I have lost count of the number of times I have visited Tynemouth and walked past Martineau Guest House which stands in the heart of the village on Front street. My intrigue was heightened when I read about Martineau winning Gold at this years North East Tourism Awards and scooped the prize for the Best Guest Accommodation in our region - I knew I had to find out more and contacted Sally (who owns and runs Martineau) to arrange an overnight stay during my birthday weekend.
We arrived at Martineau mid-afternoon and were immediately welcomed into Sally's home like old friends. We stepped into the warm and cosy kitchen where a fire was burning and Sally was baking a batch of bread for the following morning's breakfast. We were offered a cup of tea to warm us through along with a slice of homemade Christmas cake at the kitchen table. I can honestly say I've never had a welcome quite like this and it certainly makes a change from a quick two minute check in with a receptionist you will probably never see again.
We were to stay in the Priory room which sits at the top of the house. Our climb upstairs was rewarded with the most stunning panoramic view across the Mouth of the Tyne and around towards Tynemouth Priory.
Whenever we go away for an evening I crave peace, quiet and tranquility and the seats by the window in our room were the perfect spot to sit and just be. It was very relaxing watching the boats leave North Shields and there are a wide selection of books dotted around the house for you to dip in and out of should you wish.
Our room had everything we needed and more - a large comfortable bed with extra blankets if required, a safe, an en-suite shower room, a docking station, a dvd library, local information, fluffy bathrobes and towels........I could go on. The room was also spotlessly clean.
I was really impressed with the in-room hospitality tray which went over and above my expectations. There was a huge selection of gourmet teas and coffees to choose from along with homemade shortbread and cookies (which by the way tasted AMAZING) and guests can help themselves to mini flasks of fresh milk from a communal fridge in the kitchen downstairs.
After we had settled into our room we headed out into Tynemouth for a late lunch. Before we left we got chatting to Sally and I have to say her local knowledge is superb - she is full of recommendations not only of places to visit but what to order and what to avoid as well. I always prefer to dine out on recommendations so having someone with this sort of knowledge where you are staying is invaluable. We decided to head to Lola Jeans - Sally recommended the steak or seafood platter plus the chicken wings, so of course we had to order all three. The recommendation was spot on. Our lunch was perfect (especially the steak platter) and at £30 for lunch and 2 glasses of fizz Lola Jeans offered good value too.
After a few more drinks we headed back to our room to get ready for our evening out - it turns out we headed back at the perfect time as we just caught the sunset over the Tyne which was absolutely stunning - these photographs really do not do the view any justice, it was truly beautiful. Who needs to go abroad with views like this!
Getting ready in a room I think is a true test to how good it is - I'm pleased to say Martineau passed with flying colours. There were plenty of plug sockets, the shower was powerful and hot, the towels were huge and fluffy and the bathroom was fully stocked with shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, cotton buds....everything you could need. In an hour or so we were both ready and ready to hit the town.
Tynemouth on a Friday evening was buzzing with activity - the restaurants were all full and many of the bars feature live music. We are clearly getting old as we dismissed the cocktail and wine bars and preferred to spend our evening in Priory which is a traditional and welcoming pub with a singer in the corner, real ales on tap and chesterfield sofa's dotted about. We had a fantastic evening and headed back to our room at some point between 11pm&midnight. You are given your own key to the front door at Martineau and are free to come and go as you please.
After a wonderful night's sleep, I could not wait to sample one of Sally's award winning breakfasts. You place your order the evening before and choose a preferred time to eat. Breakfast is served around a communal kitchen table which is personally something I prefer - we got the chance to chat to other guests and find out where they were heading for the weekend and we met an inspiring gent who must have been aged 80+ and put us all to shame by informing us he has ran the Great North Run for the last 4 years! Amazing! It seems a few people stay at Martineau when they are watching their team play away at St James Park - the guest house is a 5 minute walk to the metro station which will take you directly to the stadium so it seems like a perfect choice to me.
Breakfast certainly did not disappoint. We helped ourselves to fresh juice, cereal and fruit (lets just miss out the part where I dropped the juice all over the floor!) and were then brought a fantastic cooked breakfast featuring homemade bread and locally sourced produce - the sausages deserve a special mention which have been created by a local butcher exclusively for the guests of Martineau Guest House to enjoy.
Our feast did not end there, next up we were served toast (using the bread Sally had made herself) which was served with a selection of homemade jams and preserves. You really can tell the difference between shop bought and homemade and Sally's lemon curd and Old English Marmalade is worth the overnight stay alone.
Our breakfast was one of the highlight's of our stay. Sally chats away as she cooks and her passion for locally sourced, high quality produce is apparent. As a keen cook herself, Sally also offers homemade takeaway packed lunches or picnics which can be ordered using the forms in your room and are ideal for trips to the beach or to pack in your rucksack when walking.
Sally is really keen to listen to customer feedback and create a personalised stay for every single guest. She has recognised that not everyone likes to sit around a table with other guests during breakfast and is in the process of developing in-room continental breakfast hampers which will be delivered in the morning and packed full of freshly baked pastries, yoghurts, fruits, cereals and of course some of Sally's lovely homemade jams.
Both myself and Steve had such a wonderful time at Martineau Guest House, although we were only there for one evening we left feeling as if we had gained a new friend. To me, the main reason Martineau has won so many awards is because of Sally. As we were eating breakfast a few other guests commented that once you've stayed here you would never stay anywhere else and I can certainly see why. The way Sally welcomes you into her home, her passion for Tynemouth, her interest in sourcing only the best local produce and the way she is keen to listen to every single guest and use their feedback to improve her business is truly admirable. Congratulations on winning Gold in the North East Tourism Awards for Best Guest Accommodation, it is certainly well deserved.
Make sure you like Martineau Guest House on Facebook and recommend to friends and family who are looking for somewhere to stay in the area.
For booking enquires visit www.martineau-house.co.uk
We were invited to stay at Martineau Guest House for the purpose of this review, as always, all thoughts are our own.