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“A most civilised retreat”
Review of Matfen Hall

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Matfen Hall
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Matfen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 28 July 2014

One of the most overused and debased terms to have slithered under the creaky not-so-antique door over the past couple of decades is ‘country house hotel’. Probably dating from the romantic end of the 1980s – Laura Ashley, fake parfumiers that were designed to make us think they originated in Covent garden in the 1770s, instead of California in the 1990s (Crabtree and Evelyn come to mind, though of course, there are many others), hugely overpriced rooms with nothing but a creaky ersatz 4-poster – you get the message. So when we were invited to a wedding there recently, I was steeled for the fake experience of a lifetime.

Well, I was wrong. Although the wedding experience isn’t the same as the dining or accommodation experience, it does have the value of going on for much of the day, and the intervals between the set pieces allowed us to wander around and explore this very lovely place.

The building itself – strangely little commented on – is wonderful. It’s a mid-19th century baronial gothic pile that would do well in a Walter Scott novel, or even, should they think of resurrecting them, Hammer Horrors. The Great Hall is stunning, a fusion of Palace of Westminster solidity (a wonderful hammerbeam roof) and gothic archways everywhere, with a monumental stained glass window that wouldn’t be out of place in a large parish church. The grand staircase leads to a mezzanine floor that would serve as a marvellous minstrels’ gallery, were it not for the elf and safety requirement for the gothic arches to be filled in with glass so that nobody could take a stylish dive onto the floor below via the rather low sills. Most of the common rooms seem to be well preserved originals – presumably the legacy of having been in the Blackett family for a very long time – and there are fine pictures, etchings, and some fascinating plans of the original building by the architect – including one of the Conservatory, which was designed by a firm specialising in these – back in 1909.

The vista from the main house is glorious, and the gardens very beautiful, especially the formal Dutch garden where we had our first glass of champagne after the wedding ceremony, which was held, of course, in the Great Hall. We were served several rounds of highly welcome and palatable canapés, and later in the evening a fine barbecue for the evening guests. The wedding breakfast was excellent, served in a lovely function-cum-dining room (there are several); an unusual fresh fruit medley, followed by only fractionally overdone local beef with mange-tout and parmentier potatoes, then a lovely warm pear and almond tart and honey and whisky ice cream. For mass-catering this was relaxed and careful, courses nicely spaced, with prompt filling of wine glasses. The young waiting staff – many of them uni students – were excellent.

We wandered off to have a restful drink in the conservatory, and finally plonked ourselves in the homely leather-upholstered dining room annexe before the evening wedding entertainment.

This looks like an outstanding wedding venue; plenty to occupy the guests, as opposed to many other hotels where the only options would be to risk asphyxia from smoke inhalation at the entrance or, equally horrible a fate, die of shame after consuming a proudly-served Starbucks. This lovely manor house will not appeal to those seeking a buzzy atmosphere, perma-tanned flash D-raters or a break fuelled by a phalanx of electronic devices. The reviewers who can’t fathom why a venue like this isn’t going to come cheap probably won’t ever have employed full time gardening staff to look after bygone-era facilities like a formal garden. They should stay away, and let a more mature crowd – brain maturity, that is, not chronological – enjoy this venue. The grumpy soul marking the Hall down because of a fee for an animal in a room should go to Germany or the Netherlands, where pets are welcomed pretty well everywhere, though I don't know if they are in historic buildings; but that's not the UK way any more, if it ever was. Much more importantly, the lunch and dinner menus looked very fine indeed, and we’ll be back to try one – the North East, amazingly, has very few really good restaurants, and not a Michelin star in sight. Someone has to be first, and this extremely civilised venue would be a good starting point.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Service
5  Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BernieBloodworth, General Manager at Matfen Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 29 July 2014

Dear Guest

It was lovely to read not only how much you enjoyed attending a wedding here at Matfen Hall, but also how much you appreciated our beautiful house and grounds - thank you!

I will ensure your kind words are passed to all!

We look forward to welcoming you back to Matfen Hall on many more occasions to come.

Yours sincerely


Bernard Bloodworth
Managing Director

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743 - 749 of 1,547 reviews

Reviewed 28 July 2014

Stayed here one night and was enough, rooms ok and hot no air conditioning.
Reception staff very friendly as was the bar staff. Breakfast a total disaster. No coordination with the staff, buffet table empty of orange Juice for good 20 minutes, trying to catch the staff is a challenge. Table brimming full of dirty plates only staff came to clear when we were nearly finished.
Over priced this hotel.better around at less cost, I wouldn't hurry back.

Room Tip: Get one with a fan !!
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled on business
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Johnmennim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2014 via mobile

Spent last night here and couldn't believe the chaos there was when we went for breakfast. Arrived at 0925 and waited at entrance to dining room. 3 waiting staff walked past so we stopped the 3rd and she said they were full and told us to wait in the drawing room. On entering this it was full with around 20 other people waiting. Some waited 50 mins. We waited 30 mins for a mediocre breakfast. There didn't appear to be a system to work out the order people were waiting in also so people who arrived after were being offered a table ahead of us. Were told it was because they were full and everyone arrived together but surely this is relatively normal on a Sunday especially after a wedding. There were tables in the drawing room or elsewhere that could have provided extra capacity.
On complaining to the manager he refused to compensate us what we felt was adequately for the shambles and even had the cheek to say he wouldn't be blackmailed when I told him I would be leaving this review.
Despite the lovely setting and nice spa we won't be going again.

