Tuesday 8 May 2018

Hotel Indigo and Marco Pierre White - An Overnight Stay in Durham City Centre

Despite having only opened 6 weeks ago residents of Durham already have a great deal of affection for the new Hotel Indigo that has opened in the city centre. Following a £15m transformation, the hotel has opened at Old Shire Hall, the most stunning red brick building that locals know and love as the old home to the Council and university offices.

Having kept the beautiful original features of the 1890s building, planning an overnight stay at Hotel Indigo is very different to any other hotel you'll find in Durham City Centre.

Hotel Indigo and Marco Pierre White - An Overnight Stay in Durham City Centre

Ideally situated on Elvet Bridge, Hotel Indigo Durham is the perfect base to explore the city with the beautiful River Wear a short walk away, an abundance of shops, bars and tea rooms a quick stroll down the road and the wonderful history of Durham Cathedral visible from some of the hotel's bedrooms.

We checked in for an overnight stay on a very busy Saturday afternoon where the reception area was already crammed full of people ready to begin their weekend break. When we got to the desk we were happy to discover that it was the first weekend the hotel was fully booked, it was lovely to see so many visitors to Durham arriving at the hotel.

Hotel Indigo Durham City Centre

Bedrooms at Hotel Indigo Durham

There are 83 bedrooms in the Hotel Indigo Durham, each taking design inspiration from Durham Cathedral or University with affordable standard rooms or, if you fancy treating yourself to something a little fancier, rooms offering a Cathedral view, larger superior rooms or suites for more special occasions.

Hotel Indigo Durham

Our home for the night was a superior room inspired by the Durham Boat Regatta it was a treasure trove of amazing local history and we loved the attention to detail with some beautiful photos and prints displayed round the room and, the main design feature, some wooden oars hung above the bed.

Hotel Indigo Durham - Bedrooms

Jumping up on to the king sized bed, I felt a bit like royalty when I realised it was so high my feet were swinging in the air (cue many jokes every time my slightly shorter than average husband tried to get on or off the bed - hilarious!). Covered in huge squishy pillows and cushions printed with the University of Durham motto, we had our own separate reading lights and so much space I could fully stretch my arm out without touching Simon!

Hotel Indigo Durham City

The complimentary snack tray was the first thing my husband headed towards when we got into our room. Loaded with local treats including fresh gourmet Durham cinder toffee and Ringtons biscuits making ourselves a coffee using the fancy N'espresso machine in our room in the Durham mugs and climbing into our complementary robes was the first thing on our agenda for the afternoon.

Durham Hotel Indigo

Our spa inspired ensuite bathroom was my favourite part of the room, it was seriously beautiful with its exposed brickwork and marble counter. The complementary Old Elvet Durham toiletries were heavenly, exclusively created for the hotel, the mint, rosemary and lavender scented products were inspired by The Monks of Durham Cathedral who used to grow mint and rosemary on the banks of the River Wear.

The large waterfall shower was hot and powerful and, the very best part, so easy to use.  Does anyone else ever climb into the shower in a hotel and then find themselves completely puzzled by how to switch it on, or am I just a little daft? The shower at Hotel Indigo consisted of two large buttons, one to operate each of the two shower heads and a simple dial to change the temperature. Perfect!

Durham Hotel Indigo - Spa Bathroom

Exploring Hotel Indigo Durham

Hotel Indigo open their hotels in vibrant neighbourhoods, using local influences to inspire their designs to ensure that each hotel is completely different, so it's easy to see why they've opened their latest UK based hotel in the stunning city of Durham.

The Grade 2 listed building has kept many of its original features and the hotel is adorned with the most beautiful coloured tiles, stained glass windows, gold banisters and stunning dark wooden carvings and furniture.

New Hotel Indigo Durham

I spent most of our visit barely paying attention to where I was walking as I was so mesmerised by the features of the hotel. Victorian luxury balances perfectly with fun modern twists and it's quite the place to lose yourself in (which I did several times thanks to the never ending corridors!)

The hotel has four floors, each named after a different area of Durham, The Mansard, the Bishops, The Elvets and The Vennels. The top two floors are solely bedrooms but the bottom two also have a restaurant, cocktail bar, coffee house and fitness suite.

Hotel Indigo Durham Tiles

Coffee Break at Tinderbox

Exploring is hard work so we decided to enjoy a bit of a rest at Hotel Indigo's coffee shop which you'll find in the Reception area of the hotel.

Tinderbox is a beautiful place to relax with a cup of coffee and we noticed plenty of non residents coming in for a cuppa and a natter, it's certainly a popular new spot and the pavement cafe style seating outside the coffee shop will be great in the Summer.

Hotel Indigo Durham - Tinderbox

After spending a while eyeing up the very tasty looking cakes on the counter we managed to resist (that's a first!) and ordered a cup of coffee each which set us back £5.50. Taking advantage of the super speedy wifi we both plugged in although I found it pretty hard to concentrate as it was very cold. Unfortunately the coffee shop has two large doors leading to outside so on colder days it gets a little nippy.

If, like me,  you do feel the cold the "Snug" behind the cake counter has a few seats away from the doors that looks super cosy, unfortunately we discovered it a little too late.

Hotel Indigo Durham - Coffee Shop
Dinner at Marco Pierre White

Get ready for the most amazing food!

Guests at Hotel Indigo Durham are in for a real treat as the hotel's restaurant is a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill housed in the most beautiful room of the hotel. The restaurant is set out below the dome of the old Council room and it is so stunning it needs to be seen to be believed.

