An Inspector Calls: Playing the Euro-accent guessing game at Eslington Villa, a hotel gem close to Newcastle
- Eslington Villa is a large Victorian house hotel on the outskirts of Newcastle
- The Inspector found the GM charming, and dinner at the hotel delicious
- But when it came to breakfast, the eggs were tasteless and the toast underdone
Take a Frenchman who has lived in Newcastle for 20 years and what do you get? A Dutchman.
Such is the inflection in the GM’s voice at Eslington Villa that I simply don’t believe he’s French. ‘You have to be Dutch,’ I tell him. ‘Ay,’ he says. ‘French.’
This gets me going.
Fabulously old-fashioned: Eslington Villa is a large old Victorian house put to good new use
‘So where are you from?’ I ask the woman who shows me to a room on the top floor of this large Victorian house on the outskirts of the city.
‘Guess,’ she says.
She has a North-East timbre, too. I start in Norway and work south. Turns out she’s Spanish, but followed her boyfriend to Gateshead nine years ago.
It’s intriguing, because this is a thoroughly old-fashioned British hotel that has belonged to the same family for nearly 30 years.
There’s a hint of an old people’s home about it: a whiff of cleaning products in the corridors, thick carpets, faded prints — but it’s spotlessly clean and welcoming.
My room is called Pine and Miss Geordie-Spain says it’s her favourite, most likely because of the huge bathroom that has a walk-in shower behind the free-standing bath.
It’s quiet, with a side view of the large garden, replete with a gazebo for weddings.
My dinner is delicious and includes three oysters for £7. ‘Why not have them as an amuse-bouche?’ says the GM.
So I do, followed by a carrot and feta salad, then pork fillet strips on wilted spinach.
Lots of locals are here for a night out. Staff rush about. It’s delightfully jolly.
The let-down comes in the morning when breakfast is served in a dark and dreary room. I’ve ordered papers, but none arrives; the fried eggs don’t taste of anything and the toast is underdone.
The GM is off duty. I sense his presence keeps standards up.
8 Station Rd, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE9 6DR
Tel: 0191 487 6017, eslingtonvilla.co.uk
Doubles from £99.50 B&B