In the centre of Alnwick, this is a 300 year old coaching inn with a lot of character and a lovely old fashioned feel as you walk in through the revolving door.
Reception staff are efficient and helpful. I was asked about newspapers and wake up call when I checked in. There is a lounge area by reception as well as a separate lounge although this may be used for meetings. The bar off reception also also doubles up as Hardy’s Bistro serving meals. For real ale fans it also has a hand pump as well as the usual selection of keg beers. When I was there, Sharp’s Doom Bar was on offer which was in excellent condition.
The main dining room is up a short flight of stairs at the back of the hotel. Known as the Olympic dining room this is a stunning place to eat as all the paneling, mirrors, stained glass and plaster ceiling were salvaged from RMS Olympia, a sister ship to the ill fated Titanic.
RMS Olympia was launched in 1911 at at the time was the largest ocean liner in the world. The lounge was described as “a magnificent salon … the finest room ever built into a ship. It is more suggestive of a state apartment in a palace than a room on shipboard.”
Although it was converted to oil fired engines after the First World War, it was uneconomic compared to other luxury liners like the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. It was scrapped in 1937 and the fittings auctioned off. The then owner of the White Swan bought parts of the lounge fittings, staircase and revolving door from the ship and installed them in the White Swan.
The food was also as good and definitely matched the surroundings. There was plenty of choice and an emphasis on local food, including Craster kippers at breakfast time. These are genuine traditionally smoked kippers and completely different to the average supermarket offering. They were so popular the chef ran out one morning… The help yourself buffet had a good choice of cereals and fruit juices. There was fresh fruit as well as prunes and a selection of plain or fruit yogurts.
The cooked breakfast was cooked to order and the traditional English breakfast consisted of back bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomato, mushroom and a choice of eggs. It was excellent and very hot too. Other choices included smoked haddock with poached eggs, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or eggs Benedict. Toast was served to the table or their were croissants from teh breakfast bar.
There was a set three course “menu”:https://www.classiclodges.co.uk/media/6370/web-olympic-restaurant-sample-menu.pdf with tea or coffee which varied each day. There was plenty of choice, portions were a good size and the food attractively displayed. The soup was homemade and excellent. The cheese board would easily have served three people.
I had a room at the back of the hotel so the view wasn’t great but it was a comfortable room with a very comfy bed. There was a walk in shower rather than a bath which gave a good jet of water and the bath towels were generous and dried well. Towels were changed daily and there was a plentiful supply of toiletries.
There was the usual hospitality tray with two packs of Grandma Wild biscuits as well as a bottle of still and a bottle of sparkling water. There was a flat screen TV, iron and ironing board, hair drier and telephone. There is free wi-fi.
My only criticism would be lack of drawer space. There was an open hanging area but the only drawers were two small drawers beneath the desk or small drawers in the bedside cabinet.
Being a listed building, there is no lift and there are steps to negotiate throughout the building. Cars can drop off and pick up outside the hotel and there is a small parking area at the back, or a car park across the road at the back.
This is a very comfortable hotel with a lot of class and lovely staff.
I spent four nights here on half board and really enjoyed the stay.