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Review: Maften Hall, Northumberland

Megan Amato escapes to the Northumberland countryside for a stay at Maften Hall.

Like much of the north of England, I had romantic notions about the rolling hills and historic treasures to be discovered in the Northumberland countryside – notions that were not at all distilled after my visit to Maften Hall.

Located only a half-hour drive from Newcastle, this sprawling 19th century estate and championship golf course is nestled next to the charming village of Maften with an idyllic burn running through it.

Built in 1836 by Sir Edward Blackett, 3rd Baronet, the manor remained in the Blackett family with multi-purpose usage until purchased by Walwick Estate Group in 2020. The group have invested millions into its refurbishment and more renovations are planned to renew their spa space and open up their pool to the hotel’s spectacular views. 

As soon as you step foot into the hotel you are encased by the luxury old-world atmosphere with its stone walls, elaborate runners and gold-plated framed oil portraits on the walls. 

The staff welcomed us with a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée and took our bags directly to our room so that we could relax and enjoy the ambience in the Great Hall with its vaulted ceilings, grand staircase, gorgeous mantlepiece and showstopping stained glass window. 

There are old, beautiful hotels spotted throughout the country, but they can often be stale and stuffy. Maften Hall has made it feel like you’re stepping into the past without less-than-ideal sensory ties. With its phenomenal setting, wonderful customer service and first class amenities, it’s no surprise that Maften Hall recently received an AA Five-Star rating, making it the first and only five-star hotel in Northumberland.

Maften Hall is almost a village in itself with so much to do and see within its stunning walls. However, if you were keen to discover the culinary delights in the area, there are two Michelin starred restaurants within a 30-minute drive of the hotel and three other restaurants in the Michelin guide. There is an abundance of local history to explore with fortifications and sections of Hadrian’s Wall at various points around Northumberland.


The Rooms

Maften Hall boasts 63 rooms throughout the sprawling manor: Classic rooms that in no way skimp on comfort, Balcony rooms that look out onto the church and village, Deluxe rooms, Luxury rooms and their plush Luxury suites bursting with both character and comfort.

I stayed in one of their larger and newer Deluxe rooms (which could connect to the room next door for a family suite) and my eyes were immediately drawn to the large, Emperor-sized bed. I am not someone who naps easily but as soon as I crawled into the bed, I was enshrouded by soft sheets and pillows and had one of the best pre-dinner naps I have ever had.

After my nap, I took a proper ‘tour’ of my room which was decorated in soft blues and greys with plenty of seating from comfortable arm chairs in front of the TV, a lounge chair perfect for reading and a small table for casual dining. There was a small hallway with a vanity and mirror that led to a large marble bathroom with a glass standing shower and a gorgeous roll-top tub. The bathroom has smart lights and underfloor heating so you can enjoy a bath or shower in pure comfort. A small thing I enjoyed were the cushy bath robes and slippers hanging by the shower, ready for me to step into.

The room also had plenty of storage in the large wardrobe where I could also find top notch but classic hotel appliances like a hairdryer and iron, along with a fridge filled with goodies and a safe.


Spa & Facilities

I had a lot of favourite spots in Maften Hall but The Retreat ranks high – number two – after the bed. A spa should be a haven, a place that feels safe and offers comfort and tranquillity while you relax and unwind and The Retreat does all of that.

As soon as you walk through the Retreat’s doors, a sense of calm – almost like walking into a church – befalls you with its gentle, clean scents, low lighting and neutral colours. I was greeted by soft-spoken Spa Therapists at the entrance and led to the aromatherapy room – a very quiet and dimly lit room with lounge chairs to help you relax before your treatments. I wasn’t here long but the peacefulness of the room was an ideal first step to relaxation.

Afterwards, the Spa Therapist led me to a treatment room where we discussed what I was looking for – a full body massage. It was glorious, every muscle that needed loosening was gently but firmly targeted — even ones I hadn’t known needed it. She was really good at reading the room to understand when small talk was appropriate and when absolute silence was necessary.

As my swim costume had been mysteriously packed away with the rest of my summer clothing, I didn’t get a chance to experience the pool and sauna first hand but I took a tour and the facilities — including the gym — were lovely, well-equipped and well-maintained.

Eating & Dining 

Maften Hall has two restaurants on site: Cloisters Restaurant and Bar and Emerald Restaurant.

Cloisters is located in the newer part of the building with beautiful open space and natural lighting from the glass ceiling. It feels like you’re eating outside on a patio somewhere in Europe – without the worry of  unpredictable weather and pests like birds and insects. Cloisters serves food from breakfast (a la carte) to dinner in a casual but atmospheric environment.

Emerald Restaurant is more luxurious, for fine dining in a more romantic setting. The room used to be a library and the evidence is still there with old law books — which I’ve been told had been thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed – lining the walls. We had the 7-course tasting menu paired with wine and each dish was phenomenal, offering fresh and creative flavours that married well. Some combinations were quite unusual and surprised us, such as the Jersey oyster with blood orange and fennel that was whipped with ice  – a beautiful, unexpected yet refreshing creation.

The hotel also offers afternoon tea in its Victorian inspired powder-blue Drawing Room gorgeously lit by natural light. We had a choice of ten teas and tisanes, and I kept it classic with a robust Assam. One of my pet peeves with afternoon tea is when the establishment relies on the atmosphere and neglects the fare. That was not the case at Maften Hall who offered classic savouries and sweets with innovative twists. The chef came out to introduce his creations and explained that he often used local ingredients. However, there were some ingredients from far off places like yuzu, native to Japan, which added a fresh, sweet and zesty citrus note.

Wine & Drinking

The hotel’s bar, 1832, serves its very own gin with the same name along with domestic and international beer, wine and spirits. It’s open late, so guests can enjoy a drink at their leisure, read with stunning views of the golf course or have a lively chat with their friends and family.

A highlight of the trip was the champagne tasting hosted in the cosy and atmospheric wine cellar. We were given four different champagnes to taste as the sommelier guided us through the art of detecting distinct notes. I highly recommend this experience as we had fun and learned a thing or two in the process.

Throughout our whole trip, there was definitely a star of the show: the champagne and wine from our arrival glass to the afternoon tea fizz to the seven wines paired with each course at dinner. This is all thanks in part to the amazing Sommelier and Bar Manager Oliver, whose passion and wine knowledge was clear through each of his interactions with us.


My golfing experience is limited to mini putting often that glow but even I was in awe of the natural beauty of the championship course’s greens. Golfers have access to the hotels bar but a clubhouse is in the process of being built.


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