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Newcastle House Hotel (Rothbury, Northumberland)

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1 Review

Address: Front Street / Rothbury NE65 7UT / Northumberland

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      23.04.2012 15:45
      Very helpful



      A very basic guest house rather than a hotel

      Newcastle House Hotel, Rothbury, Northumberland

      I know that we have only just come back from a fabulous holiday but when I saw this bargain on KGB deals £59 for two nights for two people including breakfast up in Northumberland I couldn't resist getting it and booking it for over my husband's birthday. As we hadn't paid a lot and I had read that it was a pub I wasn't expecting five star accommodation but I was hoping it would be okay.

      I confess I knew nothing about Rothbury before booking this but we had wanted to explore Northumberland and this seemed pretty close to Alnwick Castle where we wanted to go and also not so far from Lindisfarne either so a pretty near perfect location. Rothbury is a small town on the river Coquet and is a good base for walkers wanting to explore Coquetdale and the hills around.

      The town is bigger than I had thought and I managed to find a post office ton post some things I needed to get off before we got home again and then we made our way to the hotel.

      From the outside it looks like a pub and in fact once inside it also looks like a pub. Thankfully since the smoking ban we are no longer greeted with wall of smelly smoke when entering a pub but we were still a little concerned as to what the room would be like. The entrance is very dark with a burgundy patterned carpet that looked like it had been down a good few years. From the entrance you could go up the stairs or to the right into the restaurant and one bar or left into another bar area.

      The lady who greeted us was very pleasant and efficient; she booked us in and then took us up the stairs and to the left through several fire doors and down a long corridor carpeted with a beige patterned carpet.

      Our room was at the end and was a decent size but although the carpet looked new, plain neutral colour, all the furniture was polished pine and rather dated. We had a double and single bed, a huge pine wardrobe, a pine small desk and one small drawer unit being used for a bedside table and the other with a kettle and tea/coffee/hot chocolate and biscuits on a tray. The room was clean but it all just looked a bit tired. The double bed was a storage divan and the base was not covered with a valance which just looked un finished. Because the bedside table was between the single and the double bed it meant that the person on the right hand side of the bed had no reading light so I chose to read in the single bed as one of my pleasures is my read in bed before going to sleep.

      The ensuite shower room was minute. The electric shower was okay but the cubicle was tiny so some people would struggle to fit in it. The toilet and basin were so close that you almost had to sit sideways as you banged your knees on the basin otherwise. A notice asked you not to put condoms, tampons and sanitary towels in the toilet but to use the bags provided and there were no bags in the holder on the wall. On the wall of the shower was a dispenser for shower gel and soap but both were empty and we were left a small bottle of conditioning shampoo. Luckily I had taken some extra shower gels from other hotels but I had thought soap would be provided so we just used shower gel to wash our hands. Another slightly unpleasant thing was that we only had cold water in the basin from both taps! This made it not very pleasant to wash your hands or face so the only hot water was from the shower. I don't mind that sort of thing in an eco tent but it shouldn't be the case in a hotel in the UK. Finally it was not only tiny and had no window but it had no extractor fan which meant it was not pleasant once someone had used the toilet!!

      As I said the room was big and had two huge windows, one overlooking the street below and the other which was slightly clouded glass at the bottom for privacy and looked back over the rest of the pub. This did mean you had to draw the rather thin curtains when dressing otherwise you were on full view to the shoppers passing by. The windows were not double glazed and this we found meant that the two radiators struggled to make the room warm enough to sit in. I wrapped a blanket around me to read or use my laptop. There was also only one rather hard chair near the desk so it didn't encourage sitting and reading at all really.

      The whole room just looked dated and put together with a lack of any finesse. The walls were painted white over anaglypta wall paper which I realise covers up a lot of cracks and things in old wall but this just looked like it had been decorated in the 70s. The bedding again was okay but not crisp and white linen, more like the polycotton stuff you might buy from Primark. The other slightly off putting thing was something I discovered after getting out of the single bed and that was that the duvet cover on the single bed was stained on the underside. There is no way I would use a stained duvet cover at home and I certainly do NOT expect it in a hotel. The cover was clean and smelled perfectly nice but it just looked really yukky.

