Everybody loves a Geordie (unless like me, you are a Sunderland fan on derby day when neighbourly relations are temporary halted for 90 tense minutes). The North East of England has a reputation for friendliness and affable characters (think Ant & Dec and our Cheryl). Add to that the fact that the epicentre of all this good spirit, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is well-known as a good place for a night out and it's fair to say we had high hopes of our stay.
We checked in to one of the best hotels in town - the very classy Jesmond Dene House. So - did it deliver on all these promises and, crucially for us sleep-conscious lot here at Kiss the Moon, is it geared up to help you get a great night's rest? Here's what we think...
COMFORT LEVEL – 8/10: Nestled in the greenest part of Newcastle, just a couple of miles from the city centre and described on their website as 'almost in the country yet still in the city'. The calming proportions of this Grade ll-listed Arts and Crafts building and its gorgeous gardens really do deliver on their promise of 'space, peace and room to breathe'. The decor makes the most of the handsome building and the bedrooms feature all that you would hope for. On this occasion we went for one of the smaller rooms so missed out on the generous-sized bed and extra-deep baths. We did, however, have a huge private patio and all the other home comforts that turn an overnight stay into a treat. So not much to grumble about.
NOISE LEVEL – 9/10: Despite there being a wedding party dancing the night away in the adjoining building we didn't hear a thing. That's one of the benefits of being away from any traffic and in a well-constructed building with deep, deep carpets we guess.
LIGHT LEVEL – 9/10: Well thought through whether you need tasking lighting or want to read in bed without disturbing your snoozing other half. Despite our room being surrounded by windows, the thick, lined floor-to-ceiling curtains kept the daylight out even when the sun came up. Nothing bleeped or flashed at us as we tried to sleep (as it can in some hotels) so happy days on the lighting front.
TEMPERATURE LEVEL – 9/10: 'Ne'er cast a clout 'til May is out' they say in this neck of the woods (to translate - 'It's damned cold up here in the North East so you'd best expect to wrap up warm most of the year'). Despite it being early April and the wall to wall windows, we were nice and toasty all night long. We also had the benefit of being able to throw open the windows and patio door to let some fresh air in if we wanted to. Nice to not be in aircon hell or reliant on windows that only open 2 inches in case you feel the need to throw yourself out of them. Clearly not something Jesmond Dene House has to worry about too much.
CARE LEVEL – 10/ 10: OK, so we are a little biased, but trust us when we say the rumours are true. Everyone we met was not just genuinely friendly, they were smart and funny. What made this hotel stand out from the crowd for us was the team - a lovely cocktail of cheeky banter and professionalism. The place not only attracts great staff, it keeps them. They must be doing something seriously right behind the scenes as well as all we've mentioned front of house.
TOTAL SCORE 9/10: Good food, good service, good attention to detail and an exceptional team. We'll be returning very soon.
Jesmond Dene House, Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear, UK, NE2 3EY Tel: 0191 212 6050 Email: www.jesmonddenehouse.co.uk