Hurrah for Graham and Service with a Smile!

Good humour, cheerful greetings, unfailing pleasantness and a willingness to help out with almost any problem: These are just some of the many reasons why road sweeper Graham Sallan won the award for Customer Service Provider of the Year in the Pride of Teesdale Awards recently.

The awards look for the Dale’s unsung heroes, applauding the dedication, hard work, kindness and commitment of those who work in the area. People like Graham who make Teesdale such an amazing place to live and work.

The category was sponsored by The Garage Spa – which prides itself on delivering outstanding customer service to guests – and Barbara Johnson from the spa presented Graham with his prize of a spa treatment. Visitors to The Garage Spa frequently comment about the great service they receive from staff so sponsoring the customer service category was a natural fit.

As both Graham and the staff at The Garage Spa understand, it’s often the little things that count. A genuine warm welcome, service with a smile and a chat can be the difference between a good and a great memory.

On behalf of everyone at The Morritt Country House Hotel & The Garage Spa, we’d like to congratulate Graham and all of the winners and nominees in this year’s Pride of Teesdale Awards. We hope that Graham’s prize of a Garage Spa treatment helps him relax and rejuvenate after a hard day out-and-about in all weather, making the streets of Barnard Castle tidy and safe.

Along with indulgent and relaxing facilities, The Garage Spa offers a wide range of treatments, including Germaine de Capuccini and CACI facials. For more information visit the spa website, email or call 01833 863 100.


Teesdale - The Garage Spa

Barbara Johnson presents Graham Sallan with his prize of a Garage Spa treatment for Customer Service Provider of the Year in this week’s Pride of Teesdale Awards


Article from The Teesdale Mercury (11 February 2015) about the Pride of Teesdale Awards.

Article from The Teesdale Mercury (11 February 2015) about the Pride of Teesdale Awards.




How can you get lips like Angelina, Scarlett or Jessica?

We can’t all be blessed with perfect pouts such as those enjoyed by stars like Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansen or Jessica Alba – widely regarded as having some of the best-looking lips in the word.

Ageing, lips damaged by smoking and other factors can cause wrinkling around the mouth, detracting from that perfect pucker. So it’s important therefore to take care of this delicate facial feature and treat your lips well – protect them from the sun by wearing a lipstick or lip balm with sunscreen and bless them with a pampering now and again.

The question “Why do we have lips?” was recently asked by a BBC article in a series about evolution and it turns out that our lips are really quite important – and not just for kissing! As well as being vital to ensure we can feed right from the moment we’re born (babies need their lips to help them suck), they’re essential for speech and attracting a mate.

An article in MailOnline explains that, according to research, men are drawn to a woman’s pout more than any other facial feature. Scientists found that in the 10 seconds after meeting a lady for the first time, the average man spends more than half his time gazing at her mouth. And big lips are definitely better than thinner lips that can be perceived as mean. Another BBC article explains that lip size is key to sexual attraction, and that good lips can make an attractive face even more gorgeous.

So how can you get hot lips like Angelina, Scarlett or Jessica, without resorting to invasive surgical procedures?

Thankfully, beauty specialist CACI has a solution in the form of the Express Lip Plump treatment, now available at The Garage Spa. The 15-minute treatment uses LED red light therapy, an Amino-Lift Peptide serum and the CACI wrinkle comb to plump up your top and bottom lips. The instant result – which lasts around three days – is fuller looking lips, perfect for a special occasion such as a first date, wedding, party or day at the races.

The CACI Express Lip Plump at The Garage Spa costs £15 and can be performed as a standalone treatment or combined with other facials. For more information or to book call The Garage Spa on 01833 863 100 or email


Article from Woman and Home magazine (December 2014) about the fabulous CACI Express Lip Plump treatment



A Dining Experience with a Difference – Taste Nights on February 27th & 28th

Interview with Lee Stainthorpe, Head Chef, The Morritt Country House Hotel

As someone who enjoys cooking and could never see himself sitting in an office from nine to five, becoming a chef seemed logical to Lee Stainthorpe, head chef at The Morritt Country House Hotel which boasts Gilroy’s Dining Room as its restaurant and was awarded 2 AA Rosettes in 2013.

After leaving school in the late 80s, Lee spent three years training at Darlington Technical College before carving out a career spanning almost 25 years, cooking in numerous hotel and restaurant kitchens throughout the north east and north west of England.

