Down By The River

Issue 56

After a hectic first week back at work, a night away with my wife Lisa was just what I needed, and the Radisson Blu Hotel in Durham provided the perfect place.

Whilst we hadn’t visited the hotel in some time, we were eager to return, especially since Durham now has added sentimental value being the chosen university destination of our daughter Holly.

Situated in a scenic location along the River Wear, the Radisson Blu acts as a real hub in the heart of Durham city centre. The venue boasts 207 bedrooms, an innovative restaurant and fantastic leisure club facilities, as well as catering for various business and leisure events. Whilst the hotel is within walking distance from Durham’s lively Walkergate complex, the venue manages to maintain a calm and tranquil feel, making it the ideal destination for a romantic getaway.

After a warm and welcoming reception, we checked into our room. With the renowned Radisson Blu label, I knew a comfortable stay was in order, yet I was impressed by the high-quality of the room. A modern and contemporary space consisting of a large double bed, flatscreen TV and complimentary tea and coffee facilities, the room exuded luxury and sophistication. One noteworthy feature was also the stunning large windows, which showcased the hotel’s idyllic riverside views.

Ditching the bags, we decided to enjoy some Saturday afternoon hustle and bustle in Durham’s vibrant city centre. The beauty of the Radisson Blu is that it’s only a short walk away from an array of bars, restaurants and shops, so we enjoyed some retail therapy and a drink in some of the city’s distinctive bars.

After a thoroughly pleasant afternoon, we returned to the hotel for an evening of wining and dining in the renowned in-house restaurant. Aptly named the ‘Collage’ restaurant, the eatery puts an inventive spin on signature British favourites, from succulent steaks to classic fish & chips and tasty burgers. With infinite choice available, the restaurant provides fusion cuisine at its absolute finest, ensuring that one really enjoys a memorable meal. The décor offers similar delight, providing an intimate ambience and breathtaking views of the historic city.

The afternoon’s refreshments had worked up an appetite so we couldn’t wait to begin. To start, Lisa devoured the delicious warm asparagus salad accompanied by new potato and fresh brie cream whilst I sampled the crispy chicken wings, a scrumptious dish served with a tangy BBQ glaze. The starters were extremely flavoursome and paired nicely with a lovely bottle of merlot from the venue’s expertly crafted wine list.

For mains, I decided to try something new (not!) with the peppered fillet steak. Sourced from Black Angus Beef, the steak was cooked to perfection and came with delicious fries, grilled tomato and mushroom. Lisa meanwhile savoured the luscious rump of lamb. With gratin potato, Provençal vegetables and sundried tomato balsamic jus, the dish was exquisite and certainly hit the spot.

Staring defeat in the face, we unfortunately had to swerve desserts, although we did enjoy a drink in the hotel’s adjacent bar before returning to the room for a long and peaceful night’s sleep.

The following morning, Lisa headed to the hotel’s superb Nuspa whilst I decided to shake off the excess of the night before with a trip to the fitness suite. The hotel offers excellent leisure facilities and comes well-equipped with cutting-edge cardio and weight-training equipment. Unfortunately, the red wine didn’t do much for the fitness levels but at least the large indoor swimming pool provided the perfect opportunity for a relaxing dip.

After a hearty and nutritious breakfast, we left the Radisson Blu having enjoyed a relaxing and memorable stay. With an encouraging mix of January diners, it seems that the multi-faceted hotel has much to offer to the region and, all being well, we look forward to returning when Holly graduates next year.

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