Seaham Hall And Spa
Graham Clark, Features Writer
I must admit I have never been to Seaham before, the town on the north east coast is bracing and the seafront with its cafes it does give it a continental feel. As well as being a favoured film location it's main claim to fame is this is where the poet Lord Byron met and married his wife.
The Byron connections are used at many an opportunity - even the shopping complex is called Byron Place. Seaham Hall though is where the main action is - Byron married his wife Annabella Milbanke, an heiress who Byron saw as an escape from his financial difficulties. The marriage lasted less than a year with Byron going into exile over his extra marital affairs.
Over the following years Seaham Hall has been a hotel, then a place where patients suffering from TB came to recuperate and now again a luxurious 5 star hotel and spa.
Even Byron would be impressed with how Seaham Hall looks today. A sober looking entrance hall gives way to a fine reception area, where if you look above you a stained glass roof gives a grand feel. The porter greets you with a friendly north east welcome and after checking in guides you to your suite.
By employing local front of house staff it did give an even more homely feel to the visit. As you would expect at this level, nothing is too much trouble. If you would like your car bringing to the main door from the car park, just give your keys to the porter and your wish is granted.
The suites range from the Junior Suite right up to the Penthouse. We stayed in the Executive Suite, the south facing room overlooked the beautifully manicured gardens. From the stylish bedroom, the indulgent marble bathroom (complete with his and hers washbasins, a bath that was easy to get in and out of, rain shower and bespoke toiletries) to the elegant lounge it was first class.
A Nespresso coffee machine, a well stocked free mini bar with soft drinks, water and a small bottle of proper milk - none of the UHT capsules - added a thoughtful touch to the experience.
The mind boggles though of how much it must have cost to do this place up along with maintaining this unique Hall.
The adjacent spa is reached from the hotel by an underground passage that has a long wooden bridge that crosses over the flowing water beneath your feet. It feels like the passage has come straight out of a James Bond movie, I was half expecting Daniel Craig to meet me at the end, instead a statue of an elephant sits elegantly around loungers whilst ambient music plays.
Acclaimed as "the best spa in the North East" I would not argue with them. From the Zen Garden and Hydrotherapy pool, the 20 metre swimming pool, salt sauna, Indian Steam chamber, outdoor hot tubs, plunge pools, gym and roof terrace it has everything you need.
I experienced an Ishga Hot Stone Massage - a full body massage incorporating heated basalt stones which instantly relax the muscles. My masseur even knew that I have the bad habit of sometimes driving with one hand as the knots on the left hand side of my back gave away too much! Easing out the tension and getting rid of those knots I felt almost reborn after the 60 minute massage.
Meals at the hotel are taken in the Dining Room another sumptuous affair, where a portrait of Byron looks down on you, whilst hanging from the ceiling two 14 carat gold plated chandeliers make you think of the huge task of cleaning them!
Using local produce my Sirloin steak served with proper home made chips as a side was as classic as the surroundings we were dining in. Vegetarians are well catered for too. My sister chose the cauliflower round served with Mr Wolf spices, lentil and apple yogurt with sides of carrots and buttered Jersey Royals. Again all was first class.
There is an adjacent games room, a bar with a lounge and another lounge where afternoon tea is taken, all on the ground floor.
If you want a diversion from the stress and strains of today's world I could not imagine a better place to escape to than Seaham Hall and Spa. You deserve it.
Seaham Hall, Lord Byron's Walk, Seaham, County Durham, SR7 7AG
Telephone 0191 516 1400
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Seaham Hall And Spa, 19th March 2019, 19:54 PM