Hotel Indigo Durham - Marco Pierre White

For my Starter I decided to go for the Cream of Pumpkin Soup (£6.50). Once I'd got over the initial disappointment of it not coming with a chunk of bread (as a huge bread and butter fiend it's one of the reasons why I quite like ordering soup) I was treated to the most delicious bowl of thick, hot, creamy soup. It was so delicious that towards the end I picked up my bowl to give it a little tip to ensure I got to every last bit of it! I really shouldn't be allowed to eat out in public!

Marco Pierre White Durham

I've enjoyed many Steaks at Marco Pierre White in Newcastle so this time I decided to go for a burger instead, choosing myself The French Burger (£14.95) - BBQ glazed burger stuffed full with melted cheese, crispy onion rings and Dijon mustard served with pomme frites. It was perfect, if a little messy! Trying to eat a burger nicely in a restaurant is impossible so I rolled my sleeves up and dove straight in.

Marco Pierre White Durham - Burgers

Our waiter had promised me the finest onion rings I have ever had and he wasn't wrong, the batter was so crispy and the tower of them inside my burger felt like the ultimate weekend treat.

Marco Pierre White Durham - Burger

For my dessert I opted for the Fresh Bluberry Cheese (£5.95) and although it was scrummy (indulgently thick cream cheese, sweet blueberry and a lovely crumbly base) it was my only disappointment of the evening as it came served in a glass. I don't know if it's just me but I'm really not a huge fan of desserts in pots and glasses and I'd been looking forward to a traditionally served cheesecake and was a bit surprised when I had to eat it out of a pot with a spoon.

Marco Pierre White Durham - Dessert

If we weren't so tired and boring we definitely would have left our table and headed straight for the hotel's Rotunda Cocktail Bar and Lounge and enjoyed a few drinks. The bar is gorgeous and was very busy when we walked through with excited people enjoying the beautiful new space but those burgers had left us very sleepy and we needed to retire to our bed.

Hotel Indigo  Durham - Rotunda Cocktail Bar

The Breakfast Table at Hotel Indigo Durham

Breakfast at Hotel Indigo Durham is served between 6:30 am and 10:00 am on week days and 07:00 and 10:30 am at weekends in the restaurant giving guests another opportunity to enjoy that beautiful room. The only thing distracting me from gawping at the stunning architecture again was the most epic looking breakfast table loaded with just about every breakfast treat you could think of. I've seen a lot of very lovely breakfast spreads in my time but this was on another level!

Hotel Indigo Durham - Breakfast Table
Fresh bread (which you could cut yourself to indulge in extra chunky slices!), endless jars of different flavored jams, cheeses and meats, huge bowls of yoghurts, tins of muffins, piles of pastries and endless options of juices, smoothies and cereals. My eyes were out on stalks, my tummy was rumbling and in all honesty I just wanted to pick up one of everything.

Realising I had to have some kind of self control I settled on a bowl of cereal and a lemon muffin whilst perusing the hot dish menu which was so good it took me a while to come to any kind of a decision. I was so tempted by the Durham Pancakes, Porridge served with Toasted Almonds and Honey or Traditional Cured Kipper but in the end opted for the Smoked Salmon.

Hotel Indigo Durham - Breakfast

My Smoked Salmon was served on local wholemeal loaf with smashed avocado, halloumi and wilted spinach. It was delicious and made me realise I should make more effort to make my breakfasts at home more appetising!

Simon opted for Scrambled Eggs on a Toasted Bagel. The portion of scrambled egg was so generous and looked deliciously creamy.

Hotel Indigo Durham - Breakfasts

Late Check Out 

One of the very best things about Hotel Indigo in Durham is how late the checkout was. There was no scrabbling around to pack our cases and get out in the morning with every guest having a wonderful 12:00 pm checkout time. We were on go slow after breakfast, making the most of our beautiful surroundings before sleepily ambling our way down to Reception to check out. We weren't exactly in any hurry to leave!

Hotel Indigo

We loved our stay at Hotel Indigo in Durham and Simon's already mentioned that next time we're in the city for the evening we should treat ourselves to a night's stay rather than catching the train back to Newcastle. I have to say this is definitely the best plan he's ever come up with, I can't wait to go back!

We enjoyed a complimentary stay with dinner and breakfast at Hotel Indigo Durham in exchange for this honest review. Coffees at Tinderbox were paid for by us.


  1. Hotel Indigo looks so stunning! It looks huge from the outside so I'm surprised it has less than 100 bedrooms. Late check out is the best! Hate it when it's 10am!

    1. I know, I think most of it is taken up by beautiful long corridors! We loved our 12:00 pm checkout, it was so nice to have a lazy start to the day rather than rushing about!

  2. Ha - know what you mean about the showers! I always make the husband figure it out the night before!

  3. Wow Chloe, your photos looks absolutely stunning! The food looks amazing too! Katie x

    1. Thank you, worth racing round the corridors for then!

  4. Love this detailed review. My hubby and I visit Durham at least once a year for a weekend. This hotel will definitely go on our wish list. I prefer modern hotels - Raddison Blu, the hubby likes more older traditional properties - Marriott and this looks like it ticks both our boxes so a win win for us both

    1. Oh yes, this really is the perfect combination of the two, I think you should both love it!

  5. The hotel looks so beautiful!! And the food!! Wow, I need to stay there for the breakfast, alone! x

    1. It's definitely worth checking in just for the insane breakfast!


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