Rockcliffe Hall in Hurworth, County Durham, has received one of the most prestigious industry accolades available.
The resort has become the only one in the North East to be awarded the AA’s coveted five red stars, confirming its 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, proving their dedication to raising industry standards and enhancing both their guest and diner experiences.
To achieve a five star rating staff must be “impeccably dressed” and provide “attentive and unobtrusive service”.
All bedrooms, meanwhile, must have an en suite bathroom with a bath and thermostatically controlled shower, while meals must be 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” being used in every dish.
Rockliffe Hall picked up its latest award on Monday night at the annual AA Hospitality Awards in London.
Managing director, 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 past year, Rockliffe Hall, which has 61 guestrooms, three restaurants and a host of other facilities, has seen occupancy levels rise considerably and has created 30 new jobs.
The business now employs a team of more than 320 staff.
Next month, it will host the English Senior Open golf tournament, which will bring with it major names such as Mark James and Carl Mason.