      If you wanted a bath there was one for guest down the corridor but somehow the thought of taking all my stuff down the corridor to have a bath put me off. There was also a shared toilet down the corridor. I have a feeling that some of the rooms may not have been ensuite. Again both these looked like they could do with a makeover.

      This was served in the restaurant and the tables were set for the number of people staying in the hotel. The juice (orange only) was in a jug on a table with a jug of milk, a bowl full of mini butters, some large jars of jam and spoon with small dishes into which you were meant to put what marmalade or jam you wanted. Bread in plastic wrappers and a toaster as well as three packs of cereal in the boxes they come in. Coffee in a machine was on a window sill behind a trolley full of all the cutlery and condiments used for laying the tables which made it not at all obvious and quite hard to get to. Tea was freshly made for you in the kitchen. Next to this small table of breakfast stuff was the server which was used as storage and all this gave the impression that you were eating somewhere temporary, a bit like a building site or how we ate when our kitchen was out of action when we were having a new kitchen installed.

      The male chef cooked breakfast the first morning and the female chef the second. She was much more chatty and I believe the owner/manager and she informed me that they had recently acquired the place so hopefully they will start to make a few improvements. Many things could be sorted without spending a lot of money but to make it really nice it would need a major makeover which may not be worth it if they don't get that many guests.

      Anyway we were offered anything from a full English breakfast to any type of eggs or kippers. I stupidly asked for a kipper the first morning and it was hard work and repeated on me for the rest of the day. On the second day I asked for bacon only and made a bacon butty with some toast. My husband enjoyed his full English both mornings. I would have preferred fruit and yoghurt with nicely presented toast and things to spread on it. The food was well cooked although I was not impressed with the kipper as parts seemed to be cold and I only had a couple of mouthfuls.

      We ate in the pub/hotel restaurant on the first night and we hadn't booked, it was packed but luckily they fitted us in. They hadn't said it was necessary to book or asked if we wanted to eat there that night which could have been a bit annoying if we had not been able to get a table.

      The menu was varied and reasonable prices. Most starters were around £4/5 and the mains were around £10 to £14 at the most. My husband chose the battered fish and chips and was very happy with his choice while I had the cod with creamy wine and pea sauce which came with mash and a bowl of freshly cooked vegetables. I enjoyed the meal it was tasty and I found no bones in my fish. I decided I'd like a dessert and chose two scoops of Movenpic ice cream which was about £3. The meal with two beers and two spritzers came to £37 which we thought was a good price for what we had.

      The service was friendly, efficient and we had no complaints about the meal at all. Obviously the pub had a good reputation for meals within the town as it was so full on a Monday night.

      I read that wifi was available but in our room I could not get on at all so I would have had to sit down in the pub area to get onto the wifi which isn't quite what I had hoped but I guess I could have accessed it had I wanted to.

      Well, no. If you could get the same rate as we paid which was £59 for two nights for both of us then I think that was okay. Would I pay the full rate? Not a chance. When you can get bargains with the chain hotels which offer a decent standard of accommodation I think I would prefer a days inn, Holiday Inn or even the one Lenny Henry advertises to staying in a cold somewhat dated room with stained sheets and no soap.

      Sorry but I do think attention to detail was lacking and some things like the stained duvet cover and the way breakfast was laid out showed a complete lack of any thought for the way a guest might view things. Cereal should be in fresh looking sealed jars not tatty looking cereal packets and toast should be freshly made and presented in a basket or bread put in a basket near the toaster not in the plastic bread bag!!
      Rooms need to be warm enough for guests to sit in without wearing blankets. The radiators came on at about 5pm and went off overnight which is fair enough but the room was cold again when we got up and it was not mid winter so heaven knows what it would be like when it is really cold outside.

      Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.


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