“When I started in this industry, celebrity chefs such as the Roux brothers and Anton Mosimann were the old masters,” says Lee. “Then, with the emergence of Marco Pierre White, the industry was turned on its head and chefs suddenly had rock star status. The industry was in your face and here to stay.”

Although he doesn’t pick out any particular individual as an inspiration, Lee has a large collection of books from a wide range of different chefs. “I look at them all in the same light,” says Lee.

He describes the approach to food in Gilroy’s Dining Room at The Morritt as, “Classical flavours with modern twists and techniques.” Although prepared with a great amount of creativity and inspiration, the food and flavours in the restaurant are still recognisable to customers.

“The dining experience is about the dining room and overall ambience as well as the food served,” explains Lee. “We’ve created a relaxed venue for guests to enjoy their whole evening. From the initial introduction from food and beverage manager, Dan Moult and his team, right through to finishing with coffee and petit fours, we put an emphasis on our guests’ complete experience.”

Fresh, locally sourced ingredients are important to Lee and he finds inspiration from what is currently in season and what he feels guests would like to see on the menu. The menu is changed with the seasons to take advantage of the best produce and classic or popular dishes are re-visited as required.

“I don’t favour any particular ingredients,” says Lee. “As long as they’re fresh and in season then they will be considered for our dishes.”

Gilroy’s Taste Nights are one of the latest opportunities for guests to try an 11-course tasting menu of dishes created through Lee and his talented team’s approach of using freshly prepared, locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

Lee explains the concept behind the event as, “An opportunity for our guests to enjoy a food experience they may not have had before. From the food, the flavours, the presentation and the little bits of theatre thrown in, I’m sure guests will leave thinking and talking about the evening for a good while afterwards.”

The next Gilroy’s Taste Nights take place on Friday, February 27th and Saturday, February 28th in Gilroy’s Dining Room at The Morritt. The 11-course tasting menu is £55 and special overnight accommodation offers, including the tasting experience, are available from £199 per couple. For more information or to book, please call 01833 627 232 or email

The next Gilroy’s Taste Nights take place on Friday, February 27th and Saturday, February 28th in Gilroy’s Dining Room at The Morritt. The 11-course tasting menu is £55 and special overnight accommodation offers, including the tasting experience, are available from £199 per couple. For more information or to book, please call 01833 627 232 or email

Lee Stainthorpe, Head Chef at The Morritt Country House Hotel


Ask the Experts Wedding Open Day – January 18th 2015

The Morritt Country House Hotel was dressed in all its wedding glory for an Ask the Experts Wedding Open Day on Sunday, January 18th.

The doors were opened wide for blushing brides-to-be to learn how the hotel’s experienced wedding team and recommended suppliers can help plan their fairy tale wedding.

Although the weather had a mind of its own that Sunday –snowing one minute and raining the other – it didn’t deter around 100 guests from attending the special event and enjoying the displays.

The Morritt’s spacious Ballroom (seating up to 200) was set for a wedding breakfast beneath glittering chandeliers. A roaring log fire blazed warmly in the background and a multitude of recommended suppliers were available to advise guests on their services. The Garden Room (seating up to 100) was beautifully decorated for a civil ceremony with a red carpet creating a stunning aisle for the bride to walk down.

Suppliers including Amy from The Garage Spa, Muscari Flowers, Camera A and many others were on hand to talk to couples and help plan their perfect day. The Yorkshire Chauffeur Company came along to the open day for the first time – a popular addition to our incredible list of trusted suppliers.

With a driving simulator from LMS Events and The Morritt’s popular new Victorian sweet cart, the event didn’t lack fun and entertainment!

Don’t worry if you missed our Ask the Experts Open Day this January. When you sign up to our newsletter you’ll be one of the first to know the date of our next event.

We would like to thank all of the beautiful brides to be that attended our open day and we would also like to thank all of our recommended suppliers who  made our open day that bit more special.


Pampering Perfection! Great Review from North East Blogger

There’s nothing nicer than customers leaving us great reviews!

Last Friday, The Garage Spa hosted Chloe Hall who writes Prosecco & Pies – a food and lifestyle blog dedicated to the finer things in life in the North East of England.

Chloe and her partner enjoyed our Moonlit Drive evening spa package and we’re delighted that she was full of praise for The Garage.

Read the Proescco & Pies blog.

For your own fantastic spa experience, contact The Garage on 01833 863 100 or email


Meet Michelle, Garage Spa Therapist

Michelle Laverick started work at The Garage Spa earlier this year. In just a few months she’s become one of our most popular therapists. We spoke to Michelle to find out what she likes about The Garage Spa and why she enjoys working there.

