Weekend Away - Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham
Offering the perfect blend of traditional features, luxury accommodation and first-class service, Ramside Hall was the ideal setting for a break in County Durham for Pauline Hannon and Alan Edwards
On a bright and beautiful sunny rainbow-laden day, we headed over the Pennines to the Land of the Prince Bishops and to Ramside Hall in County Durham. We were planning to spend a couple of nights with friends and had chosen this hotel for its reputedly excellent spa and championship golf courses.
The approach to the castellated Hall was a little muddled but we soon found Reception and although our rooms weren’t ready we were able to relax in the lounge with a complimentary cup of tea or coffee. Our room was soon ready, and we were delighted with the comfortable spaciousness it afforded. A complimentary bottle of wine was on ice in our room and ESPA toiletries were waiting in the en suite, add to which, our situation gave us a perfect view of the 18th green. Once we had settled into the room we were ready to explore the hotel.
We’re both gym/swim bunnies so that would be our first port of call. It would be fair to say that the main hotel is a little tired and needs some updating but the Spa, only some five years old, is all you could ever want. The gym didn’t disappoint - all the usual equipment was available in abundance together with a large variety of resistance apparatus.
We’d earned our fun, it was time to go to the pool. Available to all guests the 25 metre pool, always a favourite, was magnificent. The pool complex also has a children’s pool, a sauna and a steam room. Attentive staff unobtrusively tidy lounge beds and replenish towels regularly – a small thing but it all helps to keep the world turning. Spa guests could access an additional pool with water jets of every variety – just great for aching muscles. Fruit and fruit-flavoured water is on tap and, if needs be, a trip to the accessible bar for prosecco does not go amiss.
Later, we were joined by friends at the Rib Room Steakhouse. Managed by Jean Rousselle from the Loire, a charming gentleman, who welcomed us to the Rib Room personally. The extensive menu offered a variety of local produce in both fish and meat dishes; the champions here were the Moulles starter and the Halibut Three Ways main. There was a very comprehensive wine menu which included our all-time favourite wine – Gavi de Gavi.
Next day the guys were hot to trot, galloping off to the Golf Academy, intent on being winners. My friend and I had a leisurely breakfast, much later, and then retired to my room to await the show on the 18th hole. For the golfers, the weather was good, and even the promised wind had not materialised! Only one of the two championship courses were open (estate management) but fortunately it was the one Alan had booked to play - the Prince Bishop course (6851 yards and par 72). This course is nicely set-up, and while having lots of apparent surface water, it is fair, with broad fairways and is actually reasonably forgiving. In fact, Alan came home with the same golf ball he started with – always noteworthy for him! Some good shots were played, and the round ended happily for Alan with just 2 shots from 18th greenside bunker into the 18th cup, no doubt due in part to the enthusiastic encouragement emanating from the balconies of our green-side rooms. So, the boys were both happy.
Following this, our friends left to enjoy the delights of County Durham. We have been regular visitors to the area over many years, Durham City, Beamish Museum, the Durham Coastline and country parks and reservoirs in abundance. County Durham is one of our most beautiful counties.
Alone again we headed back to the spa complex, naturally! More gym, more swim then into the spa again. There is a large outside hot tub with fab warm water spouts. The perfect place to meet people and make new friends. One group of ladies were celebrating the huge birthday of one of their number. Previously they had been kayaking and trail biking, clearly the birthday girl was slowing down! A lovely bunch, they had gathered from all over the country to celebrate Mum’s birthday. On this second visit to the Spa we found an additional sauna which had views overlooking the outdoor hot tub and grounds.
Now, to be fair, it wouldn’t be right and it wouldn’t be proper, if I stayed at this lovely place and didn’t have just one spa treatment. Leaving Alan to enjoy the delights of the water jets I headed off, prosecco in hand, to the ESPA treatment rooms. I wished for a treatment that would remove 15 years (misspent in my youth) from about my person. What I got, left me invigorated and refreshed and ready for the evening ahead. Result!
Family, living locally and celebrating a birthday, not so huge, joined us for dinner at the Fusion Restaurant. Within the Spa at Ramside, Fusion offers a Pan Asian menu to delight. The stars this evening were Tempura Prawns and Yellow Thai Curry. A lovely evening was had and we retired feeling relaxed and happy.
When we arrived the front of the hotel was rather plain and dominated by the new spa building but as we were leaving the hotel the front garden area was being filled with petunia tubs and beds to welcome spring and also with rhododendrons for flowering later in the year.
Satisfied and relaxed and still in sunshine, having had a lovely sojourn in this Land of The Prince Bishops we waved farewell to Ramside Hall.
Ramside Hall Carrville, Durham, DH1 1TD
t: 0191 386 5282 e: firstname.lastname@example.org