It is a little bit of a tradition in our house that we go away for Steve's birthday somewhere just the two of us. We are extremely lucky that our parents are always happy to babysit for us, but as we needed to be back to pick the kids up from school, I wasn't keen on going too far. I desperately wanted to visit The Garage Spa in County Durham (see our review here) but didn't really know too much about the attached Morritt Hotel. It did however look lovely on their website and I was impressed that they were home to a 2AA rosette restaurant which prides itself on local produce. We booked a 'spa break' which costs from £125 per room for two people including 4 hours spa access and a 'Full Morritt breakfast'.
Our RoomWe were kindly upgraded to a Platinum room which was actually a cottage in the hotel grounds known as Crystal. Located to the side of The Garage Spa I loved that we had our own private garden.
Our cottage room was gorgeous and traditionally styled with quality furniture. I honestly felt like a Queen sleeping in this intricately carved four poster bed looking out onto our garden. We had our own seating area too with comfortable sofas and chairs and luxurious tea and coffee making facilities including chocolate chip cookies and Harrogate Spring water.
Now I have to tell you about our fabulous bathroom. Our beautiful roll top bath and hot power shower were made even more special with these yummy full sized toiletries courtesy of The Garage Spa.
Not just your average shampoo and conditioner - we even had our own 'The Garage' cleanser and toner too (I really wanted to sneak these products into my suitcase as using them was like giving myself a mini facial - I was good though and refrained).
The Garage SpaAs stated, 4 hours access to The Garage Spa was included in our break. Alternatively you can add access to any room or stay from £20 as a 'finishing touch'. I cannot express how much you need to do this. The spa is small but unique with lots of cosy hideaways, experience rooms and a gorgeous secret garden with outdoor hot tub and Shepherd's Hut log sauna. We tried the 'mud pit' experience as something a little different to celebrate Steve's birthday and there are couples treatment rooms available too.
Dickens Bar and BistroWe were blessed with a beautiful sunny evening on the night of our stay so decided to venture into the hotel a little earlier than our dinner reservation for a few drinks in the hotel bar. We were pleasantly surprised to find a series of gardens to the side and back of the hotel where we were encouraged to enjoy our drinks.
It was lovely to find a children's slide and swings hidden away at the rear of the garden and I remarked to Steve that we will definitely be returning during one of our road trips in the holidays as a place to stop off for a drink and stretch our legs (The Morritt isn't too far from A1 - use DL12 9SE for your Sat Nav - Dickens Bar open to residents and non-residents from 11am seven days a week)
Gilroy's Dining RoomYou can grab something more informal (and less expensive) in Dickens Bar and Bistro however a special occasion is a good excuse for a special meal. At two courses for £32.50, our meal in Gilroy's was certainly at the top end of our budget. We are glad to report in was 100% worth it and we were really well looked after by the team. The wine list wasn't badly priced for a 4* hotel with many options under £25 which was nice to see. We opted for a Chilean Merlot which set us back £18.
The Birthday Boy
We were served a mini amuse bouche taster followed by an interesting bread board. Unsalted butter served with sea salt flakes on the side and a 'beef dripping' spread were certainly memorable and a real talking point.
Salmon, smoked ricotta, asparagus, caviar, parsley oil
Orkney scallop, pork belly, piccalilli, coriander
Hoggit loin, salted baked leg, wild garlic - puree and gnocchi, mint vinegar
Marley's beef, rump cap, braised cheek, horseradish mayo, Jersey Royal, spinach puree, watercress
As you can see, our dishes were perfectly presented and well executed.
We decided to move into the more comfortable hotel lounge for after dinner drinks and I was impressed that despite only one of us ordering a hot drink, they brought us out homemade petit fours for two people which was a thoughtful touch.
We enjoyed our chocolate treats (the ice cream chocolate lollipops in particular) and finished our drinks before retiring to our cottage for the evening.
BreakfastAfter a very restful nights sleep we enjoyed a mini stroll in the surrounding countryside before heading back to Gilroy's in the main hotel for breakfast. Breakfast is served until 9:30am and I was a little disappointed there wasn't a 'breakfast in bed' option (breakfast in bed in a hotel is a real guilty pleasure of mine). It wasn't too much of a big deal though as breakfast in the dining room was very impressive.
We found our reserved table and a friendly member of staff brought us fresh tea, coffee and toast. We were asked to help ourselves to cereal, juice, yoghurts and homemade jams.
I was very tempted to order warm croissants, cheeses and ham - somebody ordered them on the table next to us and they looked fantastic. However after reading the menu and learning how the sausage, bacon and eggs are all locally sourced (sometimes from a nearby village farm) I knew this was the option for me and it certainly did not disappoint - it really set us up for the day!
We were asked throughout if we would like fresh drinks or extra toast - nothing at all seemed like too much trouble.
Hotel OffersThe Morritt Hotel runs some amazing deals and offers (keep an eye on this page). When we stay again (and that will be happening) I think we will go for the luxury spa break deal which from £139 per person includes:-
- Full use of our indulgent spa facilities from 2pm to 6pm
- Indulgent cream tea for two served on arrival at 2pm (upgrade to full afternoon tea for £10 per person)
- A personal therapist consultation
- A delicious three-course evening meal in our award winning Gilroy's Dining Room
- Bed and "Full Morritt" breakfast in our adjoining country house hotel - The Morritt
This break also includes a 25-minute treatment of your choice. Choose from one of the following:
- Back, neck and shoulder massage
- Cornish sea salt scrub and polish
- Mini manicure
- Mini MOT facial
If you are looking for a romantic getaway with your partner with a fantastically unique spa, gorgeous garden, fine dining restaurant, beautiful rooms and personal, unobtrusive and professional service, a break at The Morritt could be for you.