The North East's best hotel room? What we thought of Ramside Hall's spectacular new treehouses
Ramside Hall Hotel recently branched out to create treehouse accommodation in its sprawling 350 acre grounds – and the results are treemendous.
There’s been much hype around the new additions to the County Durham hotel, and rightly so, they’re pretty spectacular.
The four-star venue has really upped its game of late with the creation of its £8million spa adding to its existing facilities in 2016 and now its multi-million pound treehouses have taken overnight stays to a new level – tree top height to be precise.
Overlooking the 18th fairway of The Prince Bishops Golf Course, there’s three treehouses in total: Peacock, Woodpecker and Cuckoo.
Built on stilts, the treehouses are designed to be flexible according to guests’ requirements, so can be booked as a whole lodge (£750), which could sleep a maximum of 9-12 people using three bedrooms and sofa beds, or as one suite, each with their own sunken hot tub, for a couple on a romantic getaway priced at £350.
After parking at the spa car park (there are a limited number of parking spaces at the treehouses themselves too) and checking in at the main house, we were taken to our accommodation in style via a golf buggy. Not just any golf buggy, however, this was a gold, stretch one. If there was a Limousine of golf buggies this would be it and it sets the tone for a night of living the high life.
We had free reign of Cuckoo which, with its stag’s heads on the walls, cuckoo clock and retro wooden skis decoration, has more of an Alpine lodge theme than its neighbouring treehouses, which lean more towards French and contemporary styling for their aesthetic.
It’s rustic charm meets pure luxury with its high-end features such as Parquet flooring, Espa toiletries, free-standing copper baths and state-of-the art technology including a remote-controlled open fire.
You can take your own food and drink to the lodge, which comes complete with an American-style fridge freezer, and there’s also the option to arrange for a chef to cook for you on site, but we booked to eat at the hotel’s Rib Room restaurant in the main house. The concierge once again takes you to and from the main house, which is roughly a three-minute drive away.
Arguably one of the best steakhouses in the region, the AA award-winning Rib Room has a firm focus on locally-sourced produce, such as Durham beef, on its menu while its decor wouldn’t look out of place in a Parisian brasserie with its maroon leather booths and Art Nouveau-style poster art.
The starters menu also spans both sides of The Channel with local flavours such as Lindisfarne oysters (£9.95 for three) rubbing shoulders with French classics such as twice baked gruyère cheese soufflé with spring onion cream (£7.95) and beer & onion soup with salt & vinegar potato crisps (£5.95).
I chose the Lobster BLT which consists of poached lobster, pancetta crisp, iceberg espuma and Bloody Mary jelly for £11.50. It was beautifully presented and tasted just as good: the subtle nuance of the fleshy lobster was a great contrast with the salt of the pancetta, while the espuma was moreishly smooth.
Mains are split into four sections: a variety of steaks, from a dainty 6oz to a whopping 32oz; specials featuring classics such as beef Wellington; lobster three ways and halibut three ways. If you’re stumped for choice, the servers are really knowledgeable and well versed in the intricacies of the menu.
I chose the 6oz fillet (£21.95) which comes with roasted field mushroom, tomato and watercress and a choice of butter or sauce. Like all the steaks here, it’s been aged for 28 days in the meat locker, which you can see inside from the restaurant through a feature window.
Cooked medium rare, it was perfectly pink inside and my knife slid through the buttery flesh with ease. I’d ordered a peppercorn sauce, but it’s the kind of meat that’s so good it doesn’t need dressing up.
I was sorely tempted by the cheese trolley, but we had a bubbling hot tub to get back to. Each of the treehouses has two sunken hot tubs, one in each suite, with separating walls so that’s it’s perfectly private if suites are occupied by different parties.
Sat in the hot tub, glass of wine in hand, amidst the hotel’s woodlands you’d be forgiven for thinking you were deep the countryside on an exclusive retreat rather than a stone’s throw from the A1. It was a gloriously indulgent end to an indulgent evening.
But the luxury continues into the morning with breakfast included in treehouses stays, which we had at Fusion restaurant at the spa, followed by spa access. After all that unadulterated opulence you’ll be pining for a return trip to the treehouses.