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Rockliffe Hall and Lime Wood open today

23 November 2009 by
Rockliffe Hall and Lime Wood open today

Lime Wood, near Lyndhurst, Hampshire, and Rockliffe Hall, near Darlington, County Durham, both hope their luxury interiors, glamorous spas and high profile Michelin-starred chefs will attract business from home and abroad.

In the south, Robin Hutson, chairman of the Lime Wood Group, parent company of Lime Wood, heads a dream team of top calibre staff including executive chef Alex Aitken, hotel director Justin Pinchbeck and marketing director David Elton.

Owned by multi-millionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who made his fortune through what is now the world's third largest chemical company, Ineos, the 29-bedroom Lime Wood has been developed at a cost of £30m. The renovated Regency property boasts interiors by David Collins, two restaurants and a 16,000 square feet spa which opens in summer 2010.

Hutson says he aims to provide a luxury haven for guests, but without the stuffy, formal service traditionally associated with country house hotels. "We want to plug the gap between the very formal approach offered by the likes of Le Manoir and Cliveden and the more informal Babington House."

Meanwhile, in the north-east, Rockliffe Hall is a privately-owned, £50m hotel, golf and spa development situated in the village of Hurworth.

The 18th-century country hall, which has been refurbished after standing empty for several years, includes a 50,000 sq ft spa, incorporating one of the largest hydrotherapy pools in the UK.

Dining options include the 70-seat fine dining restaurant, Kenny Atkinson @ The Orangery, which is located in the old hall. Hotel Catey Chef of the Year (fewer than 250 covers) Kenny Atkinson will be joining Rockliffe Hall in mid-December from the nearby Michelin-starred Seaham Hall hotel.

Executive chef of the hotel, Martin Moore, is responsible for 46-seat Clubhouse restaurant, which is serving hearty British classic dishes, and the Waterhouse Bistro located in the spa.

"This has been many years in the planning and we are now finally in position to throw open our doors to guests," said Rockliffe Hall's managing director, Nick Holmes.

"I'm particularly excited by the quality of the staff we have been able to attract here. Millions have been spent on creating a simply jaw-dropping looking facility, but that will count for nothing if our guests don't experience the exacting service levels which should be expected of such a location. Now we are ready."

Kenny Atkinson moves to Rockliffe Hall >>

Martin Moore appointed to Rockliffe Hall >>
Robin Hutson and Alex Hutson to open hotel >>
Lime Wood in the limelight >>

By Janet Harmer

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