Jesmond Dene House, Jesmond Dene Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (0191 212 3000; www.jesmonddenehouse.co.uk) is on the edge of Jesmond Dene, a lovely wooded valley that seems like open country but is nevertheless in the heart of the city: the centre is a couple of miles to the south-west. Five minutes away is Jesmond with its shops and lively cafes. Every Sunday on Armstrong Bridge, which spans the Dene, there is a popular market, which sells antiques, crafts and bric a brac. If a brisk walk through the Dene doesn't provide you with enough exercise, there's a Real Tennis Club round the corner and the David Lloyd Leisure Centre is close by.
Time from transport hubs: A taxi will cover the six mile journey to Newcastle Airport in 20 minutes, and the trip to Central Station will take about 10 minutes. Ilford Road Metro station is a short walk away, and there are direct trains from here to the city centre, the airport and the coast.
The rooms come in different shapes and sizes. Lots of period touches have been retained, including an amazing panelled ceiling in one of the bathrooms, but each room is decorated in one of three colour schemes, which adds a contemporary feel to the old building. Most of the rooms are in the main house, and the nicest have views over the Dene. There are also eight rooms which have been added to the office accommodation in the new annexe at one side of the main hotel. All the rooms have comfy chairs, and entertainment is provided in the form of a DVD player and plasma screen TV. Underfloor hearing adds a touch of luxury to the bathrooms.
Freebies: There is a good range of Aromatics toiletries.
Keeping in touch: All the rooms have phones with voicemail and wireless internet access.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Double rooms start at £145, singles at £115, with an extra £15 for a full English breakfast.
I'm not paying that: There are plenty of hotels on nearby Osborne Road, including the Caledonian at number 66 (0191 281 7881; www.caledonian-hotel-newcastle.com), which has doubles from £100, singles from £80, including breakfast.
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