Recently, my partner and I were invited to spend a night at Rockliffe Hall, an award-winning five-star golf and spa hotel in the quiet village of Hurworth (on the edge of County Durham).

If you had to ask me to sum up my stay in one word, it would be perfection, and if you asked me whether I'd recommend it to you, I'd probably say "Yes, book it now!". But let's face it, that wouldn't make for a very engaging blog post now would it?

If you're curious to why I've opened this blog with such bold statements, read on and it'll all become clear...


We arrived to the hotel on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, the sun beaming down on the picturesque grounds as we drove down the entrance. Before we'd even left the car it was clear this was a place of true elegance and luxury, as lines of sports cars filled the parking lot.

As we approached the hotel entrance, we were immediately met by a friendly concierge, who whisked our luggage away to our room. We were then greeted by a member of the front-of-house staff, who made the check-in process a pleasure, before escorting us to our room where she kindly talked us through the features  - we were even offered help unpacking but we politely declined.

So far, so good.

The Suite

Our suite was located in the New Hall, which is part of the extension carried out in 2009. First impressions were that the room was incredibly spacious, in fact it was huge!

Like many of us do, the first thing I did was test out the king-size bed. Oh, what a mistake! I would have been happy to stay there all night, it was that comfortable. But, I conjured up some strength and explored the rest of the room.

Making up the rest of the living space were two large and cosy sofas, a flat-screen television and a writing desk. Our room had a small balcony, which faced out onto the front of the property - giving a wonderful view of the greenspace and woodland.

One thing I particularly loved was the mood lighting. In fact, the ceiling coving was fitted with LEDs that changed colour. The whole suite was decorated in a modern, chic fashion with some really gorgeous, dark features.

Another key element for me is the bathroom, and it didn't disappoint. The bath itself was massive, with a touch-screen tv built into the wall. The shower room was again very big, with both a handheld shower and an extremely powerful round head shower - which was amazing. The toilet was separate to the main bathroom to give you the ultimate privacy, and were both very contemporary with stunning cream tiles.

So far, even better.

The Spa

We didn't stay in the room too long before we headed down to the spa, which was a short walk down the hallway. We were booked in for a two-hour session in The Spa Garden, which is adjacent to the spa and offers an enhanced experience.

It had a number of great features both indoors and outdoors. Indoors, we could take advantage of a range of complimentary refreshments (nuts, fruit juice etc), as well as enjoying the glass-fronted sauna and heated relaxation loungers. Unfortunately, the fire pit only operates at night time but I can imagine it being visually stunning.

Outdoors, there were two hot pools with massage and jacuzzi features, alongside lounging areas that overlooked the grounds.

I can't confess to being a spa expert, in fact this was my first real visit to one, but I'm sure not many are as good as this. It was a haven of relaxation and after two hours of lazing, I felt incredibly refreshed  - I even forgot about that luxurious bed for a moment or two.

So far, starting to fall in love.


Rockliffe Hall has always been known for its excellent culinary offering, previously being home to Michelin star chef Kenny Atkinson.

As our stay was on a Sunday, their award-winning restaurant The Orangery was closed, but we were reassured that we would be dined in style in The Brasserie.

And yes, we were. The Brasserie offers up an amazing menu of food, which showcases some of the fantastic products available from the region. One con - it made choosing a three-course meal incredibly difficult!

After some deliberation, we both had the Black Pudding Scotch Egg to start, which was like every Northern boy's dream! For main, we had Steak (with chips) and Beef Wellington, again both were incredibly good - ideally cooked and I may, I just may, have had the best mashed potato ever.

We finished with a treacle tart, which although incredibly sweet was lovely with the custard, and a chocolate fondant. We were told that it was a minimum wait time of 12 minutes for the fondant, which is to allow the chocolate sauce in the middle to set perfectly. I was advised that it was well worth the wait.

So far, lost for words.

The Next Day

We woke up the next day feeling pretty amazing, the tranquil surroundings are just the best setting for a great night's sleep. During the morning, the hotel had slipped a quick check-out slip under our door that allowed us to sign off our bill and leave with minimal effort or delay.

After a quick shower and change, I said my farewells to our bed, and headed down to breakfast, which was served in The Orangery. We both had a traditional breakfast, which again was of the highest standard - I could have probably eaten a full loaf's worth of the bread if my stomach would have let me. Alongside our hot meal, we could help ourselves to a selection of cold breakfast items, including cereals and cheeses. Finally, we were given a fresh pot of coffee and a large glass of orange juice, which set us up for a great day ahead.

In the end, we were very sad to leave, Rockliffe Hall welcomed us with open arms and delivered a superb overnight stay that we both thoroughly enjoyed.

Conclusion? Perfection.

Useful Information

Address:  Hurworth on Tees, Darlington, County Durham, DL2 2DU

Phone: +44 01325 729 999


Room rates: From £155

The Brasserie: Three-course meal from £35 - £60 approx.

The Spa Garden: Additional £30 per person for two hours.

By David Morton




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