Rockliffe Hall Hotel & Spa

County Durham, England

Features

  • Day Spa
  • Going Solo
  • Outdoors
  • Wellness

Spa

  • Hydrotherapy
  • Pool
  • Thermal Facilities

To Do

  • Golf
  • Gymnasium
  • Pool – Indoor

Rockliffe Hall is a glamorous five-star resort spa, with golf and fine-dining – the full package for a country escape in England’s northeast. The driveway leads you up to the stunning red-brick 19th-century century house with its sympathetic spa extension, and vistas across manicured lawns to woodland and the river Tees as far as the eye can see.

Set in the quiet village of Hurworth, Rockliffe’s location is perfect for discovering the treasures of Durham city, the drama of the North East coastline and the rugged beauty of the North Yorkshire moors.

Attention to detail is everywhere, and thoughtful touches make delightful discoveries, such as the bedside wallet-size booklet 50 Things to Do, and a gourmet seven-course tasting menu that’s also offered for pescatarians and vegetarians.

The Spa

Expansive, modern and elegantly designed, the destination spa has all the facilities you could wish for. As well as the lap pool, there’s a huge hydro pool and a hot tub in the garden, with loungers.

Indoors, cabins offer varying temperatures for assorted benefits – tepidarium, caldarium, Roman sauna, igloo and a tropicarium (a high-humidity wood-lined sauna that aids detoxification).

A nail bar, fitness studio, Technogym, treatment rooms, relaxation room and the Spa Garden complete the picture.

Spa Facilities

  • Swimming pool
  • Hydrotherapy pool
  • Hot tub
  • Tepidarium
  • Caldarium
  • Roman sauna
  • Tropicarium
  • Nail bar
  • Relaxation areas
  • Treatment rooms
  • Spa garden
  • Fitness studio
  • Technogym

Spa Products

To Stay

Each of the 61 bedrooms are designed to offer guests the ultimate in luxury. Look out onto the beautiful golf course, surrounding countryside, and the meandering River Tees.

Bathrooms are crisp, modern and spacious. Relax in Villeroy & Boch bathtubs and enjoy the peace and quiet or watch your favourite program on the bathroom ‘Tile TVs’.

Woodland Mews Holiday Homes offer the chance to experience all the benefits of Rockliffe Hall from the privacy and intimacy of a 4 bed-roomed holiday home.

To Eat

Headed up by award winning chef Richard Allen, The Orangery offers a varied menu, exquisite wines and carefully concocted cocktails in a conservatory-style light-filled room.

The Clubhouse serves up the classics with a focus on quality, wholesome food and the bright and buzzy Brasserie offers locally sourced seasonal specials as well as smoothies and juices.


Getting There

Hurworth on Tees Darlington County Durham DL2 2DU

+44 (0)1325 729999

Laura IvillBy Laura Ivill

Rockliffe Hall is a glamorous five-star resort spa, with golf and fine-dining – the full package for a country escape in England’s northeast. The driveway leads you up to the stunning red-brick 19th-century century house with its sympathetic spa extension, and vistas across manicured lawns to woodland and the river Tees as far as the eye can see.

The country estate, near Darlington, in County Durham, was bought in in 1996 by Middlesborough FC millionaire Steve Gibson OBE. At Rockliffe Park, he built a £7 million football training facility and academy over 160 acres, which was used by the Team GB football team in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.

The neighbouring hotel, set in its own 375 acres of parkland, opened in 2009 as one of the finest places to stay in a region that isn’t overburdened with weekend-away options. Attention to detail is everywhere, and thoughtful touches make delightful discoveries, such as the bedside wallet-size booklet 50 Things to Do (whatever the weather), and a gourmet seven-course tasting menu that’s also offered for pescatarians and vegetarians (from £65).

The Spa

Expansive, modern and elegantly designed, the destination spa has all the facilities you could wish for. As well as the lap pool, there’s a huge hydro pool and a hot tub in the garden, with loungers.

Indoors, cabins offer varying temperatures for assorted benefits – tepidarium, caldarium, Roman sauna, igloo and – my favourite – a tropicarium, which is a high-humidity wood-lined sauna that aids detoxification – a clever combo. A nail bar, fitness studio, Technogym, treatment rooms, relaxation room and the Spa Garden (see below) complete the picture.

The Treatment

The spa offers three top brands – Caudalie, from Bordeaux, which harnesses the health benefits of grapes for its Vinotherapie treatments; Comfort Zone, from Italy, has nourishing face and body rituals, and Neom, from the nearby North Yorkshire spa town of Harrogate has especially notable natural scents.

I chose a 60-minute wellbeing ritual (£90) by Neom. My therapist Amy first asked me to ‘blind-smell’ four candles so that I would instinctively choose whatever treatment my body needed. (From sleep, de-stress, energy and happiness, I chose energy).

Each wellbeing ritual combines elements of six therapies: meditation, shiatsu, cranio, Thai massage, trigger point and reflexology, although it’s all so seemless that it translated as a top to toe full body and face massage (without deep work). I adored the energising body scrub – and found myself tracking it down in the spa shop afterwards.

To Stay

The Stay Rooms are spacious (even the twins have double beds), luxurious and many come with stunning views across the park. Choose to stay in either the Old Hall or New Hall wing.

Mum and I stayed in New Hall, which is close to the spa; we watched Wimbledon on a huge TV, drank tea on the Juliette balcony and put our glad rags on for dinner in the dressing area. We could definitely spread out and relax. The bathrooms are so up to date that they come with TV tiles.

To Eat

My mum and I kicked off the evening with expert cocktails in the bar where we poured over the evening’s menus. The Orangery is a conservatory-style light-filled room with attractive ironwork.

It’s worth highlighting how they’ve got the dining layout spot-on – larger groups bring life to the centre of the space and tables for two face into the room so everyone has a view and there’s a good buzz.

The chef, Richard Allen, offers serious diners a nine-course surprise tasting menu (£95) that will be unique to your table (ie no-one else will have the exact same dishes that evening). We chose the four-course a la carte menu (£60) – beautifully presented, with wonderful flavours and a balletic service worthy of a Michelin star. And the dining chairs! They managed to be both supremely comfortable and good for your back.

Facilities and Activities

Mischmasch is the estate’s new recreation zone and kitchen garden, with tennis courts, an adventure playground, nature trail, glasshouse and ‘activity pods’, all opening this September.

Play a round of golf on the 18-hole championship course, attack the driving range or book a lesson with one of the hotel’s PGA pros.

Take a walk in the estate’s park and woodland. The northeast’s historic cities (such as Durham and York), abbeys, castles, cathedrals, museums, river cruises, country parks and gardens, and children’s adventure centres are just a drive away.

Don’t Miss

A two-hour pass (£30pp) gets you into the Spa Garden, a haven of tranquility indoors and out. Inside is a sauna, tepidarium beds and a firepit; outside, the terrace has sunloungers around a heated outdoor infinity whirlpool overlooking a pretty garden border and across the lawns.

Lolling around under a big sky is sheer bliss. It would make a wonderful exclusive hire for a birthday pool party.