Last month I spent a few days up in Newcastle shopping and sightseeing. Newcastle is a place I’ve never visited until now, always considering it a little bit too far to travel when I lived further south, and not really having got around to it since moving North. It’s only a couple of hours away from home by train now, so I was excited to see what the city had to offer.
I had booked a twin room for a girly shopping/ sightseeing excursion in the beautiful 4-star luxury, Vermont Hotel. It’s right opposite the castle and in easy walking distance to the Quayside (for the Sage and Baltic), the train station and the town centre, and yet far enough outside of the town centre to mean that Friday night wasn’t plagued with noise from city revellers.
The fact that both a Rolls Royce and a Ferrari were parked in front of the hotel told us all that we needed to know about the quality and clientele of the place. With it being a popular wedding venue in the city, I think that these cars belonged to the hotel for chauffeuring happy couples back to their receptions, but they certainly create the right sense luxury and selectivity to guests on arrival.
We arrived particularly early, and it was mid-week so the hotel wasn’t too busy when we got there. Our rooms weren’t ready, we hadn’t expected them to be since it’s usual to not check in to hotels so early. Nonetheless, we were welcomed by one of the most inviting and luxurious reception areas of any hotel I’ve ever stayed in. With its beautiful sprawling sofas in shades of grey and white, it immediately felt like a very sophisticated environment. The customer service that we received from the moment we arrived was excellent, and the receptionist was more than happy to check us in and to store our luggage securely so that we could hit the shops immediately.
|Parker, fetch the Rolls|
|The reception area by night|
We didn’t return to the hotel until early evening, when we able to collect our keys and access the room. The hotel itself felt quite small and cosy and it wasn’t until we stepped into the lift to go to our floor that we realised how large it is. With several bars, including a popular cocktail bar, a restaurant and lots of rooms too, it was actually almost a complex in itself, whilst still maintaining that select country house hotel feel. Managing to pull that off in a city centre location too is no mean feat, and the Vermont had really pulled it off well.
The room itself was of a lovely standard. Twin double beds for maximum comfort (I hate arriving at a hotel to find two single beds), and all of the amenities you would expect. The bathroom, decorated in white marble, was particularly luxurious with complimentary ‘The White Company’ toiletries and a plentiful supply of white fluffy towels. My only regret was that I didn’t think to take photographs of the room, so you will just have to trust me when I say it was nice.
During the evenings we only frequented the same one bar, The Redwood. The bar was typically British with a large open fire, leather Chesterfield sofas and wing back chairs, serving a massive range of whiskies and Gin. Alas, I’m not a drinker of whisky and rarely touch Gin but thankfully their Brandy range wasn’t too bad either and gave me the opportunity to try a Hennessey, which I’ve never had before.
|The Redwood bar|
Again, the customer service was excellent and there was a good range of cocktails and spirits on the menu too. Mostly I stuck to a lovely Sauvignon blanc, but they had a wide range of red, white and sparkling, as well as beers too so that all tastes were catered for.
|A place to relax|
We had pondered visiting the cocktail bar on the Friday evening, but decided against it in the end, preferring the laid back comfort of The Redwood bar. If I went back again, I might be a little more prepared for the opportunity of visiting the cocktail bar (i.e. have brought a suitable outfit with me), and the Bridge restaurant too which looked fabulous, but which we just didn’t find the time to visit.
|Cocktails in the Redwood|
There was nothing really that I could fault about the Vermont Hotel. It is well located, beautifully decorated and very welcoming. If I was to spend an evening in Newcastle again at some future date, it would definitely be number one on my list of places to stay, but I would make an attempt to sample more of what the hotel has to offer as I really don’t feel that I gave myself enough time to enjoy all of the facilities available.