It was D’s 40th birthday last week. I’d already planned a couple of surprises (blacksmith’s lesson. Low-key gathering at a local pub). But then his parents offered us a night’s babysitting, to help us celebrate even more. So I booked us into the Bondgate Boutique hotel, a small room-only accommodation in Alnwick, Northumberland, and we headed north for a rare night away.
Alnwick is a quaint, upmarket town close to the sea and near Northumberland National Park. So it’s perfectly situated for walking holidays, or for exploring the open countryside of the north. The town itself has a castle (which starred as Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films), beautiful gardens, one of the largest second-hand bookshops in the UK, Barter Books, and a fine set of pubs and restuarants, including the Treehouse (which is a treehouse). I’ve also posted here on what to do in Alnwick, as there’s a good deal more to say about this historic town.
The Bondgate Boutique itself was perfect for a short stay, and very reasonably priced. We were given a premium bedroom; all rooms have either a kingsized or super kingsized bed, and our room was on the ground floor, overlooking the bustling street of Bondgate Without, just outside the town walls. Some rooms have private decking, where guests can sit outside and take in the invigorating Northumberland air.
The location of the hotel was perfect. It was less than a five-minute walk to Alnwick Castle and the Gardens, and was just at the tail end of the main shopping street, where the theatre and entertainment centre is situated. Next door is the Plough, where we went for a drink at the end of the evening, and for breakfast. Guests at the Bondgate Boutique hotel are offered a free drink if they eat at the Plough.
Our welcome pack included information about the town, as well as recommendations for places to eat. The refreshments corner was well-stocked (I counted over twenty tea bags), and there was a little fridge out in the hall with fresh milk in, if you preferred that to UHT. Also well-stocked was the dinky ensuite bathroom. I do like it when a hotel pays attention to the quality of its complementary toiletries. And they had a cosy armchair in the bay window for reading our new Barter Books purchases, too.
The owners are close by and also own Tate House, a bed and breakfast accommodation across the road from the Bondgate Boutique. Both places have been awarded four stars. Although it felt rather unusual to have no communal space at the Bondgate Boutique hotel, this meant it did feel very private. Overall I was impressed at the quality of the furnishings and comfort of the place, which far outstripped other budget hotels.
A night’s stay at the Bondgate Boutique hotel, Alnwick, varies between £65 and £85+, depending on the class of room, and time of year. We were offered a night’s stay for the purpose of this review. All views are my own.