November 15th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
We’ve been out on the road again all in the name of research to share with you our experiences of the North’s finest hotels, getaway retreats and spas, providing inspiration for pre- and post-wedding relaxation, and sometimes also a setting for the big day itself!
Cue our recent visit to Matfen Hall – a stunning stately home set in 300 acres of lush parkland in the Northumbrian countryside. The award-winning Hall houses fabulous function spaces, accommodation and spa and leisure facilities, making it an option for sophisticated hen dos, romantic getaways, such as a minimoon, plus a dream wedding venue too.
All images by Sean Elliott Photography.
Ahead of a super-exciting wedding refurbishment at Matfen, we were invited to view the current celebration spaces and to see what’s in store to take this already gorgeous venue to the next level. And my word, are couples saying ‘I do’ to Matfen in for a treat! Keen not to give away too much at this stage, we will be following up with a Dream Venue post soon that will detail the stylish refurbish plans in more depth.
Furthermore, on Sunday 4th March 2018, we will be holding a Luxury Wedding Fair at Matfen to reveal the results of the quarter-of-a-million-pound-refurbishment programme first-hand – so be sure to mark the date in your diaries!
But for today’s post, we return to our visit. During our blissful overnight stay, we experienced Matfen’s warm and welcoming hospitality, making use of its leisure facilities, restaurant and accommodation.
We began as any busy business ladies should, with a trip to the spa! Hotel guests can enjoy access to such facilities or there are a number of full and half-day ‘Escape’ packages to choose from, comprising different treatments, food and drink, so ladies (and gents) can pick which best suits their needs and wishes.
There is a 16-metre swimming pool and spa pool, plus thermal suites including an aromatherapy room, steam room, sauna, ice cold bucket shower, monsoon shower and ice fountain. We worked our way round, prioritising the warmer options, to relax and revive weary muscles, before indulging in a little chill time around the pool.
Matfen’s treatment choices cover off facial, body and massage therapies for men and women, as well as ‘Finishing Touch’ treatments such as nails, waxing and tinting.
Feeling in need of a radiance boost part-way through our autumn season of wedding fairs, we both opted for the Skin Specific Facial. Having been led to quiet, candle-lit treatment rooms, our knowledgeable therapists took time to enquire about our skin concerns before tailoring our facials to help combat such issues using heavenly Elemis products. We both emerged with hydrated, glowing complexions and super-soft skin (if only we could indulge one of these treatments every week!).
Leaving the spa feeling super-relaxed, it was time to freshen up (and wake-up!) before dinner. We were staying in one of Matfen’s stunning Principal Rooms in the original part of the Hall, that was spacious, comfortable and boasted gorgeous views of the garden.
Showered and changed, we had drinks in the Conservatory Bar before a delicious evening meal in the hotel’s 2 AA rosette Library Restaurant. A combination of classic and contemporary dining, the menu was imaginative yet comforting with a focus on fine, locally sourced ingredients. Keeping things light to start, we enjoyed seasonal soup, accompanied with soft homemade bread. Craving something a little heartier for main, we both selected from ‘The Grill’ – the locally sourced rib eye steak for Julia and the corn fed chicken supreme for me. Both were beautifully cooked and presented, served with roast plum tomato, field mushroom, crispy shallot rings, watercress and hand cut chips. There was the option to add a sauce too.
While we’re delighted with our choices of main, though it meant that we left no room for dessert but we retired to our room more than satisfied and enjoyed a wonderful and peaceful night’s rest.
Keen to make the most of the hotel’s facilities we squeezed in a gym visit before breakfast the next morning. Modest in size but more than adequately equipped, the fitness suite has state-of-the-art TechnoGym equipment and an Arke station for core-centric training, plus a spacious aerobic studio where guests can book onto classes including spinning, yoga and circuit training. Perfect for those on a pre-wedding fitness regime!
Having worked up an appetite, we enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast of Eggs Florentine back in the Library Restaurant before our departure.
Although our stay was only fleeting, it showed how much Matfen has to offer its guests; whether they be visiting for a day, overnight stay or to celebrate a wedding. We found the food and service to be second to none and, thanks to our added spa time, left feeling thoroughly relaxed and refreshed.
There’s no doubt that Matfen’s refurbishment is going to further enhance its already fabulous offering and is a must-visit – not only for couples on the wedding venue hunt, but also those craving a blissful countryside getaway.
For more information visit www.matfenhall.com
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Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as Features Editor in February 2015. Rachel draws on her news reporting background, experience in features, bridal & lifestyle editing for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...
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