Last weekend, Stefan and I headed up north to Rockliffe Hall for a relaxing spa break. Rockliffe Hall is located just a few miles outside of Darlington so just under a two-hour drive for us. I was pretty excited about our visit as I’d seen a lot about the five-star resort online and it looked absolutely stunning. Rockliffe Hall is home to an award-winning spa, 18 hole championship golf course and top-class restaurants. From the moment we stepped foot in the hotel, the five-star service was undeniable.
Once we had arrived at Rockliffe Hall, we checked in and was shown to our room on the second floor. We were located in the New Hall in a Junior double with our very own balcony terrace and stunning views out over the golf course. The room was absolutely stunning, very spacious and the biggest and most comfy bed overlooking these stunning views. Now we all know I love a good bathroom and this one was very much Rachel approved with a large rainfall style shower and a huge bath which came with its own TV. There was also a little dressing table area which was perfect for getting ready on the evening!
After being in awe at our stunning room, we decided to go check out the spa facilities as we had access from check-in. The spa at Rockliffe is pretty big with plenty of facilities such as a hydro pool, a mind therapy room, an outdoor sauna, a large swimming pool and much more. There really was so much to do yet you could just lay and relax in the serene and calming environment. Whether you are visiting the spa as a hotel guest or visiting for the day, the facilities are really great and there’s plenty to do.
Before dinner, we were actually really privileged to have a tour of Rockcliffe Hall’s wine cellar. I’m not really that clued up on wine but the knowledge of the sommelier was unbelievable. It was also fascinating to see where the wine had come from before having it with our dinner. There are actually several restaurant choices at Rockliffe from the Brasseries to the Clubhouse but we were experiencing The Orangery. After a quick drink in the beautiful bar in part of the old hall, we proceeded to The Orangery to take our seats to try the Tasting Menu.
On the menu for this evening was six courses all paired with wines to complement each dish. We started off with an amuse-bouche which was a cauliflower dish followed by some freshly baked bread. The first official course of the tasting menu was Beef Tartare which neither had had before. The dish was served with tarragon mustard foam and confit hen yolk. We both surprisingly enjoyed the Beef Tartare which we also had the wine pairing of an Italian 2018 Bibi Graetz.
The second course was Chalk Steam Trout with cucumber, mussel foam and Basil Meringue. I’m not the biggest seafood eater so this dish wasn’t really for me. Stefan on the other hand really liked it and it went down a treat with the 2018 Domingo Martin from Albarino, Spain. The next dish was the variations of beetroot which we were told the chef had prepared the beetroot in seven completely different ways which were super interesting. The one on top was a Beetroot wafer!
The fourth course was a huge hit with both of us; Scottish Venison served with king oyster mushroom, roasted parsley and blueberry jam. The Venison was from the Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire and it was out of this world. The meat was so tender and it was the first time for me having Venison and it was excellent. The Venison was served with a 2015 Montecillo red wine from Rioja, Spain.
Moving onto the desserts which I was pretty excited about. The first dish was the traditional Sticky Toffee Pudding which was presented lovely and tasted delicious. The second dessert was The Orangery Cheesecake which was utterly delightful. The thing that really made the dish excellently was the wine pairing of 2016 Susana Balbo from Argentina which was a white wine with citrus elements. I’ve never tried a wine like this before and it was incredible. As a little bonus dish, we were served mini lemon meringue tarts. Stefan actually decided to try a selection of artisan cheeses served with a variety of chutneys and crackers. Stefan is really into his cheeses so he was in his absolute element picking out different types to try out.
We visited The Orangery again in the morning for breakfast. Along with a selection of continental options, there was a cooked menu to order from. Stefan went for the full English breakfast and I went for the American pancakes served with maple syrup and bacon. It’s rare you get pancakes in a hotel so I certainly had to order them. After breakfast, we actually had a slot in the Spa Garden booked so it was time to head back to the spa.
The Spa Garden is an added extra to the Rockliffe Spa and offers a tranquil and exclusive escape for the main Spa. We had a two-hour slot to enjoy the infinity pool and glass-fronted sauna. The whole area really is just so stunning and relaxing. We spent most of the time in the infinity pool just chatting and relaxing and before we knew it, the two hours were over! I’d certainly recommend checking out this area for the infinity pool alone.
Sadly after our Spa Garden experience, it was time to head home. We did have a little wander around the grounds first. Rockliffe is home to an 18 hole golf course but sadly it was closed due to flooding. However, we did manage to check it out slightly and walk down to the Clubhouse Restaurant which was serving food. Also in the grounds of Rockliffe was MischMasch which is an Alice in Wonderland themed woodland adventure for children. There was a huge playground and the cutest little wooden huts, this area was perfect for families visiting Rockliffe.
Overall, our trip to Rockliffe Hall was amazing, I couldn’t fault the service, everyone we came across who worked there was so helpful and friendly. We had an amazing time at Rockliffe Spa and came away feeling so relaxed. The food was also another exceptional aspect of the stay, the tasting menu was out of the world and it was great to try out all the wine pairings and also see the resort’s wine cellar. I’d love to say a massive thank you to the team at Rockliffe for having me, we had a lovely spa break!
*My stay at Rockliffe Hall was complimentary in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.