Of all the spa hotels in the North East, Ramside Hall Hotel, just off the A690 heading to Durham, has it all; a first class spa, plush rooms and fantastic dining options. I’ve been to many spa hotels in the area, that’s my thing, it’s how I chill out, so trust me when I say that the Ramside is top notch. So many times hotels will get their dining spot on but their spa will be lacking or their facilities will be great but the bedrooms are basic AF. Not at the Ramside.
To celebrate my boyfriends birthday this year, we enjoyed a romantic overnight spa break in one of their Premier Rooms and it did not disappoint. This was my second time visiting the hotel overnight as my friend treated me late last year in celebration of my 30th birthday. I was pleased to see that the high standard set on my first visit was not limited to my first impression, in fact I love this hotel even more after staying for a second time.
I’ve been sharing elements of our stay over on my WhatLauraLoves Instagram and on the Ramside Hall highlight that I created- thanks so much for the love on those posts, I really appreciate it and its lovely to hear how some of you are now off for a spa day or an overnight stay at the hotel! Now though, its time for my full Ramside Hall Hotel Review. It’s going to be a big one so grab a cuppa!
CHECK IN & FINDING OUR ROOM
Check in was friendly, efficient and thorough, exactly as it should be and in no time at all we were making our way to our Premier Room 108 on the ground floor, near the spa. The rooms in this area are ideal if you’re going to be using the spa facilities as they’re only a short distance from the spa itself so you can get changed into your robe in your room and go straight along to the spa from there.
I love walking along the corridors here as theres so many pictures that depict local North East scenes such as pit villages and miners.
PREMIER ROOMS AT RAMSIDE HALL
The Premier Room that we stayed in had everything that we could need for a luxe, romantic overnight stay. It was more or less the same as the one that I stayed in with my friend last year but with the added benefit of french doors leading to a little patio area outside. The last room I stayed in was on the first floor so naturally didn’t benefit from this. It was lovely to get some fresh air in our room and I could imagine this area being the perfect place for breakfast should the weather have been more favourable.
The room was really spacious with opulent furnishings, giving it a really elegant feel. Art inspired by the local area lined the walls of the corridors in the hotel and it continued into the room in a subtle fashion with a framed picture on the wall. The mini bar featured even featured some products that are local or made made in the North East; I love it when North East businesses support one another!
There’s a seating area with a small table which is great for enjoying room service at, as we discovered at breakfast the next morning. I’ll always opt for a room service breakfast when I stay at a hotel as it feels like a real treat and the one at the Ramside was delicious; arriving promptly at our selected time and piping hot. There’s a great selection of the usual hot and cold breakfast offerings and the portions are plentiful.
Whether you’re staying for business or pleasure, the facilities in the Premier Rooms are very accommodating. There’s comfortable seating and ample desk space whether that’s for getting ready at or working on and taking advantage of the fast and complimentary WIFI. Plus there are plenty of plug sockets around the room. It’s a real bugbear of mine when hotel rooms are badly designed with too few electrical points and I’ve stayed in plenty of them that have been like this! This gal can’t curl her hair without a mirror and NEEDS to charge her phone!
Of course the real selling point of a hotel room has to be the bet and OMG the beds at Ramside Hall are the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in. Both times I’ve stayed here I’ve drifted straight off and slept the whole night through, in fact, I’ve struggled to get up the next morning, I’ve been that cosy. Aside from how comfortable the bed is, I think the great nights sleep is aided by the black out curtains which are nothing short of fantastic.
The bathroom in our Ramside Hall Hotel room was a real selling point for us; just look at how light and spacious it is! The decor was amazing, the shower was powerful and the bath was the most comfortable spot to relax in. We both took full advantage and had a bath each before bed.
Quality complimentary toiletries make a big difference when staying in a hotel, regardless of whether you end up using them or not. Come on ladies, admit it, the first thing you look for when stepping into a hotel bathroom is which brands toiletries are there for you to use! Am I right?
