The Cookie Jar is a classy 11-room boutique hotel less than a minute’s walk from the main entrance to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.
Each of the bedrooms has a name that relates to the heritage of Northumbria – such as St Cuthbert’s Cave, Holy Island and Dunstanburgh – or the building itself, which was once the Convent of Mercy. The guestrooms are cosily and uniquely furnished. They fall into one of four categories, ranging from Cosy to The Chapel (a suite named after the former use of the room). The Mother Superior category features sizable rooms, each of which features a bathtub.
This hotel is popular with shooting parties, so has a drying and gun room featuring secure storage, plus kennels in the back garden. The hotel is dog-friendly. Dogs are permitted into guestrooms but not within The Cookie Jar’s communal areas.
On warm days the sofas and armchairs on the terrace provide a comfortable place to sit while sipping tea, coffee or something stronger served from The Bailiffgate Bistro (which is also open to non-residents), where breakfast is served to guests staying at The Cookie Jar. The garden also has a firepit, meaning it’s a focal point for socialising, and a smoking area, known as the Cigar Shack.
On cooler and wetter days, as well as evenings, the hotel’s lounge is an option for sociable gatherings. The room features leather armchairs, a sofa, wooden reading lamps and a bookshelf.
The hotel’s proprietor is Debbie Cook, whose husband Robert was the Chief Executive of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin. The interiors of The Cookie Jar were designed by Matt Hulme, whose portfolio includes the Hotel du Vin in Newcastle upon Tyne, 34 miles to the south of Alnwick.
The guestrooms are comfortable and it’s easy to simply flop and enjoy their cosy ambience. St Cuthbert’s Cave, one of The Cookie Jar’s Mother Superiors, features a super king size bed plus a sofa in front of a plasma screen smart television which gives visitors the option of logging into their own Netflix account to watch series or movies. Amazon Echo provides options when listening to music.
A selection of magazines is supplied on the wooden cabinet by the sofa.
Bottled mineral water is supplied in the room, along with a jar of homestyle cookies. Guests can request fresh milk to accompany tea or cafetière coffee that can be prepared in the room, which has impressive views over Alnwick Castle.
The spacious bathroom in St Cuthbert’s Cave features a freestanding clawfoot bathtub plus an opulent shower and twin washbasins. Bottles of Penhaligon toiletries are supplied.
The room has a desk with a reading lamp, should work be necessary. The fast Wi-Fi within The Cookie Jar means its easy to share videos, photos and access information about the surrounding region while in the bedroom.
The staff at The Cookie Jar are personable and willing to supply suggestions about things to do in Alnwick and further afield. Alnwick Castle, The Alnwick Garden and Barter Books are three of the chief attractions in the town. Kielder Observatory, the beach at Alnmouth and footpaths leading to Northumberland’s Castles and alongside Hadrian’s Wall count among the principle attractions of the region.
The Cookie Jar is a great base for a romantic getaway or a few days exploring England’s most northerly county.
The Cookie Jar, 12 Bailiffgate, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1LU, England.Tel: +44 (0)1665 510 465
The Cookie Jar is at Alnwick’s Bailiffgate, a matter of metres from the main entrance to Alnwick Castle. Turn out of the hotel’s front door and head left and the castle is about 50 metres away.
Type of Hotel: Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 11 rooms with complimentary Wi-Fi.
Price Band: High
Insider Tip: Have a relaxing evening in the hotel. Buy yourself a good bottle of wine, pack your favourite bath salts or bubble bath and buy yourself a second-hand book from Barter Books, Alnwick’s famous book store (the largest in England). Plan an early night and draw yourself a deep bath, sipping wine and turning the pages of the book while you relax in the bathtub. And if you want to wow your partner book the enormous room named The Chapel. The suite is in a former chapel, features stained glass windows and has a copper bathtub.
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10
Stuart Forster is a freelance writer and photographer specialising in food and travel related features.
Photographs by Stuart Forster