Down At The Dene

Issue 81

With my partner Josh's birthday around the corner, Jesmond Dene House provided the perfect place to celebrate.

Nestled within the valley of the Dene, the independently-owned luxury hotel boasts a unique location, promoting a traditional, country escape feel whilst still within walking distance of Jesmond’s shops and residential area, and only ten minutes from Newcastle’s lively city centre.

The Grade II-listed hotel has a rich architectural history. Bought in 1871 by Captain Andrew Noble, the house has expanded greatly over the years and was converted into a hotel in 2005. The boutique hotel has retained many of these period features, with ornate paneling, stone carvings and stained glass contributing to the venue’s traditional character.

Boasting 40 rooms, guests can choose classic, superior or deluxe spaces, as well as some under-the-eaves extra large suites. During our stay, we were delighted to stay in a junior suite in the New House. With its own exclusive entrance, guests in the suites can enjoy that extra bit of space and privacy, with even bigger beds and large, comfortable seating areas.

Our room was equipped with various amenities, including highspeed Wi-Fi, a large flat screen TV and complimentary tea and coffee facilities. With large windows and high ceilings, the room maintained a light and airy feel, whilst showcasing some fantastic views of the leafy Dene. Each of the rooms have their own personalized touch and some offer stylish window seats or private patios. The standout feature of our room, however, was the lavish bathroom, equipped with modern tiling, his/her sinks, a large bath and a walk-in power shower. Wow!

After a relaxing afternoon, we headed to the hotel’s restaurant, the recently rebranded Fern Dining Room & Bar. Designed by hospitality design specialist Karen Walker, the space fuses its period features with a modern twist. Fern aims to bring the garden into the restaurant, featuring floral-patterned wall coverings and vibrant shades, which combine to make this a natural and contemporary setting.

The restaurant offers a premium dining experience, with emphasis on creating flavoursome food largely using local produce. Catering for both hotel guests and non-resident diners, the restaurant is led by Head Chef Danny Parker and operates at an AA Rosette standard. The first-class food is also complemented by excellent hospitality, with friendly staff who were attentive to all our needs.

To start, I enjoyed the grilled English Asparagus salad, a nutritious dish comprising of leafy greens and a crispy hen’s egg, whilst Josh sampled the steamed Shetland mussels. Served with a tangy coconut, coriander and chilli sauce, this offered a unique twist to the dish, and paired nicely with a delicious glass of pinot from the hotel’s extensive wine list.

Following up, customers can enjoy both classic dishes and seasonal mains, which change continually and focus on local, quality produce. Here, I tried the tasty corn-fed chicken breast, served with herby potatoes, steamed greens and an exquisite red wine jus. Josh meanwhile devoured the braised feather blade of beef, accompanied by chunky chips and tender stem broccoli. With delicious flavours and large, hearty portions, this proved to be dining at its absolute finest.

Feeling replete, we swerved desserts in favour of coffees and liqueurs, although customers can enjoy various sweet treets, including the sticky ginger pudding and luscious chocolate & orange delice. Following a restful night’s sleep, the following morning we returned to the restaurant for a spot of breakfast. The restaurant serves a range of cooked items and continental classics, including buttery pastries, cold meats and fruit, and various juices and hot drinks. This all sounded delightful so we tucked in with gusto before leaving the hotel after a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing stay. All in all, Jesmond Dene House offers all the benefits of a local hotel, whilst also feeling far enough away to escape the pressures of daily life. With its fantastic location, luxurious rooms and quality food, the hotel really ticks all the boxes

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