At Ramside Hall, the toiletries are from Espa, who I have loved for years; funnily enough since I went on my first spa day at the Ramside Spa in 2016. I remember saving up for ages to go and I indulged big time. At this hotel, you’re able to use Espa products in your hotel and in the changing facilities down at the spa and the therapists will use them on you during the spa treatments themselves.
I am going to be posting a full review of the superb spa on my blog on Sunday, from the perspective of a plus size hotel guest with full spa access, so please do check back for that!
Until then, let’s move on to looking at the dining options at Ramside Hall.
DINING AT RAMSIDE HALL
You’ll never be lost for a place to eat at Ramside Hall Hotel be it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, a snack, afternoon tea or dinner. You can find out about all of their different restaurants and bars here. The ones that I have been to are the Fusion, Pemberton’s Carvery and The Rib Room.
Down at the spa, is where you’ll find the Fusion restaurant which I’ve been to several times before, albeit not on this occasion. Here you’ll find a nutritious brunch options, a tasty asian inspired lunch, afternoon tea with a twist and delicious dinners which you can enjoy in your spa robe or normal clothes.
Now if I’m completely honest, we were a tad hungover on arrival to Ramside Hall after celebrating my boyfriends birthday the night before Colman’s Seafood Temple and the Customs House so we knew that there was only one thing that would pull us around… a roast dinner! After checking in and leaving our bags in the room, we headed straight to Pemberton’s Carvery which promises high quality food, help yourself style, in a casual setting.
I’ve dined at this hotel on many occasion as part of their Christmas party nights and I’ve been to their steak restaurant once before but never to the carvery, although I had high hopes for it as so many of my friends speak so highly about it.
In all honesty, with arriving mid afternoon, the presentation of the vegetables wasn’t the best and some of the dishes needed replenishing, although no more so than other carvery restaurants I’ve been to and Pemberton’s was really busy at the time and that was definitely a testament to how good the food here is.
What the food lacked in presentation, it made up for in taste; this carvery was absolutely delicious. The meat was cooked to perfection and we could tell just how great quality the joint was, which is to be expected from the Ramside. I have never had a bad meal there yet in ANY of the restaurants or function rooms. We paid £30.50 for two carvery meals and two pints of coke at £3.30 each, we’d definitely return as the food was so good although perhaps we’ll stick to water next time.
THE RIB ROOM
My favourite restaurant at Ramside Hall has to be the AA award winning steakhouse and grill, The Rib Room. I first visited in November when I came with Steph for my birthday and it really did live up to expectations after years of people recommending it to me, so much so that I couldn’t wait to go with Alex to celebrate his birthday.
Dining here was a bit like how people describe meeting their favourite celebrity- scary incase it isn’t how they’d expect but thankfully, The Rib Room surpassed all of my expectations and is honestly the best steak I’ve ever had, on both occasions.
I love the styling of the decor at The Rib Room with the mix of dark woods and leather, booths and banquette seating, gallery walls and copious amounts of wine bottles. Its dark and intimate and creates the perfect atmosphere. There’s even a meat locker where you can see the quality of the meat with your own eyes.
On both occasions that I’ve been to The Rib Room, the service has been friendly and attentive without being over bearing. The staff are conscientious here and will happily check something with the chef if they or you are unsure of what is in a dish or have any other questions. This brings me to my only negative point about The Rib Room and that’s that the two occasions that I’ve been [Edit- on 30/04/2019- now all three occasions as I had dinner there last night), the printed paper allergen menu that correlates with the actual menu has been incorrect stating that something didn’t have milk in it when it did. Thankfully, on all 3 occasions it was picked up by the either the waiting staff or the chef before the meal was made and consumed but its definitely something to keep in mind when ordering- the food is INCREDIBLE, just make sure you check and double check if you have an intolerance or allergen when you go to order, even if it says on the menu that you can have it.
