We held my Father's 80th Birthday here, a meal for 25 people in a private room in the main building of Highgate House which is a 17th century building and has a sense of history and presence to it. The meal itself was very good, 3 courses with the duck starter being the highlight. As this was near Christmas, most people chose the Turkey dinner as their main and this did not disappoint either, the turkey was moist and tasty, the steamed veg still with a bit of bite and not overcooked, and the roast potatoes (the acid test of a decent Xmas nosh) crispier than Gary Lineker nailed to a 1000 degree barbecue for 3 days (we can but wish).
Staff on reception were lovely, very helpful, and when we wanted to use the projector in the room to show some photos, but did not have the correct port on the laptop, an AV guy bought the right connector quickly and with no fuss. (if you are an AV geek, then we only had HDMI on the laptop, but the connector plate for the projector was VGA)
So take from this review this message. If you are having a family do and want somewhere quiet and tucked away in Northants with good quality food and lots of privacy (we had the room to ourselves and only had to share the building with a wedding reception) then seriously consider this venue.
The only criticism is about wine. A whine about wine if you like. We sat down and wanted to order some wine with our meal which is rather the done thing where we come from (20 miles down the road), it took a bit of haggling but finally a lady came and took orders for wine (by the glass as we all wanted different things). 3 people on my table ordered Merlot, but I ordered a Shiraz (inside I was screaming: 'I'm not drinking XXXXing Merlot' which has been my knee-jerk predudiced reaction to this wine since watching the movie 'Sideways').
The wine was bought to the table and the Merlot glasses placed before those who had ordered Merlot. When my glass was placed down I sought to double check the provenance by asking 'Shiraz?'. I did this just to double check I believed in my heart that this was a full bodied Shiraz and what I was paying for was what I had ordered, but there's never harm in making that final check. The answer came back, delivered a little tartly, and with a slight 'don't get all toity with me lad' tinge to it, 'we don't have any Shiraz, but this is Merlot and it's the same thing'. the SAME THING.
Now this started a philosophical discussion on our table. In many ways Merlot and Shiraz are the same thing, they are both red wines. If you have a glass of engine oil, then a glass of Merlot and one of Shiraz, you would put the two wines together as the same thing and leave the glass of engine oil out of the category. But in other ways, specifically at the level of granularity of even a fledgling oenophile, they are not 'the same thing' they are totally absolutely, completely, categorically different things. So I ended up drinking Merlot (which was good example of a Merlot but a really poor example of a Shiraz (because Shiraz is different)), the meme of 'x and y are the same thing', where the terms x and y are replaced with anything and everything was already launched on our table and continued throughout the meal. Rather than being disappointed by the Merlot incident like some spoilt middle class poncy wine brat, I should be grateful to the staff member for providing these memorable snippets of conversation.
'we have no more roasted potatoes, but here's some brussels; brussels and roast potatoes, are the same thing'
'we can't send a taxi to pick up you, but we've posted you a pair of training shoes, riding in a car and walking are the same thing'
'stop the endless metaphysical debate about the meaning of life, life and death are the same thing'
I originally tried posting this review on iTunes as surely TripAdvisor and iTunes are the same thing, but for some reason I can't quite fathom, iTunes didn't want the review.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Based in and around a 17th century mansion, Highgate House is a beautiful country house hotel set amongst rolling countryside,just 7 miles from Northampton. Accommodation consists of 97 en-suite bedrooms, all of which are individually decorated. Some of the bedrooms are located in the original building whilst the majority are housed in areas across the estate. Each room is fully equipped with hot drink facilities, an alarm clock-radio with iPod docking station, a television and toiletries from the Gilchrist and Soames 'BeeKind` range. You stay also includes includes free WiFi, use of the fitness room and pool, free parking on-site and unlimited tea and coffee. Guests can look forward to a delicious seasonal menu prepared by the award-winning team of chefs, headed up by Lee Gaskins, who has won Northamptonshire's Chef of the Year twice. Food is served in the brasserie-style Terrace Restaurant and lighter meals can be enjoyed in the main bar area. Traditional afternoon tea is available between 3-6pm daily, with a selection of sandwiches,homemade cakes and scones with cream and jam. Leisure facilities include an indoor swimming pool, gym, sauna and tennis courts. The hotel's 26 acres of grounds also offer an idyllic setting for walking, with easy access to the surrounding countryside. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Highgate House, a Sundial Venue Hotel Northampton
- Highgate Hotel Northampton