By TMA Howe
In 1817, John Dobson, one of the most respected and sought after architects of the time, was commissioned to build Doxford Hall. After numerous owners took possession over the next 200 years, the hall was eventually purchased by Robert and Gina Parker, becoming another luxury hotel in The Robert Parker Collection.
Twenty miles north of the beautiful Northumbrian town of Alnwick with its majestic castle and gardens, and just two miles off the A1, you find Doxford Hall Hotel and Spa nestled away in a lovely 10 acre estate, surrounded by woodland and open fields with a nearby lake also.
The hotel has 31 bedrooms, many named after famous north eastern personalities, including John Dobson the already-mentioned architect; Grace Darling, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter famed for rescuing shipwreck survivors in the early 19th century; and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, famous for landscaping many large English estates of 18th century England, including nearby Alnwick Castle.
Each of the bedrooms has been traditionally decorated in keeping with the property and have elegant en-suite bathrooms. There are even a few bedrooms especially for those that cannot be parted from their favourite pooch, each situated near a rear door so that muddy paws don’t spoil the rest of the hotel. We stayed in the John Dobson bedroom which had lovely views overlooking the grounds and a huge bath and walk in shower.
Relax and rejuvenate at Doxford Hall
Guests are invited to relax and rejuvenate in the spa. There, an experienced team of qualified therapists help remove all your stress in the relaxation zone and one of the four treatment rooms. Treatments such as Darphin facial treatments, Darphin body treatments and alternative treatments such as hot stone massage and spray tanning are all available. There is also a pool and Jacuzzi to enable a total wind down.
Once fully relaxed, guests can make their way to the George Runciman Restaurant and choose from the à la carte menu. I chose the Robert Parker Collection Signature Dish of lobster and prawn cocktail with avocado, saffron emulsion and brown bread crisps for my starter. This was followed by the halibut fillet served with potato and leek cake, baby fennel and a shrimp and caper sauce. Dessert was a tough choice, but I finally decided on the dark chocolate pave with salted chocolate brittle, Chainbridge honey ice cream and toffee popcorn – so good I could have licked the plate clean (but thought better of it!).
Well and truly fed and watered, we retired to our sumptuous bedroom for a perfect night’s sleep. The following morning, a great touch was a note that was pushed under the bedroom door. The note detailed who the day’s staff were, what the day’s weather forecast was expected to be, and details of local attractions, including the opportunity to book a half-day’s fishing on the nearby River Coquet. A definite touch of class.
A good hearty breakfast was also served in the George Runciman Restaurant and fuelled us up ready for a day visiting some of local attractions such as Bamburgh Castle, the village of Seahouses, and Holy Island and Lindisfarne.
In addition to the hotel and spa, Doxford Hall is an ideal wedding venue. The dedicated wedding co-ordinator assists so that the special day will be just what the happy couple require. Weddings of all sizes can be catered for, either taking over the whole hotel, or using areas such as small landings for a cosy, more intimate affair. In addition, Doxford Hall has the Frank Henry Mason Room which can be used for board meetings and private dining functions.
Doxford Hall is a perfect luxury country hotel for all occasions, be they celebrations or a relaxing weekend in the wonderful Northumbrian countryside. I had a perfect stay helped by the friendly staff and Duty Manager Nicola Nelson.
TMA Howe is Luxury Globe Media’s UK Automotive Editor and something of a travel buff.