It’s the ideal place for a staycation in Durham and is the only venue in the city with a spa. Georga Spottiswood checks into Radisson Blu and also tries out the new summer menu.
Would you rather have a million pounds in the bank or be able to eat whatever you want for the rest of your life without putting on weight? That was the topic of conversation during a staycation at The Radisson Blu Durham with a friend.
Her answer was instant: the food. I had to mull over mine while smothering jam and cream over a hot fruit scone.
I’ll tell you the answer soon, but for now, let’s talk food. The afternoon tea menu at The Radisson is created by chef John Garside, who switches up the dishes when the seasons change.
While we’re currently experiencing quite a wet July, John’s creations, such as the pink lemonade mousse with pink lemonade syrup topped off with raspberries will brighten up anyone’s day.
There’s also a delicious passion fruit torte, carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting, and the cold cucumber and herb soup with tarragon, dill, Greek yoghurt and citrus – served in a miner’s cup giving a nod to Durham’s mining heritage – is a fresh and delightful little ray of sunshine.
Whether you’re visiting Durham for a staycation weekend, or live in the North East but you’re in need of some downtime, The Radisson Blu ticks all the boxes.
As well as the afternoon tea, there’s a cracking menu served in Collage restaurant and the hotel is the only one in the city centre with a spa and fitness club.
Nuspa The Radisson Blu Durham
Facilities include a pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna as well as treatment rooms where you can enjoy everything from a hot stone massage to a facial.
Now, I’m a massive advocate of ‘me’ time. We all need it. Time out from the kids, time out from work, time out from life. And what better way to enjoy some than to while away a few hours chilling in a spa? It’s the ultimate detox.
Nuspa Durham has some great packages, too – and ones that won’t cost the earth, because these days, a spa visit can get pretty pricey.
In desperate need to close the computer, get a break from ‘being mum’ and trying to juggle work, life and everything in between, my friend and I checked out of life and into the Radisson’s Nuspa for the ‘Pamper Me’ package. For £64.50 (£74 on a Friday or Saturday) it includes three hour’s access to all the facilities as well as a 50 min treatment or two 25-minute treatments – the perfect pic ‘n’ mix for those looking for a mini facial, revitalising eye treatment, back, neck and shoulder massage or invigorating foot massage.
“Will you be using the gym facilities, too?” the friendly young chap handing us our robes and towels asked. Having just tucked into afternoon tea, it was a no from us – but hey, that’s the beauty of a staycation at the Radisson Blu, you can do it your way. Whether that be relaxing, hitting the gym, using the hotel as a base to explore what Durham City has to offer, or tucking into top food.
My way included enjoying full use of the spa, a glass of chilled Prosecco in the jacuzzi and a 50-minute hot stone massage. For me, there’s no messing about when it comes to a massage, the therapist should get stuck into all those knots. I’m sure I heard my therapist let out a villainous cackle when I asked said, ‘You’re welcome to apply more pressure’ because the way she worked those hot stones made me walk out of that room as if I’d been completely ironed out. Massages, like food, are subjective – this one for me was absolute bliss.
Collage Restaurant at Radisson Blu Durham
Collage is the hotel’s restaurant which is headed up by head chef Chris Atherton and new bar and restaurant manager, Andy Marr.
The team here have just launched a new menu and on it, you’ll find British classics as well as dishes from the land and sea.
The Wagyu burger with cheddar cheese is a knock-out dish served with red onion jam, crispy onions, truffle mayo and chips.
On chef’s recommendation, we also ordered the pan-roasted chicken which came with creamy gratin dauphinoise, pea puree, asparagus and red wine jus. Plus, a side of tender-stem broccoli with chimichurri and toasted almonds. Both were delicious.
Having already had afternoon tea, we passed on dessert, but I’ve had the chocolate and salted caramel delice on another occasion – and served with coconut sorbet, it hits the spot.
On the new menu, you’ll also find small plates such as the burrata with heirloom tomatoes; a charcuterie platter; and smoked salmon with pickled fennel which are all ideal for sharing.
My answer to the would you rather question? There’s always an opportunity to earn top dollar, and there’s always winning the lottery (fingers crossed), so ‘gimme the food’.
Things to do in Durham
While the Radisson Blu has plenty to offer its guests, for those that want to venture out and do some sight-seeing, Durham City is filled with charm, character and a historic Castle and Cathedral, where you can wander in the footsteps of Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Cloisters – the distinctive covered walkway which was originally built for the Benedictine monks who lived and worshipped in the monastic priory.
Currently on display at the Cathedral is Luke Jerram’s Gaia, a giant Earth installation which features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface – and is a stunning spectacle.
Visitors can also enjoy walks around Durham’s riverbanks, a boat tour along the river as well as some great independent shops in the city.
Rooms at Radisson Blu Durham are filled with all the modern amenities you’d expect from a city centre hotel. Plus, some come with cracking views across the city. Prices vary depending on dates. For more information, visit radissonbludurham