Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Copthorne Newcastle

1 Aug 2007 by business traveller

WHAT'S IT LIKE? The four-star Copthorne brand forms part of the Millennium and Copthorne Hotels group (the former being a collection of four-star deluxe and five-star properties). The Newcastle hotel is one of a dozen Copthornes in the UK, with other properties in New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany.

WHERE IS IT? The hotel is centrally located on the northern banks of the River Tyne (on the popular Hadrian's Wall walking path), in between the Queen Elizabeth and High Level bridges. The property also forms part of the redeveloped Quayside area, with several bars and restaurants lining the river. Newcastle's main train station is around ten minutes' walk away, and the international airport is 20 minutes from the city centre.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 156, including 90 Standard, 27 Superior, 28 Connoisseur, 10 suites and one disabled access room.

ROOM FACILITIES I was staying in a Connoisseur room on the fifth floor, which also provides access to the Connoisseur lounge (accessible via your keycard), offering complimentary continental breakfast, newspapers, tea and coffee facilities throughout the day, and a computer terminal with free internet access. All rooms are equipped with a workdesk, with wired internet access charged at £20 for 24 hours (dial-up in Standard rooms), TV with terrestrial and some satellite channels, including Sky Sports and pay TV movies, tea and coffee facilities, iron and ironing board, trouser press, air-conditioning, a table and chairs, and bathroom with combined bath and shower. The rooms are perfectly comfortable (if a little tired) and all have superb river views, with the Superior rooms benefitting from small balconies.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS Again, all of the hotel's ground floor dining choices have river views, from the Se7en café to Harry's Bar and Restaurant, which seats up to 180 and where breakfast is also served, and the more formal Le Rivage, which can be hired out for private dinners.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is a separate entrance to the meetings area of the hotel, from where the Cuthbert suite can be accessed. The suite can be split in two with a capacity of 250 people. The Newgate suite can hold up to 45 people theatre-style, and the Sandgate and Westgate suites up to ten for boardroom meetings. Wireless internet access in public areas is charged at £8 for four hours and £12 for 24 hours.

LEISURE FACILITIES Fitness Express runs the health centres on behalf of Millennium and Copthorne in the UK, under the guise of Le Club fitness centres. Guest have free access to facilities including a 14-metre indoor swimming pool, as well as a sauna, spa bath, steam room, solarium and gym.

VERDICT Occupying a great location on the Tyne, the Copthorne will appeal to business travellers looking for a bustling riverside setting and pleasant views. The rooms could do with a spruce-up, but nevertheless have all the facilities you would expect from a four-star property.

PRICES Fully flexible internet rates for a midweek stay in mid-September started from £125, room only.

CONTACT Copthorne Hotel Newcastle, The Close, Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne; tel +44 (0)191 222 0333;

Other riverside options

Situated across the river from the Copthorne, the 254-room Hilton overlooks the Tyne Bridge. Facilities include an indoor pool, the Windows on the Tyne restaurant, and ten meeting rooms, including a 550-delegate capacity suite.

PRICE From £139, including breakfast.
CONTACT Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, Bottle Bank, Gateshead; +44 (0)191 490 9700;

Housed in the former Co-op building, the Malmaison is directly behind the Millennium Bridge and has 122 rooms, including 14 suites, as well as a bar, brasserie and gym.

PRICE From £160.
CONTACT Malmaison Newcastle, Quayside; +44 (0)191 245 5000;

The Waterside
Occupying a Grade II Listed building in the Quayside area, this boutique offering has 22 rooms, as well as Jimmyz cocktail bar, and a meeting room overlooking the Swing Bridge.

PRICE From £70, including breakfast.
CONTACT The Waterside Hotel, 48-52 Sandhill, Quayside; +44 (0)191 230 0111;

Set just back from the riverside to the east of the Quayside development, this purpose-built hotel has 200 budget rooms.

PRICE From £81.
CONTACT Travelodge Newcastle Central, Forster Street, Quayside; +44 (0)870 191 1664;

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