Stayed: July 2014
5  Thank Gosforth71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BernieBloodworth, General Manager at Matfen Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 29 July 2014

Dear Guest

Further to your review, following your recent visit to Matfen Hall, please accept my sincere apologies for your breakfast ‘experience’ on Sunday morning – I can assure you this is not the ‘norm’.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of guests all arrived for breakfast within an exceptionally short period of time and we simply did not have the tables to seat any further guests. I agree that a Sunday morning breakfast is always a busy morning for us and we are prepared for this, but the timescale involved on this occasion was very short.

I do appreciate your frustrations and I have asked my Operations Manager to review this with the Restaurant team, to ensure we are better equipped, should we be faced with a such like situation in the future.

Once again my apologies and I look forward to you returning to Matfen Hall, where I would welcome the opportunity to restore your ‘faith’ with us.

Yours sincerely



Bernard Bloodworth
Managing Director

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Reviewed 25 July 2014

I chose to have a spa/pampering day at a local hotel for my birthday. There are quite a few on offer and my husband drove us around Northumberland to let me decide which I would choose. I decided on the spa day at Matfen Hall and I was not disappointed. On arrival my daughter and I were welcomed with a drink and shown all the facilities. We then were provided with towels and a bathrobe and visited the steam room first. We sampled all on offer then went into the pool. Children are allowed in the pool until midday at which time a lively aqua fit class started and we were invited to join in. The treatment and massage lasted one and a half hours and we were booked for lunch at 2-30pm. We changed and ate our lunch on the terrace outside the conservatory. We had made our choice on arrival from the hotel menu. There is also a sunny seating area outside the spa complex which was well used. We left at 6-30 pm having had a lovely day. £99 per person sounds a lot but it was good value - given what was on offer. I shall return !

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Moyra G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2014

This used to be a favourite hotel..superb food and service and a lovely disposition in my beloved Northumberland. However, this hotel now has the proud distinction of making the highest charge in the UK for guests bringing dogs..£20 per night!... What is it about a dog in room that demands such an outrageous charge?...I could almost guarantee that no special cleaning measures are in place, but that this is a cynical way of generating profit....but no more at my expense...Bah!...any one out there in prospective hotel land know of a higher fee per night for dogs?... Please name and shame....

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank John A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BernieBloodworth, General Manager at Matfen Hall, responded to this reviewResponded 29 July 2014

Dear Guest

Thank you for your comments, following your recent stay at Matfen Hall.

I was sorry to read you were unhappy with the charges incurred for your dog, however, unlike you and I, not all our guests are ‘dog lovers’ and therefore, our housekeeping department do provide a deep clean, after dogs have stayed in a room, to ensure following guests receive the same high standard of cleanliness.

Prices throughout the UK, range from £8.00 - £25.00, so although we are perhaps at the higher end of the scale, I do feel they are justifiable.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention and I do hope you will return to Matfen Hall in the future.

Yours sincerely


Bernard Bloodworth
Managing Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014

Matfen Hall is the perfect place to get married. The hall and grounds are absolutely beautiful, you and your guests have a whole wing and a private garden to use as you wish.

The staff were great, so friendly and helpful, nothing was too much trouble. Especially Victoria who helped us plan the wedding of our dreams and Peter who ensured the day ran smoothly.

All our guests had a fantastic time and were dancing in the Vaults until the very end, thanks to Tim (who was great about following my playlist!).

We couldn't have wished for a better day or a better place so big thanks to the Matfen Hall team.

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank SCH072014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2014

My husband and I stayed here as part of a weekend exploring Hadrian's Wall.
The hotel is simply lovely and restaurant was exceptional in the evening. The service was excellent too.
Just a couple of things stopped it reaching five stars for me. Our room was beautifully decorated and spacious but, as it was located above the spa, it was incredibly hot. The breakfasts were ok, but a little disappointing compared to the quality of the evening meal. But these points are simply constructive. All in all a lovely retreat which I would highly recommend.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms above the spa
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank Artdecolou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Matfen Hall

Address: Near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Matfen NE20 0RH, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Northumberland > Matfen
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Matfen
Price Range: £95 - £202 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Matfen Hall 4*
Number of rooms: 53
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa winner of Large Hotel of the Year 2015 at the Visit England Awards is located just 15 miles west of Newcastle in the charming village of Matfen and is the ancestral home of Sir Hugh and Lady Blackett. This stately home is set in 300 acres of parkland and has been a hotel since 1999. Enjoy true Northumbrian hospitality at Matfen Hall Hotel. The Hotel offers 53 bedrooms, individually decorated in traditional and contemporary styles. Our golf estate includes a 27-hole course, par 3 course and driving range. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Matfen Hall Hotel Matfen
Matfen Hall Newcastle Upon Tyne
Matfen Hall Northumberland

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