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“No ordinary hotel - very ordinary service”

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Lumley Castle Hotel
Ranked #5 of 19 Hotels in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
North East england
Level 6 Contributor
89 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“No ordinary hotel - very ordinary service”
Reviewed 12 December 2011

We visited for a joint family celebration lunch in private dining. The one and only thing I stressed was getting the welcome sheet greeting right, it being a celebration for both a 21st and 50th birthday (not a lot to ask I feel of a hotel like this) – and they managed to get it wrong. My sons name was missing from the sheet altogether – you can imagine how I felt given it was the only request I had made. Even our guests commented on the fact that my son's name wasn't displayed when they arrived.

I decided to go to the private room to place some decorations only to find that it was set for 14 not 12 as booked. It was cold and as if we were not expected – and reception couldn't find our booking. I really expected better of Lumley Castle, having enjoyed outstanding service and hospitality only 2 years ago for my 50th birthday.

The Duty Manager realised all was not well and did his best to rescue the situation. The meal was pleasant if not outstanding, and having singers was a thoughtful touch, although right as the main courses were being served was dreadful timing, obviously. Someone hadn’t used their brains it would seem. To put the ‘perfect end to the perfect day’ as we left that evening, I was given the amended welcome sheet that had replaced the original, and it had indeed been amended to include my sons name but the spelling was wrong – again something I pointed out in advance.

Shoddy customer care like this is more Novotel than Lumley Castle and for these reasons we are unlikely to be returning and in future will probably go to a venue that values our business and pays attention to the small details.

No ordinary hotel – but very ordinary service. I wish my trip adviser review could match others experiences.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
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1 Thank JohnL18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (553)
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English first
Amble, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
147 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 December 2011

We stayed at the Lumley Castle Hotel on Sat 10th December. I can only describe our superior room as gorgeous, one of the best we have ever stayed at, beautifully designed and fitted out, warm and welcoming, with a fantastic bathroom with a shower that was amazing.
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and the service and attention to detail was impressive.
You could not fault the service and the staff were so welcoming. The breakfast the next morning was up to the same exceptional high standard. This hotel is seriously, very special, if it were near London it would be booked up 6 months in advance. Cannot wait to visit this English treasure again in the Spring.

Room Tip: Try a Courtyard room... it's worth the extra.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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3 Thank VikingRaider_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tyneside
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 December 2011

I am a Lumley Castle veteran. For me it is still a place of mystery and romance with the unexpected lurking around every corner. From the outset it should be noted that there is a significant qualitative difference between a Castle feature room and a courtyard room. Room No. 60, one of the showpieces, is right at the top of the Chapel tower. The route alone was fascinating. I was led to the top of the Vanbrugh Staircase. Along 16c undulating corridors with views of dancing shadows along the Courtyard walls, through a couple stuccoed state rooms (which I didn't even know existed even after a decade of visits) up mural staircases which penetrate the five feet thick walls of the Tower and finally arriving at Room 60.
The Room is a swirling fantasia of red damask and initially reminded me a bit of a Degas brothel scene. The bath was actually situated within the generous living space. It was screened by curtains and a stained glass homage to Burne Jones (with a nod to St Cuthbert's cross at Durham). The Room is fitted with one of the signature walk in wardrobe/bathrooms. I am not used to such opulence and faux Edwardian red damask gives me nightmares but I was delighted to find that Room 60 also contained a couple of 14th windows complete with seats within the massive embrasures. Immediately beyond the Room a gothic vaulted corridor leads to an original spiral staircase. At one's own risk it is possible to use this intact mediaeval staircase to descend to Reception. Where else but Lumley Castle do uber indulgent creature comforts meld with the preserved ancient fabric on such a scale ?
On the coldest night of the year I was snug in my massive four poster. All told, it was nothing short of magnificent. Ordered wine was brought on the dot - although the Room is some distance from the Cellars and the poor Steward had quite a climb. Guests and self delightedly quaffed sauvignon blanc while watching a hunting barn owl swooping along the path - either that or Lady Lily was abroad.
My time in the Black Knight Restaurant was curtailed by reason of arrangements. The staff understood and served me accordingly. I recommend the pan fried venison followed by apple tart with rum and raisin ice cream. Afterwards you can bask in the comfort of the Library Bar.

