Last week I was granted exclusive access to Le Petit Chateau in Otterburn, Northumberland for 24 hours, I took along my lovely friend Laura from Sharpe Recruitment and we could not believe just how lucky we were to be not only one of the first guests to stay there but also to be pretty much the only guests staying at the chateau that evening. We found out that it had only just been decided that the chateau is to be used as a hotel as well as an amazing wedding venue which makes me perhaps the happiest travel writer around about that decision because a more magical enchanting place you could not dream of staying.
I've long been a fan of the shabby chic fabulousness of the apartment groups venues, As You Like It, Newton Hall, just two of my favourite places to spend time at or shoot weddings, when I go there I feel at home for it's a style I love, something I surround myself with at home, I take away ideas for my own home decor whenever I'm there.
Let me tell you though about Le Petit Chateau... french, art deco, Mediterranean, rustic, all words which could describe this very special place, it epitomises France in the summer for me, white walls with blue shutters which open onto grand courtyards, flowers in window boxes and a quaint old french van, with the sun shining it feels more like the Cote d'Azure than rural Northumberland, I certainly never expected to find Palm trees in Otterburn. The attention to detail in the rooms is beyond reproach, wooden coffee trays bursting with local products, including Pumphreys coffee specially blended for the chateau and yes all rooms have their own cafetiere.
The rooms start at a very reasonable £125 per night, that's for a reasonable sized double or twin, if you want a feature bathroom and more room it's worth finding the extra because some of the feature rooms are simply stunning.
Of course, first and foremost this was a hotel which was planned to be a wedding venue and you only need to view the centrepiece, the Belle Epoque, and you realise that if you want to get married in a building which essentially looks like it's come from your favourite Disney movie then this is the place to be. Your guests will feel quite special as they meander through the pretty courtyard, darling gardens or as they sit watching the fire fountain, yes a fire fountain, brought in all the way from Vegas, I've never seen anything like it, it's a big statement sure to impress although I must be honest and say I could smell the faint whiff of the gas it takes to power it, a minor irk though.
Dale, the manager could not have been more wonderful and we really felt cared for by all of the staff who were both on duty at the chateau and also at the adjoined coaching inn, the William De Percy arms, the pub itself reminded me of the Joiners Arms, another fabulous apartment group venue, the food was homely, tasty and cooked to perfection, you must try the mango cheesecake or the baked camembert.
As a photographer, this new venue excites me, so many photo opportunities for portraits around the grounds, the perfect place for wedding portraits, something which I think may have been thought of in the design, as someone who sees in photographs I couldn't get enough shots and I was visualising in my mind just how amazing this place will be to shoot a wedding in.
Whilst we were there many places around the chateau are staged to show how the rooms will look if you are having your wedding there, an exciting glimpse into the best day of your life.
I'll bring you back to an important fact though, it's no longer just a wedding day, it's a romantic bolthole for the hard working parents, it's a hotel with interconnecting rooms perfect to accommodate families looking for a break in the middle of tranquil Northumberland, as we sat in the gardens with the sun beating down on us Laura and I both said we'd not only come again but we thought right now we just might never leave.
Le Petit Chateau will soon offer a dog friendly room, it wasn't quite ready for our stay but I hope they might just invite me back again with Holly Bobbins so I can soak up more of the mediterranean atmosphere deep in the borders of Northumberland.
If you are planning your wedding at Le Petit Chateau I'd love you to get in touch if you are looking for a wedding photographer, although I only exclusively shoot a maximum of 10 weddings each year I would jump at the chance to shoot some at Le Petit Chateau.