The food here really is amazing and its one of my favourite restaurants in the North East.
Naturally, steaks are the house speciality at The Rib Room, serving the finest Durham beef which has been matured for up to 32 days to produce succulent and tender steaks. However steak isn’t the only thing that’s on the menu here as you can also enjoy fresh fish and vegetarian dishes so don’t write it off if you’re planning on visiting with someone who doesn’t enjoy meat.
The wine list is pretty extensive too with over 50 hand selected wines, including the fabulous Georges de boeuf that I enjoyed with my meal. Since my trip to Altea earlier this year, I’m becoming more partial to a glass of red wine!
When you are first seated, after your order is taken, you’re served fresh bread; ours was still warm which is always a bonus. As standard, it comes with the usual butter but if you’d prefer, ask for some olive oil and balsamic vinegar like we did.
For starters I ordered the giant butterfly tempura prawns which were served with a salad garnish and sweet chilli sauce for dipping and my partner opted for the pork belly ribs which fell away from the bone so easily and melted in the mouth. The giant prawns looked really impressive but the batter really detracted from their taste as it took what would usually be quite a delicate taste and overshadowed it with batter that was much heavier than the way tempura batter usually tastes. Once removed, the prawns were really delicious.
For mains, we both opted for the Surf and Turf. Alex would usually order a sirloin or Rib Eye as they’re his favourite cuts but he took me up on my recommendation after my visit last year and his meal didn’t disappoint.
Half a lobster and an 8oz premium fillet steak from grass-fed Hereford Beef, served with a roasted field mushroom, vine tomatoes and side salad with garlic oil for me and diane sauce for him. We ordered sweet potato fries and handcut chips on the side.
They arrived perfectly cooked, medium for me and medium rare for him, and after a quick snap, we sat in silence devouring them before Alex confirmed my previous statement; that was the best steak he’d ever had. Succulent lobster, crisp salad and the tastiest chips accompanied our steaks; they all played their roles on our tastebuds but didn’t over power the steak. The fillet may be my favourite cut but now its my partners too.
Steak is always my go-to dish when I dine out and we’ve had so many over the years but the steak at The Rib Room is the tastiest, most perfectly cooked steak we’ve ever had, so much so that we found ourselves not needing to pour on the sauce because the meat itself is just so flavoursome.
Sharing a palate cleansing sorbet of Sicilian lemon, pink grapefruit and bergamot and raspberry and sorrel, with two spoons, was a light way to finish such a large meal. We loved the mix of flavours, combining a zesty taste with sweet and tart.
I was worried that going for a second [Edit on 30/04/2019: now third) time would prove disappointing if it didn’t live up to my first visit but it absolutely did. Our meal was second to none and we loved the relaxed, intimate ambiance in the restaurant. The Rib Room is without a doubt the best steak restaurant in the North East by a country mile. I would urge you to visit.
Dining at The Rib Room actually takes you over into the older, more traditional part of Ramside Hall and this is certainly not to be missed with its grand yet inviting decor and winged back leather arm chairs, chesterfield sofas and fireplaces. There’s a bar and plenty of places to relax with a night cap to finish off your evening. I love looking at all of the different areas of the Ramside as there’s always something new to see and look at.
The other guests that were there while we were staying all seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves too, with some there for work, others for leisure or celebrating an occasion with family and friends. There’s a really comfortable, relaxed vibe at this hotel that lends itself really well to a chilled out spa break. It isn’t pretentious so you feel as though you can just be yourself, free from feeling self conscious.
Our stay at Ramside Hall Hotel really was absolutely perfect. Even though we were only 35 minutes down the road, we felt as though we were miles away from home; a real luxury escape without the hassle of having to drive for hours and hours. The service was exemplary from check in until check out and we made the most of every minute with breakfast in bed and a dip in the pool before we made our way home.
*Thank you to the Ramside for the press discount towards our stay.