We also purchased the Travelzoo DB&B deal with an extra night discounted B&B.
On arrival we were shown to one of the downstairs rooms (dog friendly as we had our border collie with us). The room was large & nicely decorated and smelled - of sewage. The hotel was obviously having a problem with the drains. There is a glass-topped recess in the floor outside the lavatories downstairs which shows how deep the dungeons are under the castle - and the recess was filling up rapidly with raw sewage (nicely displayed under the glass). Right outside the gents & ladies toilets and about ten feet from the door of our room. Lovely.
My husband went straight to reception and we were moved without question to room 18 on the first floor. Puzzlingly, the receptionist denied any knowledge of problems with the drains despite the fact there were drain covers lifted in the rear courtyard with hoses down them...why the lie? Totally unnecessary.
Room 18 was better but the drain smell was still there and especially bad in the little atrium just outside rooms 17 and 18.
The room was very tatty and shabby with wallpaper peeling off in the bathroom, paint scuffed off and flaking in places, badly scuffed skirting boards and a dirty- looking carpet. There were only 2 tea bags in the hospitality tray (although there was coffee as well).
We were shocked to read in the room information that we would be charged (fined!) £10 if we wanted to drink the bottle of wine we'd brought from home...it would have been £25 if we'd brought a bottle if champagne...what a bloody rip off.
When we went down for dinner, my husband and I were each presented with a menu...they were entirely different and we did not know which one was right. Turned out one was from the previous night. Hmm.
Dinner was delicious, really lovely food but the portions are tiny!! Tasty and very well-cooked, though.
Breakfast was equally tasty but choosing a table was difficult as all of them seemed to be missing something - several had no menus, several had no butter, the one we eventually chose had menu and butter but no sugar (we had to steal some from another table - sorry). The buffet part of the breakfast was set up in a separate room and the waitress failed to tell us this...we sat for ages not knowing where the orange juice was...!
We decided to have an afternoon drink in The Stables bar...which turned out to be ridiculously chavvy. Expecting a cosy, olde-worlde pub type experience, the Stables is completely out of keeping with the rest of the hotel, it's like a nasty Wetherspoons. Cheap wine bar meets wannabe club venue with big screens blaring out the Sky 'Smash Hots' music channel...I kid you not. Horrendous. It was almost funny...almost.
On our second day, on returning to the room there had been a half-hearted attempt by a chambermaid to pull the bedding straight but the floor had not been hoovered and our measly two tea bags had not been replenished.
Staff were courteous (apart from telling drain-related lies) and mostly efficient and it was a joy to see our border collie enjoying the extensive gardens, he ran around them and had a lovely time, especially round the pond.
It's the attention to detail that lets Otterburn Castle down. It's a beautiful old building...a bit smelly...but beautiful and it desperately needs some TLC.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A small, friendly Castle Hotel in the heart of the beautiful Northumberland countryside. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Otterburn Tower Hotel Otterburn
- The Otterburn Hotel
- The Hotel Otterburn
- Otterburn Castle Country House Hotel Northumberland