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Serenity at Seaham Hall
Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa (Seaham)
Member Name: Picasso
Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa (Seaham)
Date: 26/03/08, updated on 04/01/10 (504 review reads)
Advantages: Unadultderated Luxury with choice of dining
Disadvantages: A little misinformed by our porter.
For my birthday this year (13th March) my husband booked us both into the hotel for 2 nights along with a special pamper day "Time to Share" designed for couples or close friends. We now live in Manchester and one night would not be enough. We arrived at the hotel at 2pm, an hour before the actual check in time and were shown immediately to our suite. The hotel doesn't have a reception; guests are "received" in their rooms. The porter carried our bags and once inside gave us a guided tour; a demonstration of how to use the lighting system, temperature and air conditioning controls and delighted in showing us how the Bang and Olufsen TV worked. After what seemed like a very detailed talk on the domestics of the hotel, he ordered complimentary tea, which came accompanied by warm hot cross buns. As I explored the room, I realised that a few changes had been made since our last stay. The Molten Brown toiletries had been replaced by a vast range by Aromatherapy Associates, the pillow menu seemed to have been discontinued and there was no hospitality tray. However one would be brought to our room should we request it and tea and coffee could be ordered free of charge whenever we wanted. This had a plus side because we were brought fresh milk and not that awful UHT stuff often found in hotel rooms. We had chosen a different suite (no10) which was a corner room and had two windows, one with views onto the woods and the other to the sea.
Seaham Hall is on the coast and after our refreshments we decided to take a bracing walk on the beach. Seaham itself is not the prettiest of towns but the beach is natural and pleasant enough. Returning to the hotel we had a walk around its lovely grounds and admired the spring flowers. We took photographs of the hotel with the William Pye water sculpture in front of this cliff top house bringing this ancient place into the 21st century and reminding us of the delights within.
Time to use the pool and warm up in the steam room and sauna. From the rooms, a magical underground tunnel in which a teak and glass boardwalk is suspended over running water links the spa. The hotel porter has advised us to wear the bathrobes and slippers when going to the spa so we donned our swim wear and went to check it out. After half an hour in the pool, I realised that we had been misinformed. We were the only people in our robes and slippers; the spa's reception offer cotton gowns and flip-flops much more practical than our sopping slippers and wet robes. We changed them immediately. We did the rounds from the 20 metre ozone cleansed pool, sanarium with crystal light therapy and the black granite steam room with amethyst crystal to the snail showers and Jacuzzi and the hydrotherapy bath but my favourite was the outdoor hot tubs. As we opened the doors from the lovely warm pool area to brace the elements of the north-east wind on this very sunny but icy cold day, the tubs were just heaven. Surrounded by daffodils and very pleasant gardens I felt myself nodding off. With all this hard work, time to return to our room for an hour's nap before getting ready for dinner.
The hotel has two restaurants, the Ozone, which is situated in the spa building and serves Pan Asian and a large selection of vegetarian food and is very informal. The White Room is more formal and has 3 menus priced at £50, £55 and £60 for 3 courses which doesn't include coffee. As our spa package included lunch at the Ozone, we decided to dine both nights in the White room. Since our last stay, the White Room has been awarded a Michelin star and this perhaps is reflected in a price increase. After ordering pre dinner drinks in the bar area, we were brought a selection of delicious canapés. We ordered a bottle of Muscadet, which at £20 was one of the cheapest on the list and although there were some very expensive wines, in general I found the prices reasonable and similar to those in my local restaurants. We both chose scallops for starters which were succulent and very tasty. A complimentary and very refreshing shot glass of gazpacho followed this course. I had a wonderful chicken dish, three pieces of chicken cooked in three different ways whilst hubby enjoyed the sea bass. Before the pudding course, we were given another complimentary dish (a pre dessert course) of ice cream and sorbet. A dark rich chocolate torte served with edible gold for me and a cheese board to die for with over thirty to choose from for hubby.
Back in our room which had undergone a turn down service. This included replacing all the wonderful toiletries, which were now safely packed in my suitcase. I was asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and I didn't wake up until room service called with our early morning tea at 8am. Breakfast can be served in room or in the restaurant. Again something the porter failed to tell it and us wasn't in the hotel blurb either. Having completed our slip the night before, breakfast arrived punctually at 9.15am. The waiters armed with tablecloth and fine silver cutlery laid our table, which overlooked the woods. Time to tuck in to our healthy choice of home made vanilla yoghurt with fresh fruit followed by poached eggs on toast.
We were booked to start our spa treatment for 11am. An hour before we received a call to say that the mud machine required for our Rasul treatment wasn't working and we were offered the Dry Floatation as an alternative. This was a big disappointment as we had both been looking forward to having a lot of messy fun. The floatation treatment is quite something, wrapped in sheeting and placed on a bed which gradually sinks and the floatation sensation starts. Once again totally relaxed, the therapist conducted an Indian Head Massage. The whole thing lasts about half an hour and is apparently equivalent to having eight hours sleep. As part two and three of our treatment programme wasn't until the afternoon, we returned to the pool area, the sauna and the hot tubs. A three-course lunch is included in a day treatment package. A lot of char gilled fish, meat, chicken and tofu as well as Thai curries and tropical fruits. The choice of one drink from a selection of smoothies wines and juices. We both chose a delightful vitamin c smoothie.
The Aroma Stone Back Therapy is wonderful. I had it on my last visit and it was the highlight of my day. Hot oily stones work wonders over tense limbs like nothing else. Then the Special Facial that takes an hour and is so relaxing that I fell asleep and only woke up when I embarrassingly started to snore. Apparently this is a big compliment to the therapist!
Another wonderful evening meal and unbroken night's sleep, woken with a pot of tea followed by breakfast in the restaurant and my birthday break was over.
Seaham Hall and Spa is a juxtaposition of the old and the new. Together they create a true destination getaway for discerning travellers looking for style alongside a subtle indulgence. Rooms start from £250 and include breakfast and use of the facilities in the pool area and gym. Spa sessions range from facials and reflexology to full day treatments. Our programme cost £170 per person including lunch. There are programmes for men only, pregnant women and couples. The food is excellent in both restaurants and I cannot fault the accommodation.
As well as its Michelin star, Seaham Hall has won lots of awards including best spa hotel by the Guardian newspaper and Conde Naste Travel and best spa by the Sunday times.
All 19 suites are non-smoking, smoking only being allowed on the terraces.
Seaham Hall is only a 15-minute drive from the historic city of Durham and 20 minutes from the bustling city of Newcastle. With the beautiful county of Northumberland on its doorstep, this is a delightful place to stay for a special occasion.
Summary: Luxury spa hotel in the north east of England
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