Contributing Travel Editor Robert Elms embraces a marine conversion in the Indian Ocean, while the Smiths test the bed springs and coastal walks in County Durham. Plus how Eurostar is going head-to-head with the airlines in this century’s battle of Waterloo.
Mr & Mrs Smith
This luxurious guide to 40 properties uses the principles GQ has for its own epistles on the perfect three-day getaway: namely, “Is it any good? Does it look any good? And is there anything good to do when we get there?” Specially commissioned photographs capture the feel of a hotel, while in-the-know tips include which room and table to book, and off-site diversions Worth Getting Out Of Bed For. All buyers of the book are enrolled in the Mr & Mrs Smith club, which offers discounts and incentives at the properties featured. Mr & Mrs Smith (Spy Publishing, £19.95) is published in October.
Somewhere for the weekend
Seaham Hall and Serenity Spa, County Durham – the Mr & Mrs Smith verdict
What: A strikingly modern retreat on a windswept clifftop.
Why: “Super-delux facilities and chintz-free interior”.
When: How about New Year’s Day, for a bracing first dip of the year at nearby Whitley Bay?
Which room: 15 has an in-room bath and sea views.
Special attractions: The local coastline offers some of the UK’s best walking and Hadrian’s Wall is a short drive away.
Negatives: No pets, no smoking in the restaurant and it’s not particularly child-friendly.
Clincher: The spa, with its his’n’hers treatments and 20-metre, ozone-cleaned pool.
Seaham Hall and Serenity Spa, Seaham, County Durham. Telephone: 0191 516 1400. Visit: www.seaham-hall.com. In October, rooms start at £175 b&b based on two sharing.
Seaham Hall is wild an remote on the outside, chilled and refined on the outside.