Seaham Hall is a very special place to stay on the dramatic coast of North East England. An imposing cliff top Georgian Hall with a fascinating history linked to the romantic poet Lord Byron, it is now a superior five star hotel and spa. Combining first class hospitality with a friendly semi informal atmosphere, I don’t think I’ve ever been in such luxurious surroundings matched with such a warm personal welcome.
The Hall hosted the marriage of the romantic poet Lord Byron to Annabella, the daughter of the Milbanke family — the original owners — in 1815 and it has had a number of incarnations since then, including being used as a military hospital in WWI. More recently in 2012, the property underwent an extensive 3m GBP (4.39m USD) renovation project to restore and update the iconic Seaham Hall hotel and the venue continues to establish itself as the finest 5 Star hotel in the North East of England.
It offers fine dining, exceptional accommodation and also caters for events, weddings, conferences and meetings.
The Serenity Spa and the wine cellar
The huge spa has been voted one of the top 100 spas in the UK and it is easy to see why. A 20 foot (~6 m) heated pool, outdoor hot tubs, hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms saunas and plunge pools give you a huge choice for watery relaxation. The spa also has luxury treatment rooms and I was lucky enough to experience a gorgeous Thai Herbal Heat Energizer. It was called Ytsara Samunprai and I was so relaxed I almost slid off into a snooze while covered in delicious aromatic oils.
The cellar at Seaham Hall is an extremely interesting and well stocked affair. With wines and spirits from all over the world including some very expensive ones indeed. One bottle cost 800 GBP, that’s 1,100 USD! The large cellar network was also the scene of a Scotch Whisky smuggling business during the years of prohibition in America. Alec Harvey, a descendant of highland whisky distillers made his fortune bottling and loading up Spey whisky at Seaham Harbour bound for New York and Chicago via the Bahamas!
Spey single malt whisky is available today at Seaham Hall and it is also very popular in the Far East and at Kensington Palace!
Dining at Seaham Hall
There is a lovely pan Asian eatery (Ozone) in the spa but we were lucky enough to try Byron’s restaurant where the focus is on an innovative menu inspired by fresh local ingredients. The chef here certainly knows what he is doing and there is a sommelier on hand to advise you on wines to match the range of flavours and food in different courses.
The quality and taste of the dishes were without doubt first class along with the service. I had Hartlepool landed crab followed by braised beef cheek with wild garlic pearl barley and a poached Yorkshire rhubarb sorbet with baked custard and tarragon granite. All so delicious! I was also intrigued by the gorse flower Baked Alaska as I didn’t know you could eat gorse flowers. These bright yellow flowered spiky bushes are dotted everywhere along the North East coast, incidentally. Things were rounded off with a fine Chablis and we popped into the sports lounge to digest this mighty feast where they have a very fetching purple pool table!
The hall has twenty two individually designed luxurious suites including a penthouse, which attracts famous pop stars when they come to play the stadiums here. Anyone heard of One Direction?
Our sea view suite was designed beautifully in seaside colours of purple, green, pale blue and taupe with birds and butterflies featuring in the soft furnishings and pictures. A huge bathroom with a stand alone bath and a feather bed with cotton sheets as big as a football field (it felt like it!) added to the extreme comfort.
Fluffy bathrobes and slippers and lovely Elemis toiletries are all complimentary. There’s a huge flat screen TV, which looks rather like a tasteful mirror on the wall, Nespresso coffee machine and of course Wi-Fi!
A unique place to stay
Seaham Hall has been listed as one of the ultimate 100 British hotels and I can easily see why. A stone’s throw from the sea, there is a lovely peaceful atmosphere and the staff are so friendly and helpful, they make you feel as if nothing is too much trouble for them. Simply outstanding accommodation and staff; I couldn’t have had a nicer stay.
An overnight stay in one of the 22 individually designed suites costs from 195 GBP or 286 USD including a full English breakfast. Call Seaham Hall or check their website for more information on offers.