If I was asked my opinion on what makes a perfect hotel, I would have quite a list of requirements!
Top of my list would be good service, luxurious, comfortable accommodation and superb food. Location would be high on the list too – a peaceful setting surrounded by countryside, with the city on its doorstep and the coast not too far away! The hotel would have character, history – stories to tell! It would need to be easy to get around for those with reduced mobility (as I have arthritis). Recently, my husband and I were guests of Jesmond Dene House – I soon realised I’d discovered a perfect hotel!
Jesmond Dene House is an independently owned forty bedroomed hotel, known for its understated luxury, award winning food, good service and beautiful surroundings. Its unique style is a mix of Country House Hotel, Townhouse and Boutique.
Its location could not be better. This city hotel stands in one of Newcastle’s finest areas, just a few minutes drive from the city centre. Surrounded by its own attractive gardens, it adjoins a wooded valley (called Jesmond Dene). This steep valley which shelters the hotel’s gardens is filled with tall trees an abundance of flora, streams and waterfalls.
If walls could talk Jesmond Dene House could tell many stories! Beginning life as a doctors house in the Georgian era. In Victorian times it was the lavish home of Captain Andrew Noble. In W.W.2 it served as a civil defence establishments (tunnels still remain beneath the house). Then a school. In 2005 this grade ll listed building started a new life as a hotel. Many original features have been retained – oak flooring and panelling, beautiful plasterwork ceilings, huge inglenook fireplaces, exquisite tiling, marble pillars, stained glass windows.
Jesmond Dene House is easily accessible by road and rail networks, and within easy reach of Newcastle International Airport. We arrived mid afternoon (3pm check in) by car which we parked in the hotel’s ample car park ( which includes disabled car parking bays).
An impressive, arched, stone entrance (which was level access) led us to the light, conservatory style, Reception area. Friendly staff made us instantly feel at home. Throughout our stay we noticed there was no stuffiness or formality. The atmosphere was informal, friendly with efficiency and professionalism always maintained.
The bedrooms and suites are all individually styled following a contemporary, uncluttered theme. We took the lift to our second floor Superior room which overlooked the hotel gardens and Jesmond Dene. High ceilings, a large window area, decoration and furnishings in pale colours created a light, relaxed feel. An independent heater allowed us to set the room temperature as required.
Our room contained comfortable armchairs, a desk, a table with complimentary fresh fruit, biscuits, teas, coffees, mineral water and magazines. A large flat screen T.V. adequate wardrobe space, an extra comfortable bed dressed in quality linens with a sumptuous head board. Ironing equipment, a hairdryer, safe, well stocked mini bar and free broadband access ensured we were well looked after. Our tiled bathroom had quality fittings, an extra deep bath and power shower, robes, extra fluffy soft towels and Arran Aromatics.
Wandering around the hotel before dinner, we noticed the hotel had a substantial art collection. We stopped for a while in the Billiard Room – which does not have a Billiard table but is a comfortable lounge dominated by a huge inglenook fireplace. We looked into the elegant Great Hall – a place for Receptions or conferences. We enjoyed pre dinner drinks in the Cocktail bar, seated beside a beautiful fireplace. Outside, the gardens are sheltered with seating, they aren’t vast but nevertheless are impressive.
The restaurant has two areas. There is the light, leafy, Garden Room with its Summer Terrace and the elegant former music room, where we dined, which has a detailed plasterwork ceiling and is decorated in earthy tones to create a relaxed environment.
Head Chef Michael Penaluna and his team use classic techniques but a contemporary approach to produce light, modern, British Dishes where flavours are enhanced rather than confused. They also take care to ensure their menu is accessible to everyone, whatever their preference. I think this is very much a plus point.
Warm bread and interesting appetisers led to my first course – Foraged mushrooms, Sourdough toast and poached egg, whilst my husband enjoyed Fillet of Salmon with Pea Risotto. A simple choice of Char Grilled Flat Iron Steak, thick cut chips and Bearnaise Sauce preceded our final course – Blackberry and Almond Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream for myself whilst my husband enjoyed St Mary’s Lemon Curd Ice Cream (named after their sister hotel St. Mary’s Inn). Our entire meal was delicious – full of flavour, filling but also light, there was no over- richness or heaviness. We drank mineral water with our meal, had we wanted wine, there was a good wine list. The restaurant has no strict dress codes, service was efficient and professional with an informal approach which I think always enhances the dining experience.
Next day, we woke to the sounds of birds singing,water tumbling from the waterfall in Jesmond Dene and sunshine filtering through the trees. It was hard to believe we were so close to the city.
Breakfast was served in the Garden Room. Cold meats, cheeses, cereals, yogurts, fruits, nuts, juices and breads were laid out in an adjoining room for guests to help themselves. The hot food was cooked to order, the food was good quality, flavoursome, nicely presented. Service was good.
For the less mobile, there are two disabled friendly bedrooms. From the level access main entrance and Reception there is a level ground floor corridor providing access to the public rooms, to the disabled W.C and to lifts. Seating is provided near the lifts and in Reception. Disabled Car parking bays are provided.
Step outside the hotel grounds and you are in Jesmond Dene with its inviting parkland, pets corner, grottos, ancient buildings, stepping stones, picnic areas, waterfalls, native and exotic trees, plant and bird life. Newcastle upon Tyne has excellent theatre, music and art facilities, museums, restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets, superb shopping facilities. Good road and rail links enable easy exploration of Northumberland’s unspoilt coastline and countryside known for spectacular castles and sleepy villages.
Jesmond Dene House has a leisurely check out time of 12 o’clock. All too soon it was time to leave this lovely hotel. Its unique style and hospitality making it one of my perfect hotels.
Jesmond Dene House
Jesmond Dene Road
Newcastle Upon Tyne