I have visited some beautiful hotels in my time, but none (thus far!) have had the impact an overnight stay had on me during the Bank Holiday weekend. Located in the small village of Otterburn in Northumberland, the former Percy Arms has been completely transformed into the ultimate wedding venue and boutique hotel by the same folks who run The Joiners Arms and Newton Hall.
Now operating as Le Petit Chateau and the William de Percy Inn, on a whim I took advantage of a late booking offer for B&B so we could have a look around and see if reality lived up to the photos we’d already seen online of the venue.
I can honestly say the photos don’t do Le Petit Chateau justice at all. It is truly breathtaking! We were awed with the decor, attention to detail, beautiful gardens and the centre piece – the fire fountain.
Le Petit Chateau actually gave me goosebumps. Hotel guests we were free to wander round this area, although I’d imagine if there was a wedding this wouldn’t be the case. We sat and enjoyed drinks in the sunshine and basked in the wonderful atmosphere. There were a few other couples there at the same time and we were all in agreement – Le Petit Chateau is stunning!
It is a little confusing as there are two separate websites and names but seemingly operate together under the same roof. I think the rooms of Le Petit Chateau are grander than those in William de Percy, with roll top baths and four poster beds. Our room was more modest by contrast, but still had some wow-factor.
With Dinky joining us, we requested a slightly larger room. There was a travel cot provided for us, which was really helpful. It would have been an infinitely more romantic experience for us without our little gooseberry, who happily watched Peppa Pig on Netflix (available in the rooms) while we cooed at the view out of our window.
I wish we could have been more enthusiastic about the food, which I feel was the only disappointment. As a food blogger I had to cast my critical eye over what was being served up at the Inn. Because of the grand surroundings, I was expecting a lot more. The menu on the evening was quite limited for non-meat eaters like us, with no vegan option for Mr. Canny. The chef pulled together a dish at short notice though, which was very kind, of Moroccan Tagine and Polenta Chips. He really enjoyed it, which was a relief.My main of Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese needed more of a grilling and less of the gloopy sauce to make it more palatable and attractive. I asked for bread to mop the leftover sauce up with and was given a slice of white bread. Not a chunk of freshly cut artisan bread in sight! Having notified them during booking about our dietary requirements I hoped breakfast (which is part of the room rate) was going to be slightly better. The fresh fruit on offer needed more to be classed as a ‘platter’ in our opinion, and I was saddened that Kelloggs Variety packs were out instead of a more varied selection of cereals.Admittedly, most folk want an English Breakfast when staying away and will order this instead of going for the croissants. The vegetarian sausages on offer weren’t suitable for vegans (although I suspect they were Linda McCartney and were ok with a simple check of the ingredients, but never mind), so Mr. Canny was given all the non-animal products he could eat instead.
I requested a vegetarian sausage sandwich, which was presented uncut and on unbuttered bread. I become envious of those tucking into Eggs Benedict and other more appealing options until I witnessed a poached egg being cut open at the table beside us. It was hard boiled inside with a grey ring around the yolk. The guys at the table said they had felt let-down with the food on offer too, having had steak and lamb the night before that were cooked incorrectly.
There was no additional toast served up with the Mr’s breakfast, and it was very difficult to get service from any of the staff. We weren’t offered extra tea and coffee during breakfast, and no-one even thought to ask if our food was OK. The rooms here start at £125 per night with breakfast included, but we stayed for just £99 with a discounted rate. Our evening meal (with drinks) added an extra £33 to the tally. It was definitely worth it for the room alone, and I wish I could have been as exuberant about the food as I was about the accommodation. They were clearly struggling with staffing issues at the time of our visit, with resources pulled from sister establishments such as As You Like It to deal with rush on rooms. I hope they can resolve this asap to ensure all elements live up to expectations.The chocolate box setting is just magical, and I would like to return again to stay in one of the grander rooms available. With complimentary L’Occitane products in the bathroom and a well-stocked tea tray, they have thought about the little touches. Le Petit Chateau is incredible, and I’d suggest anyone looking for a wedding venue books a tour to fully appreciate its splendour.
Thanks for reading,