Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth, County Durham has received one of the most prestigious industry accolades.
The resort has become the only one in the North East to be awarded the AA’s coveted five red stars, confirming Rockliffe Hall’s status as one of the best hotels in the UK, alongside well-known places such as Claridge’s in London, Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Gleneagles in Perthshire and the Chester Grosvenor.
The resort already held five black stars but the red stars are considered to be the highest award in the hospitality industry with only several properties each year receiving the accolade.
Rockliffe Hall had to undergo several thorough assessments by undercover AA inspectors and meet a strict range of criteria as the star ratings, from one to five, are used to assess the standard of the quality guests can expect from hotels.
Winners are selected in recognition of excellence and success within their award category, having shown improvement during the preceding 12 to 18 months and proving their dedication to raising industry standards and enhancing both their guest and diner experiences.
The five star rating states that, “Impeccably dressed staff provide attentive and unobtrusive service. All bedrooms will have an en suite bathroom with a bath and thermostatically controlled shower. Meals are cooked and presented to an excellent standard using high quality ingredients.”
As well as the five red stars, Rockliffe Hall’s flagship restaurant, The Orangery, has retained its triple AA Rosette status. According to the AA, the three Rosettes mean that the restaurant is in “the big league” and “expectations of the kitchen are high” with “exact technique, flair and imagination” in every dish.
Rockliffe Hall picked up its accolade last night (Monday September 23rd) at the annual AA Hospitality Awards held at the Hilton Park Lane in London with other winners on the night including TV chef Tom Kerridge (AA Chef’s Chef of the Year), The Dorchester (4AA Rosettes), Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (AA Eco Hotel of the Year) and Macdonald Hotels (AA Hotel Group of the Year).
MD of Rockliffe Hall, Nick Holmes, said: “Being awarded five red stars is considered the ultimate accolade in the hotel sector and shows that a property is the very best of the best. I am hugely proud of the team as this award is all about them and their undying hard work and commitment to Rockliffe Hall.
“To be placed alongside iconic, very well established names such as Le Manoir and Claridge’s is fantastic- especially just four years after we opened. We have come such a long way in a very short space of time- in difficult economic times- and this latest award really does recognise the tremendous effort everyone puts in. I am just very, very proud that Rockliffe Hall can be part of putting the North East and Yorkshire on the tourism map.”
In the last year, Rockliffe Hall has seen occupancy levels rise considerably and has created 30 new jobs for local people. The business now employs a team of over 320.
Recent figures revealed by the 5* resort show that, in 2012, average occupancy levels were 68% with this number increasing to 75% for 2013 and weekends now regularly 100% occupied.
Business tourism has seen a major boost, thanks to publicity surrounding Team GB’s footballers’ stay at the resort prior to the Olympic Games and winning the silver award for business tourism at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence earlier this year. The resort attracts leading international firms- such as Samsung, EE and Sabic- who are now choosing to bring their conferences to the North East.
Next month, Rockliffe Hall will host one of Europe’s best known golf tournaments, the English Senior Open, which will bring with it major names such as Mark James and Carl Mason.