Things I don't like:
As the earls of Scarborough moved out of the Castle, they flogged off centuries of accumulated treasures to the Americans. The hotel people have now decorated the walls with serried ranks of reproduction old masters. You can get away with multi-repro Dutch old masters but the sheer number of Titians and Vermeers stretches credibility.

The bar area of the Library Bar is too small - this may be due to the imperative of preserving the ancient fabric
Things I like: Everything else
Locals know that Lumley is special at any time but at Xmas, decked out with trees, baubles and decorations, it comes into its own as the quintessential festive venue. If you are fortunate to be present when local carol singers visit, the memory will warm you for the rest of your life.
Lumley Castle markets itself as 'No Ordinary Hotel'. As those who know and love the place will tell you, 'Ordinary', it isn't.

Room Tip: Don't bother with a courtyard room. Get your wallet out and go for a feature room. You will not...
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Novocastrian13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lee, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 4 December 2011

I had been to Lumley castle for lunch for my 30th birthday, and as a surprise, my partner booked two nights for my fortieth. The hotel was just as i remembered, very luxurious. The room was breath taking, complete with canopy over bed. Very warm, lovely comfortable bed. I would have liked some bottled water on the tea tray but other than that no complaints. The breakfast was extremely good. Two fat meaty sausages, good thick slices of bacon and a well cooked egg. Perfect for setting us up for a couple of days walking.I couldn't ask for more. I didn't want to leave! Didn't have dinner, as we were back late, but the menu looked good. Would highly recommend.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Gill_5262
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kleve
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 November 2011

We stayed from 15 November till 19 November as a present for my wife's 70th birthday. Excellence all around. Very nice staff, good room, good breakfast, good restaurant. We really enjoyed every minute. A typical example of how a castle should look. Missed the ghost, that supposedly haunted the Australian cricket team, however.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank cockerspanielKleve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bradford, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 22 November 2011

We stayed for 3 nights to celebrate a special family birthday. It suited the occasion perfectly and we all felt that we were somewhere special. Our children loved it - especially the fabulous winding staircases and 'maze' of rooms. The staff were lovely - friendly, helpful and professional. Dinner and breakfast were lovely, service excellent. The family room we had was a little on the small size but that was the only drawback.... and no need to stay in your room when there are cosy sofas to lounge in!

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Linsey C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ely, Cambs.
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2011

We came to Lumley Castle expecting it to be overly "Olde Engish", but happily it stopped short of that, with sensitive restoration of most of the public rooms, and decorating that is plush but not ostentatious. We thoroughly enjoyed our garret-like room in the converted stable area with an excellent bath and extremely comfortable bed, and the garden-filled courtyards. They were apparently short on help in the main restaurant that weekend, and there did not seem to be anyone in control of the kitchen or service. Some of the food was quite undercooked, and portions were too large, but the breakfast buffet was one of the best we've found anywhere. The restaurant's cooking doesn't live up to the standards of the hotel, but we found most staff friendly and helpful, and may return again next autumn. Honestly one of the nicest long weekends we found in England this year.

Room Tip: We booked the only room category available at the time It was very reasonably priced, so if you cho...
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank wyssor1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lumley Castle Hotel

Property: Lumley Castle Hotel
Address: Chester-Le-Street, Durham DH3 4NX, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Durham > Durham
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Durham
#5 Romantic Hotel in Durham
#5 Family Hotel in Durham
#7 Business Hotel in Durham
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — Lumley Castle Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 74
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Lumley Castle Durham
Hotel Lumley Castle
Castle Lumley
Castle Hotel Lumley

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