What is it? Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa

Where? Matfen village is a 25-minute drive form the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, and just 15 minutes from the A1 and Newcastle International Airport

Description: Adrian and Joanne Kellett took time out from their busy lives, leaving the children in the care of their grandparents, to indulge in some much-needed ‘us’ time at a fabulous country hotel. Was this the perfect spot for parents sans enfants? They thought so! [Matfen_Hall.jpg]

Matfen Hall is owned by Sir Hugh and Lady Blackett, who have fine taste and extremely high standards. They are determined that their hotel will offer the highest levels of service and facilities for the modern visitor. They offer their guests a place to de-stress, a place to relax and a place to enjoy life.

The Hall has plenty of things to do. For golfers, there is a 18-hole championship golf course, a 9-hole par 3 golf course, and a driving range. The gym has the the most up to date Technogym equipment around, with each piece having its own entertainment system. The aerobics studio offers a variety of classes throughout the day, and there is also a solarium and 16m indoor swimming pool. Day escape packages at the Spa include a welcome drink on arrival, treatments, two-course lunch and full use of the spa facilities. And finally, there is a first-class hairdressing studio – book in advance, if possible.

There is the choice of a 2AA Rosette Library and Print Room Restaurant, Conservatory bar or the more informal Keeper’s Lodge.

The leisure club offers “splash” classes and the swimming pool is open to children at certain times in the day. Cots and highchairs are available and there is a full children’s menu.

We loved the Spa! It has five treatment rooms, including one especially for two people. A wide range of treatments is on offer, including one made especially for men. The leisure facilities include a Fire and Ice thermal suite incorporating tropical shower, ice fountain, crystal steam room, salt grotto and herbal sauna.

Local activities: Hadrian’s Wall, Hexham and Corbridge town centres, a 45-minute drive to Alnwick Castle and Gardens, 25-minute drive to MetroCentre and Newcastle’s city centre.

Wish we had known: To take walking boots or strong shoes to fully appreciate the breathtaking countryside.

Our top tip: Book spa treatments before you go. Check pool times for children as they are not allowed in at certain times.

Kids say: We got to leave ours at home!

Getting There: Accommodation ranges from L160 per night for two adults, including breakfast,for a double room, to L255 per night for the four-poster double room. Children under 12 are charged at L14 per child per night inclusive of full English breakfast when sharing a room with two adults. Children occupying their own room are charged 75% of the adult rate. These are the current rates as of November 2006. Table D’Hote dinner is L27.50 per person. The hotel has a website that allows you to check availability and make bookings. It also has details of current special offers.

About our stay: By the time we had passed the Angel of the North, Adrian and I were already beginning to relax. No surprise there, as time spent away from the usual school run and after-school activities is always a treat. Realising that I had forgotten my swimming costume, we stopped off at MetroCentre shopping mall along the way – well, that was my excuse for a spot of retail therapy! [golf_course_view.jpg] The directions to the hotel from the website were very clear and the backdrop of the hotel against a clear blue October sky was breathtaking. The original building dates back to 1832, with a later extension added in May 2004. Our bedroom was in the original part and had a fantastic view overlooking the golf course. The bedroom was furnished in a traditional style and was very spacious. All the bedrooms have satellite television, modem points, direct dial telephone, personal laptop friendly safe, trouser press, hairdryer, mini bar, clock radio, hospitality tray, bathrobes and a selection of Gilchirst and Soames toiletries. Of course, 24-hour room service is available. Hoping to take full advantage of our time off, we immediately decided to try out the leisure facilities. Neither Adrian nor I had enough energy to test the gym but instead enjoyed the experience of the Fire and Ice Thermal Suite. We started in the salt grotto, which is heated to room temperature with salt added to the atmosphere. The hot herbal sauna was next, followed by a very relaxing time in the crystal steam room – interspersed with visits to the tropical shower and ice fountain. We finished the experience with a swim and Jacuzzi. The evening meals were served in the Library and Print Room Restaurant and the quality of the food was first class. The restaurant staff were attentive without being intrusive and the ambience was cosy and intimate. Coffee and truffles were served in front of an open fire in the drawing room which is in the original building and traditionally decorated. After a good night’s sleep and a very tasty breakfast we headed to the spa for our treatments. We were shown into the double treatment room, where Adrian had a full body massage and Thermo auricular therapy, which is a gentle ear cleansing treatment. He found this very relaxing and would definitely have it again – it may sound horrible but it isn’t! I had a full body hot stones therapy, where the therapist massaged my body with large heated pebbles and I felt totally de-stressed at the end. I also opted for a luxury pedicure. The therapists were friendly and professional and the whole spa area was peaceful. After some time spent in the relaxation area we were shown to the Summer Room, for a delicious two-course lunch. Each morning we received an information sheet including hotel facilities, local attractions, weather forecast and staff on duty. There are three short walks from Maften Hall and maps and directions are available. [In_the_bedroom.jpg] There is plenty to see within driving distance and the area is steeped in history. We visited the town of Hexham where there is the Old Gaol, England’s first recorded purpose built prison. We drove a short distance to Housesteads Fort, part of Hadrian’s Wall which gave a fascinating insight into the way the Roman’s lived and how forward thinking they were. We will definitely return and would recommend Matfen Hall to anyone who is looking to recharge their batteries – with or without the children! [Adrian and Joanne Kellett live in Elland with their two children, aged 12 and 9. Adrian is a Project Manager and Joanne is an IT Officer].

Created: 2006-11-08 15:46:53.940

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