Once envisaged as a grand Georgian port on the Durham coast, Seaham segued into a mining village before the pits closed 30 years ago. Now the black beaches have given way to a romantic wild coastal strip, the little town is to be revitalised by a new marina and Seaham Hall, where Lord Byron wrote his Hebrew Melodies, has metamorphosed into one of the hospitality jewels of north-east England.
You may well bump into a WAG or celeb in the Michelin-star White Room, in the Drawing Room (a hive of elegant after-dinner chat), or in the award-winning Serenity Spa. It’s worth the shlep from the elegant rooms in the old house to the modern spa block, which has spacious, glossy treatment rooms and fine therapists. There’s a big indoor pool, steam and sauna rooms.
The old-wing and new rooms in the spa extension are well-equipped and stylish, with handsome modern bathrooms. But it was annoying that a shower arm in the free-standing bathtub soaked the floor when the bath was filled — a sign, along with non-functioning in-room wi-fi — that maintenance could be improved.
Seaham Hall is a recent addition to the Von Essen chain, which also runs Cliveden, and although locals miss the family ambience which prevailed when it was privately owned, good things can be expected under the award-winning chain. In truth, very little needs improvement and it would be a shame to see this near perfect historic hotel expand any further.
RATES: From £195
TEL: 0191 516 1400