature.

Drawing influence from Far Eastern healing and wellness rituals, the Serenity Spa is sold as a tranquil, calming and inspiring place which engages the mind, body and soul, and honestly, for us, it did all of those things.

We could have spent many days swimming in the 20-metre pool, relaxing in the jacuzzis, Asian herbal sanarium, salt sauna, steam rooms, outdoor hot tubs, hydrotherapy pool and waterbeds, but instead had to make do with one glorious afternoon and another visit before our generous midday checkout the following morning.

We even managed a couple of dunks in the ice-cold plunge pools before quickly hot-footing back to the solace of our favourite room, the eucalyptus steam room with amethyst crystal.

There’s also a cosy corner hideout lounge, state-of-the-art gym, aerobic studio, roof terrace, OPI and Taittinger Champagne nail bar and the all-important 17, yes 17, treatment rooms – four of which are doubles for couples’ treatments.

After a couple of hours in the spa, we headed up for our treatments. Seaham’s expert therapists use two key product ranges in their massages and facials, Temple Spa and Ishga.

The lovely therapist, Zara, recommended an Ishga 60-minute invigorating massage. This medium-pressure massage combines a powerful detoxifying seaweed body oil with lemongrass, juniper and rose geranium.

The warm oil smelled amazing and the treatment was the perfect combination of invigorating and relaxing, its main focus being to relieve tension and eliminate toxins, helping tone the entire body.

After the treatment, Zara guided us to the Zen lounge where there are plenty of cosy beds with blankets where you can ‘come round’ from your treatment whilst tucking into a delicious, cleansing sorbet, before heading back into the spa.

If you’re looking to experience Seaham Hall’s award-winning spa without an overnight stay, there are plenty of spa day packages available which offer ample opportunities for ultimate relaxation.

Lay your head

The hotel has 21 luxurious suites, each with its own unique character and furnishings.

From wood-fired hot tubs to enormous king size beds, stunning views, to heavenly Temple Spa toiletries, they’re the ultimate indulgence.

We were allocated an Executive Suite which had a spacious lounge area and dining table in a huge bay window with views over the grounds.

This dual-aspect room also provided glorious vistas of the coastline, the bed was insanely comfortable and the enormous bathroom had his and hers sinks, a bath complete with rubber duck and a separate rainfall shower.

Certainly the ideal base for a staycation, if only we could have stayed longer!

There are also Junior Suites, the aforementioned Ada Lovelace Suite, a Penthouse, two bungalow suites in separate lodges which have open-plan kitchens for those wishing to stay a while, and the garden suites which boast hot tubs.

Food and drink

The hotel has two dining options; Ozone, situated in the spa, is a relaxed setting where you can tuck into Pan-Asian cuisine in your fluffy spa robes.

The dishes are warm, vibrant and authentic, and you can enjoy laid-back lunches, decadent afternoon teas and delicious dinners after relaxing in the spa.

In the main hotel, you’ll find the Dining Room, which is where we were booked in for dinner. Adorned with glittering gold plated chandeliers, cosy booths and vast Georgian windows this restaurant has a relaxed feel that makes you feel very much at home.

Headed up by executive chef Damian Broom, The Dining Room showcases the very best of Durham fine dining through a five-course tasting menu that is ever-changing with the seasons.

The restaurant team pride themselves on using only the finest and freshest local produce and each ingredient is locally grown and ethically sourced from hand-picked suppliers, including local honey farms and seafood foraged from the North Sea.

Seaham Hall ReviewAlso catering for vegans and vegetarians (or fussy eaters like me that ‘eat everything except lamb’ – and yes, there was lamb on the menu!), nothing is too much trouble for the front of house team and kitchen staff in The Dining Room.

The proposed lamb dish was seamlessly swapped for a delectable duck treat which was garnished with ewe’s curd, English peas, marjoram, braised morel mushrooms and a duck jus gras.

Our five-course tasting menu also included a surprise amuse bouche featuring sourdough waffles with parmesan custard and a pea and asparagus tart, celeriac served in a delicious celeriac skin broth, perfectly cooked halibut in a Bouillabaisse sauce and an apricot frangipane tart served with whipped Stichelton cheese.

We were also (easily) persuaded to sample the wine flight with our meal and were expertly guided through a range of delicious wines that perfectly matched the dishes.

After dinner, we retired to the bar and lounge adjacent to the restaurant where we finished our drinks and soaked up the relaxing atmosphere and views of the garden, as the sun went down on a perfect early summer’s evening.

Do this

There are plenty of beautiful grounds to explore at Seaham Hall and free bikes to borrow if you fancy moving around a bit faster.

There is also a sports lounge in the main building with board games and a pool table. For us, no visit to Seaham is complete without a trip to the nearby beach for a spot of sea glass collecting and the chance to breathe in the fresh sea air and blow away the cobwebs.

For those able to stay a while longer at Seaham Hall there are plenty of nearby day trips including High Force waterfall, Hamsterley Forest, Beamish and the Cathedral and Castle in Durham.

Prices start from £295 per night in a Junior Suite, including breakfast and full use of the spa from 12 noon on day of arrival until 12 noon on day of departure.


seaham-hall.co.uk