I used to go to Durham every year as a child - my mother grew up there and my grandfather still lived there. The "County" was always talked of in hushed tones. The swanky hotel where the prime minister stayed when he was up for the Miners' Gala. It was without a doubt, the grand hotel of Durham.
I decided to take my kids up for a week to wallow in a bit of nostalgia and also to take them to the many attractions in the vicinity. I checked the Marriott website and the hotel still looked grand with beautifully furnished rooms and a lovely pool.
It has some good points. The location is outstanding - a very short walk from all the attractions and within a five minute walk of a variety of restaurants. The pool complex with sauna and steam room is quite nice. And the staff are all lovely local North Easterners who are the friendliest people in the country, if not the planet. Consequently the service was excellent.
But to be honest it's just a little bit tired. It's like Marriott did the cheapest possible makeover. The rooms were just not as nice as they looked on the website. The beds had good quality linen, but were a bit too hard for my liking, and with hard pillows. The bathroom was functional but in the twenty-first century I'd rather have mixer taps than individual hot (ouch) and cold (brrrr) ones. The room (a supreme one) was spacious which was good as I had young kids and gave them space to play, but it was all just a bit lacklustre and for £135 per night without breakfast I'd have expected something a tad nicer really.
The food in the restaurant was also overpriced for the (poor) quality. Again the staff were lovely; in fact when one fellow diner complained about how awful the meal was, the staff didn't charge him for it.. We had breakfast one day too, but for £14.95 a head I'd have expected something just a bit better. Since the location is so good the poor quality food didn't really matter as we just went out for breakfast and dinner to local restaurants, but you may not want to do that in winter or when the weather is poor.
My other big gripe was the charge for internet access. I bought a laptop so I could use it to check emails and see what attractions we could visit, but the hotel charge a whopping £15 a day, or £75 a week, which is ludicrous. I guess it sums up what this hotel is really - just a middle market corporate affair, which earns money from the lucrative conference trade and probably doesn't really care much about individuals taking a leisure trip there.
Which is a shame because the lovely staff and good people of Durham deserve better.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of the historic city of Durham, this hotel – part of which dates back to circa 1630 – boasts views of Durham Cathedral and Castle and is situated on the banks of the River Wear. The Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County is ideally located within this University city, a short walk away from the world famous Cathedral and Castle. Through Durham’s cobbled streets, explore this unique city’s blend of old and new with shops, bars and restaurants to suit all. No 59 Old Elvet restaurant serves a full buffet breakfast with a choice of a la carte options, along with dinner from the Source Grill menu featuring Chef’s unique signature dishes. Afternoon Tea is served daily and a glass of Champagne can be added for an extra special touch. Later in the day choose from an extensive range of classic and contemporary cocktails in the Durham Bar. Alternatively our Starbucks store, situated on the ground floor of the hotel, serves a wide variety of teas, coffees, sandwiches and pastries throughout the day. Relax with a visit to the hotel’s leisure centre, complete with indoor swimming pool, gym, spa bath, sauna and steam room. The hotel is also ideally located for exploring the north east and its surrounding areas. Just 15 miles (24 km) from the centre of Newcastle and 11 miles (18 km) from Sunderland. Other local attractions include: Beamish – The Living Museum of the North, The Bowes Museum, High Force Waterfall and Durham Adventure Valley to name but a few. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Ebookers, Hotels.com, Marriott, TripOnline SA, Odigeo, Priceline, Superbreak UK, Traveltool, S.L.U., HRS, getaroom.com, Evoline ltd, Cancelon and HotelQuickly so you can book your Durham Marriott Hotel Royal County reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Marriott Durham
- Durham Marriott