Rockliffe Hall Darlington, County Durham – a relaxing spa escape

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After being trapped in for hours in Bank Holiday roadworks hell, the five-star hotel Rockliffe Hall Darlington in in County Durham was a more than welcome sight. Set in 375 acres of parkland, the original building dates from the 1800s, but over the years the 61-room hotel has been extended to include a highly-rated 50,000 ft spa and three restaurants, two of which overlook its 18-hole Championship golf course.

rockliffe hall darlington
The rather lovely view from my bedroom

Thanks to the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the A1, my visit turned out to be a flying one, with no time for a round of golf or even a stroll round the lush-looking gardens.

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Check the latest price on Booking.com for Rockliffe Hall here
Compare latest prices for Rockliffe Hall click here
To read more reviews go to Rockliffe Hall on TripAdviser here
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However I could admire them from my vast hotel room, which had a huge bed, massive amounts of storage space, a separate bath and shower and French windows which opened out onto my very own patio.

rockliffe hall darlington
The bedrooms are huge, with one or two King-sized beds

The rest of the hotel was equally spacious, with huge, carpeted corridors leading the way to the spa in one direction and the hotel bar in the other.

rockliffe hall darlington
Many of the rooms have private patios or roof terraces

However they had to wait – it was time for dinner in The Brasserie, which was on the floor above the spa and had great views across the golf course. It was a such a nice evening that several couples were enjoying a romantic al fresco dinner on the balcony but I was happy to drink up the views from inside.

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If you like hotels which offer spa and golf breaks you’ll also like:
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The Grove Hotel: luxury country living at its finest
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rockliffe hall darlington

Both The Clubhouse (pictured) and The Brasserie restaurants have great views of the 18-hole golf courseThe menu was locally-inspired British cooking, with starters such as Whitby crab, Yorkshire pea soup and mains including steak, roasted sea trout and rack of lamb. I chose the King Scallops with pork belly and thyme, which arrived promptly and tasted delicious, while to follow I had the very photogenic poached monkfish with seaweed, langoustine broth and asparagus ravioli.

rockliffe hall darlington
My starter of scallops with pork belly and thyme

The wine list is worth a mention too as it had a good selection and was well laid out, with suggestions marked such as ‘If you like Pinot Grigio..’ ‘If you like big, rich wines….’ which steered you towards trying something new.

rockliffe hall darlington
Poached monkfish with seaweed, langoustine broth (yet to be poured) and asparagus ravioli.

I was tempted by the dessert menu – particularly the dark chocolate and orange torte – but decided to have a post-dinner cocktail instead in the hotel bar downstairs in the older part of the hotel. With  its huge ceilings and square layout it was somewhat lacking in atmosphere but the cocktails couldn’t be faulted – I had a perfectly-made Manhattan which was an excellent nightcap.

The next morning I was up bright and early and enjoying a swim in the spa’s impressive 20 metre indoor swimming pool. Next door was a huge adults-only hydrotherapy pool, and there was also a sauna, caldarium, tepidarium and ice-machine to stimulate the senses.

rockliffe hall darlington
The spa at Rockliffe Hall has been named as one of the best in the country

While all those facilities are free to hotel guests, an extra £30 – which seemed pretty steep to me – will get you two hours in the Spa Garden, a separate relaxation area which includes an infinity pool, heated loungers, outdoor decking, a glass-fronted sauna and a Jacuzzi. For people just wanting to spend the day at the spa, there is a whole range of choices, such as the Orangery Gourmet Spa Day from £115 per person, which includes use of the spa, two hours in the Spa Garden, a pre-dinner cocktail and a 6-course taster menu in the Orangery restaurant.

rockliffe hall darlington
The hotel also has a separate ‘Spa Garden’ which offers even more chances to relax
rockliffe hall darlington
Hotel guests can lounge in the spa from dawn until dusk

After a lengthy swim and sauna I was ready to face the day and headed over to to the Orangery restaurant (which does a more formal meal in the evenings than The Brasserie) for breakfast.

rockliffe hall darlington
The Orangery in the older part of the hotel offers a more formal dinner in the evenings than other restaurants

The room itself is very impressive and for breakfast it featured a good-sized buffet, together with hot options including local poached haddock, grilled kipper, Eggs Benedict and even a breakfast bap of sausage, eggs or bacon which would be wrapped up for you to take away. Sadly I had to be back on the road again so there was no time to linger, but Rockliffe Hall would make an excellent place for a long, relaxing weekend.

Rockliffe Hall Darlington, County Durham, DL2 2DU
01325 729 999
enquiries@rockliffehall.com

Prices at Rockliffe Hall start from an entry level room in Tiplady Lodge which costs from £170 per room, per night, including breakfast and use of the spa from check in to check out.

The Old Hall Suits are the largest and most impressive rooms in the resort and start at £370 per room, per night, with use of the spa.

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Check the latest price on Booking.com for Rockliffe Hall here
Compare latest prices for Rockliffe Hall click here
To read more reviews go to Rockliffe Hall on TripAdviser here
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Rockliffe Hall is a member of the Pride of Britain Hotels group and Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

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Sarah Bridge

Sarah Bridge

Every review is personally researched and written by leisure expert Sarah Bridge who, when she is not writing about leisure for a national newspaper, spends her time seeking out the best leisure experiences, from city centre boutique hotels to country house estates, Michelin-starred dining to the newest openings.
Sarah Bridge
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