Nestled in the beautiful countryside of Northumberland, Slaley Hall has to be one of my favourite places in the North East. I felt like having visited for the third time now, it deserved a blog post. Let's talk about the food, facilities, accommodation, and of course the stunning grounds.
Friday 14th August marked my one-year anniversary with my boyfriend, so of course we wanted to celebrate together. In any normal situation (without Miss Rona ruining everyone’s lives) we would’ve probably booked a week in Greece or something, however we still managed to find a great spa break to Slaley Hall. Our deal included a one-night stay with breakfast, £28pp allocation towards dinner, 50-minute treatment, and access to the facilities.
Prior to our visit (the day before) we were contacted to discuss the Covid-19 measures that had been put in place for everyone’s safety. I was disappointed to be told so last minute that we had to book a 1-hour slot if we wanted to swim in the spa pool and unfortunately there were no available slots left on the day we were due to arrive. I was irritated by this and feel it should have either been communicated to us when we booked our break or at the very least the information could’ve been put on their website so we knew what we had to do. Never mind! On to the important stuff…
We arrived around 4.30pm, checked in smoothly, and made our way to the room. The room was faultless… we had a massive king size bed, spacious bathroom with complimentary toiletries, wardrobes, hairdryer, iron, fridge, coffee/tea making facilities, and plenty of space to move around freely.
The room had a modern style and relaxed feel to it. I also noticed it was practically spotless, which in these worrying times is especially important. I’d have to say my favourite part of the room was the huge bed… it was super comfortable and provided plenty of space.
Our anniversary meal was booked for 7.30pm. There are several restaurants to choose from at Slaley Hall but after doing some research and looking at the menus online I decided to make a reservation at The Claret Jug.
On our way to dinner I couldn’t help but notice that we seemed to be some of the most dressed up people there, despite it being a Friday night! We arrived at The Claret Jug and noticed it appeared to be more of a pub-style eatery than a restaurant like I’d imagined. However, we were seated promptly and given a menu and a drinks order was taken. I was shocked by the menu because it was completely different to what I’d viewed on the website; it was merely light bites and salads – they even had the breakfast menu on there! Put it this way, I wasn’t prepared to eat a jacket potato or hot beef sandwich for my anniversary dinner, so I explained this to our waitress and luckily she managed to get us a table 45 minutes later in Hadrian’s Brasserie upstairs.
The menu here was more like it. They had a great selection of starters, mains, and desserts, as well as an impressive wine list. We skipped starters and I chose Chicken Milanese for my main course, which was breaded chicken with a parmesan crust over a bed of potato salad. I found this to be a lovely light dish, nothing too much or too rich.
For dessert I opted for the Sticky Toffee and Salted Caramel Pudding because it just sounded so delicious. Sadly, this was one of the worst desserts I’ve ever had… It was extremely dry and blatantly obvious to me that it had just been blasted in the microwave. I enjoyed at least one out of the two dishes but I will say that the sauvignon blanc was definitely a winner.
Following on from dinner, we enjoyed a few drinks in the bar. Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m experiencing a real obsession with margarita cocktails at the moment, so when I noticed it was on the menu I obviously had to order one. I can’t fault the cocktail whatsoever and actually ended up having a few more. I like a really salty rim though, so when I went back for more I made sure to request this!
When it came to breakfast the next morning we only had the option to order room service because the breakfast room was fully booked. The previous two occasions I’ve stayed at Slaley Hall I’ve never had to book breakfast, so this must be a Covid thing. We were disappointed again that nobody told us about this but nevertheless we made do with room service.
We decided to get a bit of a feast for breakfast… croissants, muffins, eggs and toast, cereal, juice, and coffee. Some of it arrived cold unfortunately, which made things a little less enjoyable. However, the coffee was amazing and I enjoyed the softest blueberry muffin EVER.
After finishing up breakfast, we had our massage treatment booked for 10am. I chose the full body exfoliation with back, neck, and shoulder massage included – it was just what I needed! I had a really lovely spa consultant who talked me through how things would go (Covid safety measures) and I’d say I felt mostly relaxed afterwards. My only gripe would be that there was no soothing music playing like there has been every time before… instead I listened to her plastic PPE crackling and crunching as she moved around the massage table. So, that could’ve been better.
All in all, I had a fairly pleasant stay at Slaley Hall. My previous two visits were far better but I do think a lot of the things I was disappointed about this time were due to the Covid-19 measures in place. So, I would urge anyone wishing to have a spa break away (or any kind of break) to really consider how your visit might be different to what you would normally expect.