Weather steely North Sea elements in this vaunted Byronic spa stay.
On the sands of Seaham’s epic bay, beachcombers search each morning for coloured sea glass discarded from an old factory, while above all this activity sits another gem of the North East, the recently renovated Georgian mansion of Seaham Hall.
Reveling in its storied history (visited by Lord Byron, birthplace of his mathematical genius daughter, Ada Lovelace, a military hospital then a sanatorium, abandoned by aristocratic owners in the Twenties, then passed from one custodian to another until 2012) the hotel and spa is now offering magnificent suites and a fine, intimate restaurant.
In order to protect guests from the wrath of the North Sea, you get there via an underground passageway, flanked by babbling brooks and a giant ornamental elephant, an experience which is a part Asian New Age, part Bond villain’s lair, but all serious fun. After the pool and a range of relaxing treatments, GQ was ready just in time for dinner.
Byron’s Restaurant is much more than merely an adjunct to the hotel and tasting menu has the best of their best, starting with Whitby Bay crab, lamb with anchovies, monkfish with a chicken wing (it works) and beef with salsify and bone marrow sauce.
The service was disarmingly warm and attentive, as a Londoner would see it, or “normal” as the locals would. By the time GQ had finished we looked like a fat Buddha as well as feeling like one. Happily, the hotel grounds are suitably pleasing and, weather permitting, reward a postprandial stroll, which is the perfect way to reflect on a near-perfect stay.