Newest Review: ... the gentleman who dealt with us on arrival was most polite and helpful. He also asked if we knew that the road outside the hotel would be b... more
A stones throw from Durham City Centre !
Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County (Durham)
Member Name: Kantankrus
Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County (Durham)
Advantages: Excellently situated for restaurants, bars and shopping.
Disadvantages: Not enough air conditioning.
We don't have a lot of money to spare and so we try to make the most of our Tesco Clubcard points to buy deals (worth three.... sometimes four times the face value) to get away for a few days. We have always used them for Marriott hotels as we have found their hotels to be good quality with good service.
Rummaging through my saved vouchers, I found we had enough to pay for two nights in a hotel and also enough to exchange for meal vouchers in various chain restaurants making it a relatively cheap weekend.
~~Why did we choose this one?~~
Well ,when we were deciding where to go, I thought it would be nice to go somewhere we had never visited before and as my mother and also a friend had been to Durham and said how nice it was, I suggested we have a look and see if they had a Marriott there.
Yes they did and it looked to be situated on the River Wear in a picturesque setting according to the web site photos.
So I booked it for Thursday 11th and Friday 12th July. Actually.......when you use your Tesco clubcard vouchers, you have to ring a special number and they tell you what dates are available so you have to be aware of this. The dates given suited us fine though and we made a reservation.
The prices at the moment range from £94 to £129 per night per person and includes breakfast. In with the cost you are also able to make full use of the leisure club.
The Royal County Marriott Hotel is ideally situated! Just a short walk across one road and you are in the centre of Durham with all it has to offer. Just as well really as on the days we were there, the country was immersed in a heat wave and I don't think I could have done with walking miles to get anywhere.
The hotel dates back to 1630 and was originally several town houses linked together. Oliver Cromwell stayed on his way to the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 before it was even a hotel.
We parked in the car park about half twelve and went to reception to check we could book car in as we knew we wouldn't be able to have access to room till 2 o clock. What a pleasant surprise!! Our room was ready and we could take our things up there and then if we wanted to. This was a real bonus and the gentleman who dealt with us on arrival was most polite and helpful.
He also asked if we knew that the road outside the hotel would be be closed on our day of departure. This meant if we were wanting to leave during Saturday we wouldn't be able to get out of the car park. Whooooooooa!! We wasn't expecting that but he explained about the yearly Miners Gala that was happening and how the streets are closed for marching bands and parades etc. He advised us of another car park we could move our car to for the second night which wasn't too far away and we thanked him for the info. (Later on I googled about the Miners Gala and was amazed to see it had been happening yearly for over 100 years only stopping for the Second World War and during the miners strike in the eighties. Can't believe I'd never heard of it before!) The charge for the hotel car park is £15 per night and the shopping centre car park we found for the second night was £11.
We took the one and only lift up to the third floor to find our room 361.
We were very pleasantly surprised with our room and I have never seen a bed as big as the one that confronted us! Put it this way. My husband is 6ft 3 and I am 6 ft but we could have fit in the bed sideways with no feet hanging over the end! I think four people could have easily slept in the bed but we aren't into that kind of thing and managed quite well on our own! Looking on the back of the door at the floors plan, it looked like we had been given one of the four larger rooms. The room consisted of a wardrobe that had quite sufficient space and removable hangers for a couple of days. An iron and ironing board was lurking in the wardrobe and that's where after a bit of hunting I also found the hair dryer. Next was a cupboard that housed a fridge (empty) and the kettle with the usual tea and coffee selection. Several biscuits were also to be found.
Next comes the trouser press. Does anyone actually use these? Maybe business men do?? Who knows. A chest of drawers had the telly sat on top which was quite an adequate size but I don't go away to watch telly so mainly used for radio. The chest of drawers supplied plenty of storage space.
Also in the room there was a bureau/desk with a swivel chair in front of it and an oval mirror where you could do your make-up. There was also a comfy sofa and occasional table that had the folder with all the usual hotel blurb in it.
The décor was muted greens and creams which I found quite soothing and gave an element of opulence against the light wood of the furniture. I always love the bedding in Marriott hotels and can honestly say I have one of the best nights sleep in their beautiful and comfy linen! If I was rich, I would be buying some of their bedding and pillows!
Bedside tables and lamps finishes the room off.
The bathroom was basically decorated but was huge! Had the usual bath with shower over, sink, toilet and also a bidet! Plenty of complimentary shampoos/shower gels etc were provided.
The room had no air conditioning apart from a free standing unit the staff had put in room. The room was stiflingly hot and I found it a little uncomfortable whilst getting ready to go out for the evening.
An ice machine was situated along the corridor if you wanted to take some to your room for drinks or to chill some wine.
Wifi is chargable in the rooms but you can sit in the comfy bar area near reception to make use of the free wifi.
Usually when we go away for a couple of days, we are really lazy and order our breakfast for room service delivery but this time we decided to eat in the restaurant. We were greeted by friendly staff and shown to a table. A helpful member of staff explained all about the buffet breakfast and that someone would be over to offer us tea or coffee. The choice on the buffet breakfast was fantastic. Everything you could think of. Cereals, fruit juices, yogurts, fruit, croissants, Danish pastries, toast, and berries or nuts to sprinkle on your cereal.
The hot buffet had anything you needed though I am not a particular fan of hot food that has been pre-cooked and left standing. You could also order poached eggs or omelettes at a different staion, but while I was there I didn't see any member of staff there but I'm sure I would have only had to ask.
My huisband tucked into his full breakfast and said it was lovely. I had cereal and croissant with fruit juice. Husband had coffee and I had tea. The service was quick and not intrusive. Really enjoyed our breakfasts which set us up for the day.
~~The Leisure Club~~
There was a small gym available to use but we gave this a miss and went straight for the spa/pool area. I love swimming and planned to do a few lengths but the pool isn't really that kind of pool. It's not really very big and with two huge pillars seeming to split the pool up there wasn't a lot of room to swim. More suited to families maybe.
The spa pool or as I know it, Jacuzzi was lovely. Really hot and really bubbly!! Not far from the Jacuzzi was a small ice cold dip pool which I have never seen before. My husband has signed up to do a Tough Mudder assault course and one of the obstacles is an ice cold water swim so this was an ideal chance for him to get some practice in! We both had a go and wow!! It certainly wakes you up! We then went in the sauna to warm back up again. The steam room wasn't working whilst we were there, which is a shame as I prefer steam to sauna.
There are also some loungers around the pool so we chilled out a while before making our way to the changing rooms. Husband was full of how nice the mens were but I'm afraid the womens didn't quite live up to expectations. They were clean but the spinner for swimming costumes was not available for use as it had been ripped off the wall. The shampoo in shower room was rubbish. I had to try three attempts to get a decent lather to wash my hair. Also there was no plastic bags left to put wet costume in. The Gym/Pool Spa is available to locals at the rate of £48 per month!! I certainly wouldn't pay that for the facilities available!
~~How I found the hotel in general~~
Apart from my grumbles about the spa/pool area and the heat, I found this particular Marriott to be a lovely place to stay with quality rooms and service. I would ask for a room with air conditioning next time.
Staff were all very polite and obliging, breakfast was good and checking in and out was not a problem. Would recommend this hotel especially for its great location. Durham is a lovely city to visit! Just remember that the second Saturday in July is Miners Gala Day, and thousands descend on the city when a lot of the roads may be shut!!
Summary: Would visit again!
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