Seaham Hall: Durham

Situated amidst 37 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens in a striking cliff top location is Seaham Hall, a stunning five-star boutique hotel with evocative views out over Durham’s heritage coast line.

With a holiday well over due I was so excited to escape to the coast for a few days. The optimist in me packed sandals and sunglasses for a walk on the beach and the realist in me packed a raincoat! Despite the weather, during our weekend away we rented bicycles to explore the coast, visited the Serenity Spa and dined at the Bar & Grill. It was the perfect place for a romantic retreat and I can’t wait to return. I would recommend Seaham Hall to the discerning traveller who values urban luxuries and is looking for efficient, discreet and welcoming service along with unsurpassed attention to detail.

For our first day we made Seaham Hall our base and explored the colourful and dramatic landscape of Durham’s Heritage Coast, with its beaches, rugged cliffs and imposing headlands. The hotel offer complimentary mountain bikes so we used them to explore the coast and countryside. The harbour town of Seaham has many bars and cafes but we bought fish and chips then strolled along the beach with the sea breeze blowing through our hair. You can read more about the clothes I wore on the coast in my latest fashion feature here: Frey de Fleur Coastal Fashion Feature. The sea made a lovely rushing sound as it swelled over the sand and pebbles of the shore. It was a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours before we cycled back to Seaham Hal.

Our suite at Seaham Hall was one of 20 individually styled suites which offer stylish and spacious surroundings with sumptuous seating and all the mod cons you can imagine. The interior fused modern eclecticism with a classical sensibility but the highlight of the room’s decor was the view!

After a long day walking along the cold coastal path we got back to the room and wrapped up in fluffy bathrobes and indulged ourselves in a bath with exclusive toiletries from Elemis. The bathroom boasted a freestanding bathtub so we climbed in and enjoyed a small bottle of champagne as we watched TV in the tub – yes that’s right there is a TV opposite the bath!

Byrons Bar & Grill is a delicious grill within the hotel, perfect for a scrumptious dinner for two. I expected the hotel’s restaurant to only have guests eating there but when we visited, on a Friday admittedly, it was packed! It’s obviously a popular place to eat in the area as most tables were full which created a great atmosphere of quiet chitter chatter and chinking glasses. The market menu offers three courses for £30 so it’s gourmet food at an accessible price.

After dinner we took our unfinished bottle of wine through to the sports room to play a game of pool. We had ordered a bottle of Sancerre Les Collinettes which had crisp aromas of gooseberries and powerful fruit flavours. Unsurprisingly my boyfriend won the game but it was lovely to be able to continue our evening after dinner as in most hotels you’re limited to spending time in the restaurant or your room.

When we returned from dinner we found the concierge had closed the curtains and left a Quiet Mind Pillow Spray by Elemis on our bed. The scents of lavender, eucalyptus and patchouli are known to encourage a good night’s sleep and it certainly worked on me! The hotel’s motto ‘it’s all in the detail’ summed up my stay beautifully. Little touches like these felt personal and endearing. So after a long day we finally climbed in to our king sized bed, snuggled down under our luxurious crisp cotton sheets and enjoyed a long slumber.

I woke up early and drew back the drapes so we could enjoy gazing out of the floor to ceiling windows at the uninterrupted sea views. We then enjoyed a lazy morning of reading our paper, which was delivered to the door, and coffee from the Nespresso machine in our suite.

Breakfast was served in the restaurant we had our dinner in and we arrived in time to take the same table so we could watch the rain fall against the window. My boyfriend can never turn down a full English so we already knew what he has having as soon as he sat down; he said it didn’t disappoint. I, however, was a bit more adventurous and opted for the eggy brioche with maple syrup and bacon. It was absolutely delicious – especially with my cup of fresh coffee. If anything I was disappointed that the portion was so small, a second slice would have gone down a treat.

Hotel guests have access to the luxury hotel spa facilities at Seaham Hall so after breakfast we decided to enjoy an afternoon of pampering. From the hotel reception you can follow a magical underground walkway which makes the experience all the more exciting. The dimly lit wooden walkway appears to float on water as you walk along past the pebbles and Thai statues.

As well as a large pool the spa hosts a Hamman, Sanarium, Steam room, Ice fountain, Sauna and, my favourite, outdoor hot tubs. The Feng Shui influence is apparent in the design of the spa from the abundance of granite, limestone and quartz – in particular the black granite steam room with amethyst crystal which left me feeling very cleansed. You can read about the Lilliput & Felix swimsuit I wore at the Serenity Spa here: Frey de Fleur Poolside Chic.

Whilst visiting the spa I had a wellbeing massage which promised to induce a sense of pleasure, wellness and inner calm! The soothing rhythmical technique used pre-warmed, aromatic pure oils which enhanced the whole experience. My masseuse was able to get some real traction on my muscles and unlocked the tension in my neck. As the treatment, sadly, came to an end she chimed a Buddist-style bell to wake me up and bring me back to reality.

The Serenity Spa have partnered with Ishga to deliver spa experiences based on seaweed therapy. I use these Scottish seaweed skincare products at home so I was delighted to see them at the spa – you can read my review here: Frey de Fleur x Ishga.

I was advised to take some time to myself in the Zen Lounge after my massage where I could let the oils sink in to my skin and hydrate with some water and fresh fruit. This dedicated post-treatment area was peaceful and had comfortable loungers where I could enjoy views over the gardens.

If you’re staying at the spa all day, like we did, then you can eat at the pan Asian restaurant within the spa. The informal atmosphere meant we could stop by in our robes and slippers for mojitos and pad thai before returning to the Jacuzzi.

Despite staying all day I found myself fantasising about a longer visit! A weekend retreat here is about relaxing and rejuvenating for some pampering, coastal walks and good food – but not just in the warmer months! This is a year-round destination, given that the short stroll to the sea can be wild in winter or beach wear friendly in the summer.It’’s also just a great place to curl up indoors and enjoy being pampered, whatever the weather. You can browse the rooms and book a stay here: 

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