REVIEW | Jesmond Dene House Hotel, Newcastle
Life is a bit crazy at the minute – I’m working all hours trying to get a new business off the ground. In my spare time I’m a mum of two, domestic goddess, writer / blogger and agony-aunt to a gaggle of girlfriends with Tinder troubles and dating dilemmas. I’m also trying desperately to conform to the expectations and pressures of a Mid-30s MILF – and of course there’s the upkeep that comes with this title too.
Anyway, point being, I didn’t get the chance to jump onto the Jesmond Dene House Hotel website prior to our 4pm departure from Leeds one Sunday evening in early July. Had I taken five minutes to browse it I would have known to pack something appropriate to wear for the evening ahead. Dinner was booked for 8pm in the hotel’s restaurant, so after dumping the kids on my mum, Iain and I raced up the A1 for a night of child-free indulgence. Both dressed in jeans and travelling VERY light – toothbrush, a pair of undies and not much else.
An easy 90 minute drive and we pulled up outside a 19th Century Mansion House in a beautiful woodland setting. I’ll be honest, when I was invited to spend a night in a hotel in Newcastle – this was not what my imagination conjured up. Scenes of short skirts, hair extensions and overly orange fake tans, tight white T-shirts, lots of hair gel, tattoos and bad footwear always spring to mind when I think of Newcastle. My husband calls me judgemental and too quick to stereotype – I like to think of myself as honest and observant.
If you want the buzz of Newcastle city centre all night long, Jesmond Dene is not the place. It’s only a 10 minute taxi drive into town though, for those wanting somewhere quiet to retreat to after an evening of Jaeger Bombing in Tiger Tiger… of course had it of been a Saturday evening, the hubby and I may have done exactly that in a bitter attempt at reliving a little of our youth…. that was until we checked into our room where fluffy dressing gowns, slippers, a mini-bar and the comfiest of superior-king-sized beds with perfectly pressed White Company bedding and a large flat-screen wall-mounted state-of-the-art TV was waiting for us. This was particularly important apparently as it was the night of the European Championships Quarter Final. Got me off the hook!
But the elegant, over-sized room with and the opulent Victorian style bathroom featuring a sunken roll top and a large free-standing double shower was not the only highlight of our very short stay.
We stepped foot into the hotel’s cocktail bar in slightly grubby jeans and immediately felt very underdressed. The room played host to a number of well dressed couples who were quite obviously here for a special, romantic occasion.
Decorated opulently in deep tones with pops of bright colour, floor-to-ceiling dark oak-panelled walls featuring an eclectic art collection and wooden floors and really cool wire sculpture dogs everywhere, it’s the type of place you want to come in the winter, slouch on one of the comfy velvet sofas cuddled up in the armpit of your man and spend the day trying to conquer the (very) extensive cocktail menu. Getting slowly sozzelled together.
Anyway, to our night… our fellow female guests’ cocktail dresses had been carefully paired with shoes and the men were dressed in perfectly pressed shirts and dinner jackets. There was thought put into the evening by them all, and planning and a buildup of excitement. We choose a dark corner by the fireplace, me slightly embarrassed by the lack of effort we had put into our outfits – I made a couple of overly loud comments to the hubby and the very polite waitress suggesting that we were rock-stars and always dressed down for an occasion. Iain cringed and told me to shut up and order a drink.
We browsed the food menu whilst slurping our elderflower and lychee martinis. After much deliberation, we both opted for the same starters and mains; Lindisfarne Oysters with a selection of toppings followed by Himalayan Salt Aged 16oz Cote de Boeuf – rare of course. The ultimate rock star Surf ‘n’ Turf protein-packed dinner (and a big side order or triple cooked chunky chips for the fat person in me). It was hard though; there is some very delicious grub on the menu – Deluxe Lobster Burger, Fresh Black Summer Truffle Linguine, Organic Middle May Lamb, Fillet of Beef… it all sounded divine.
Cocktails knocked back and we were shown to our table in the restaurant adjoining the bar area. Of course ‘Oysters require champagne to bring out the flavour’ I told Iain – he winced – he was covering the drinks bill. Still, we ordered a glass each followed by a bottle of decent Malbec (a very good suggestion by the very charming resident sommelier may I add) to wash down the lump of very good quality beef. Could it get anymore heavenly?
The night was quickly turning into one of those last-minute, no effort made, ‘let’s just roll with it’ evenings that was quite frankly perfect from beginning to end. My wardrobe worries were behind me and conversation flowed between ourselves and the sommelier, waitresses, cheese trolley lady (and this lady knew her fromages) and the GM. Three hours and six million calories later we reluctantly said our goodbyes and made our way to our room.
Needless to say, after hanging the breakfast-in-bed order on our hotel door, I was out like a light, leaving the other half to watch the footie. I slept like a baby and woke up around 9am to the smell of fresh coffee and a full English.
Apparently the place also does a very popular cocktail afternoon tea which is very popular with guests and locals alike – and of course it would be with a choice of Lemon Drizzle Bombs, Orange Marmalade Collins and Chocolate Orange Martini’s to wash down your home-made-on-site fruit scones and cucumber sandwiches. If of course you can make room for it.
We rolled back home to Yorkshire from Newcastle and stuck to a diet of dust for the rest of the week.
Check out the hotel’s website here
With thanks to Jesmond Dene House Hotel for having us, and another big thank you to all the lovely staff who made our short stay so enjoyable. We’ll be back for sure!
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