The first time I arrived at Eshott Hall, I realised immediately that this was definitely a ‘hidden gem’ of a place. Born and bred in County Durham, I was delighted to take up my role as general manager at Eshott Hall. This would be my first Northumberland hotel, and my first country house. I couldn’t wait to get started.
To do this I needed to know more about Eshott’s history; its background, its people past and present, the village, the staff, and of course its transition into this very exclusive and private eleven-bedroom hotel.
A beautiful 17th century country house with beautiful landscaped grounds and gardens, designed and built by Robert Trollope between 1588 and 1600, Eshott is a very natural setting – rural, but not too far from the coast. It is just twenty minutes from civilization, yet the world feels a million miles away.
It’s in our nature
Wildlife is at the heart of the grounds and gardens. Dodging the pheasants as I drive to work with the wild flowers blooming and the lambs bleating in the fields, I make sure to stick to the 10 miles per hour speed limit – set for the safety of the red squirrels! Whether staying in the hotel or in one of the cottages, the likelihood is that our guests will stumble upon a red squirrel, or come face to face with a woodpecker.
To find out more, I went to see Head Gardener Shaun Nolan. He informed me that the gardens are extensive, natural, and integral to the overall hotel offering. The gardens boast their very own small fernery and lake, both which provide a quiet backdrop for relaxation and mindfulness. Many people return time after time, just to sit quietly inside or out, to enjoy the delights on offer within this house and grounds.
Just as when the house was built, the walled garden is very important for providing produce for our 2 AA Rosette restaurant. Whatever the time of year you visit, you’ll find seasonal produce on the menu thanks to the gardeners toiling throughout the year to maintain this truly traditional manicured kitchen garden.
It’s in our style
During the restoration of the Hall, very careful attention to detail was taken in the choosing of the fabrics, fittings, and antiques to ensure that all guest bedrooms are in keeping with their natural surroundings. There are 17 bedrooms in total – guests can choose to stay the hotel itself or three self-catering properties – each bedroom is entirely different and, of course, very special!
Interior designer Lou Ball, along with Eshott Hall owner Gina Parker, were responsible for the recent restoration of the hotel. They carefully combined beautiful antiques – many which were sourced from Northumberland’s wonderful antique shops - sumptuous fabrics, and of course contemporary fittings. I especially like the range of themes that they have chosen for the rooms.
A couple of personal favourites include:
- The Collingwood named after Lord Nelson’s right hand man and a son of the North-East. This room has replica of the four-poster bed that Nelson slept in, ship’s chests, naval prints, and a beautiful original tiled fireplace.
- The Veg Patch overlooking the walled garden has the morning sun and is furnished with beautiful light oak furniture in vibrant reds and browns echoing rich autumnal colours of the garden.
My favourite aspect of Eshott Hall is the entrance hall, especially when the sun is shining through the magnificent stained glass window. The house is old and full of history – though sadly, I am yet to find any secret passageways or hidden rooms!
Prior to taking up my new role, I had been told that Eshott Hall was somewhere that guests never want to leave. I can now categorically say that they were absolutely correct. For me, being general manager at Eshott Hall is not just a job, it is now my way of life.
So, whether our guests are coming for morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or just to stay, I am absolutely delighted to say that they are guaranteed a very personal welcome into what I now almost consider my home.