Their website sounded absolutely fantastic, a unique location, with fabulous interiors
and a team of passionate staff to make my stay extra special. There's true joy in
the warm welcome, it's easy to relax when you're being spoiled. This is Slaley Hall,
just the place to take my partner to celebrate my 65th birthday, regardless of cost.
This must be paradise, this is the life.
I went ahead and booked a deluxe rooms for
4 days which was confirmed telling me that this is my break and this is the life
and the day before my arrival, they sent me another email which ensured me that they
could not wait to meet me, show me around and make my break unforgettable.
they were, a truly unforgettable break was awaiting me.
Check-in was from 15.00 hours
and when I arrived at about 16:00 hours I was told quite bluntly that our room was
not ready and would not be ready until 18:30 at the earliest as a number of rooms
(including ours) are being occupied by a 'football team' who, so not the young lady
told us would not leave until 18.00 hours.
She gave us a choice of either going away
and to come back after 18:30 or so she said, we could wait the 2 ½ hours in the bar
and have a 'complimentary' coffee. I had just driven to Northumberland for 4 hours
in appalling weather conditions only to be told to go away and come back 3 hours
later. I was not happy but reception was insistent that there was nothing they could
When I inquired if I could, whilst waiting for my room, book any purchase from
the bar to my room I was told that this would not be possible as I would not have
a room until I actually checked in, which was impossible , as my room was presently
occupied by the 'football team' which, as I found out after was Huddersfield Town
who played Newcastle that very evening at 20.00 hours in the Carling Cup.
was the true joy in the warm welcome as promised.
In the end I finally received my
key card 10 minutes past 19.00 hours having waited in excess of 3 hours in the bar
and made my way to room 305, the ‘deluxe room’ which was promised to me as being
easy to relax when you're being spoiled.
The first impression was that the room, whilst
quite spacious, was rather cold and boring, the furniture taking me back to 70's
and looking like a self-assembly kit from MFI.
There was a bathrobe in the wardrobe
but no sign fluffy slippers, the heated towel rail in the bathroom was not working
and the room was freezing cold. All efforts to change the temperature with the room
thermostat were in vain, it made no difference which way you turned the little dial,
it just stayed cold, but we discovered on ancillary heater in the wardrobe which
we had to use to bring our deluxe room to an acceptable level of warmth.
no hotel information folder anywhere in the room, no writing paper, no pen.
At 20.00 hours we went for our dinner, having had little time to change and we dined
for the first two nights at the more formal Duke's Grill and the remaining two nights
at Hadrian's Brasserie.
The food in both restaurants was ok, nothing to shout about,
and despite having booked the Half Board option we still ended up paying in excess
of £ 50.00 extra per night which included a bottle of wine but not having any desserts.
Regretfully, whilst there for last 4 days the menu never changed and we found it
quite difficult to find anything different to eat on our last day, it was becoming
Breakfast was another story. You first join a queue at Hadrian's Brasserie
to wait for a vacant table. When you finally get your table you then join another
(rather long) queue for the self-service breakfast. On 3 out of the 4 days the plates
were ice cold as the staff could not be bothered to refill the plate heaters and
by the time you finally get your 'english breakfast' having waited with the queue
for various missing items, which happened every day , your breakfast is stone cold.
Cold bacon, cold sausage and cold eggs are not my ideal but the continental breakfast
selection was as unimpressive that it could not be considered an alternative.
day we ventured into the Leisure Club, but with an abundance of rather noisy children
in the pool we found it rather cumbersome to have a swim so we gave up and just had
a sauna. When I tried to dry my hair after I had a shower I found that the hair dryer
in the changing room was not working forcing me to go back to our room with my wet