“The joy of Jesmond Dene House is that it feels like it’s in the country, yet is only a 10-minute drive from Newcastle city centre. A grand Arts and Crafts building - all mullioned windows, tall chimneys and battlements - it overlooks the wooded valley of Jesmond Dene, a tranquil spot criss-crossed with paths and dotted with rustic bridges. Independently owned, the hotel is one of the city’s finest mansions - once the home of Sir Andrew Noble, partner in Victorian industrialist Lord Armstrong’s engineering business - and plenty of the original character remains, skilfully blended with contemporary touches. Vast inglenook fireplaces, wood panelling, polished floors and stained glass windows happily sit alongside snazzy Italian chairs, deep velvet sofas, contemporary art and warm tones of burnt orange, aubergine and raspberry red. Apart from the eight rooms in the New House - a modern interpretation of Arts and Crafts - none of the bedrooms is the same. You might find a bay window, a roof terrace or a window seat. The style is smooth and understated with muted colours, sleek furnishings and pops of colour in feature wallpapers, brocaded armchairs and silk curtains.
The cooking (three AA rosettes) is skilful with intriguing combinations - scallops with apple and nasturtiums, beef with puffed spelt and snails - splendid breakfasts and highly popular afternoon teas. Lunch or tea is lovely in the summer on the terrace overlooking the garden, the latter a plantsman’s delight. Despite the hotel’s grand appearance, the service is warm and friendly. No-one minds if you kick off your shoes to curl up with a book in the handsomely panelled Billiard Room.”
Written by Helen Pickles