Michelle, what’s the best thing about working at The Garage Spa?

“I love working with such a great team of friendly people. This spa is a really special place and I enjoy coming here every day.”

What’s your favourite treatment at The Garage Spa?

“I like all of the massages. We do a wonderful Hot Stone massage using cooling and warming volcanic stones that is great for easing stress and getting rid of tension.

“Our Candle Comfort massage is also very special. We light a special candle that slowly melts warm massage oil all over your body. And at the end of the massage you can take the candle home with you to enjoy. “

Which of the facilities do you enjoy?

“The Hammam! It’s not included with the other facilities but it is definitely worth booking as an extra treat. It’s the best bathing experience ever.”

Which Garage Spa product do you like the most?

“The large scented massage candle with Cacao Flower is gorgeous – just light it and let the warm oil melt over your skin for a wonderfully relaxing massage. The scent is amazing and it’s a beautiful moisturizer.”

Michelle Laverick

Spa therapist Michelle Laverick enjoys working at The Garage

Do you like the sound of working at The Garage Spa with Michelle and the team? We currently have vacancies for full and part time spa therapists.

You should be able to perform all aspects of beauty including: massage, waxing, facials, wraps, scrubs, tinting, nails, Hot Stone Massage & Reflexology/Indian Head (an advantage but not essential as training can be given.) You must have Level 3 in Beauty or equivalent and the ideal candidates will have at least 2-3 years’ experience.

To apply contact

See other career opportunities at The Morritt Country House Hotel & The Garage Spa.

Competition Time! What do you want for Christmas?

Wouldn’t it be nice to cross something off your Christmas list and not have to worry about your budget? Well now, with a little help from The Garage Spa, you have the chance to win a fabulous Christmas gift every week in the run up to the big day.

Every Thursday from now until Christmas, we’ll post a competition to our Garage Spa Facebook and Twitter pages. Just tell us what you’d like The Garage Spa to give you for Christmas – look at our website for inspiration – and we’ll enter you into a prize draw to win your Christmas wish.

To enter by Facebook all you have to do is “comment” on the post to tell us what you want for Christmas from The Garage Spa, “like” The Garage Spa’s Facebook page, and “share” the post with your friends.

To enter by Twitter, simply “reply” to @TheGarageSpa about the gift you want, “re-Tweet” the post and “follow” our Twitter account. Make sure you include @TheGarageSpa in all your Tweets!

Look out for the competitions every Thursday starting on Thursday, November 20 at 1pm.

Terms and conditions apply.

Relieve Christmas Tension with a Festive Spa Package

The days are growing colder and the nights are drawing in. Towns and shops are becoming busier as people scour the shelves for perfect gifts for their loved ones. That’s right – Christmas is just around the corner!

Christmas can be one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year, so what better time to book a day at The Garage Spa to relax and take it easy? Our half day Festive Package is designed to ease your worries, rejuvenate your tired body and get you through the season unscathed.

Are your muscles aching after carrying all that Christmas shopping? Our Back, Neck and Shoulder massage repairs tense muscle and relieves pain, leaving you feeling relaxed and stress free.

The cold weather can leave your skin feeling tired and dehydrated but our Germaine de Capuccini Prescriptive facial will help your skin retain moisture and increase elasticity.

Also including four hours facility usage and a delicious cream tea, you’ll leave The Garage with your festive stress relieved, ready to tackle the New Year head on.

To take advantage of the Festive Package (from £85) and give your body and soul a treat, book early by calling 01833 863 100 or email

Stunning High Force Image is Spirit Of Teesdale Winning Photograph

Our 20th anniversary celebrations drew to a close on Sunday, November 9th when we announced the winners of our Spirit of Teesdale photography contest.

The hotel was buzzing with activity all day with guests for Sunday lunch, Afternoon TeaTraditional Ale Week, the photography exhibition, and a performance by local youth folk group, Cream Tees.

Thirteen shortlisted pictures were displayed in the Ballroom for visitors to view, and they could even bid to own them in a silent auction, with all proceeds donated to St Teresa’s Hospice.

At 2.30pm, TV antique expert David Harper presented the prizes to the top three winners, and each photograph was critiqued by professional photographer, Richard Jemison.

Gary Richardson from Darlington won first prize of an overnight stay at the hotel, with dinner and spa use, for his stunning photograph of High Force.

Second prize of a day at The Garage Spa for two people went to Richard Laidler from Richmond, for his picture, Fetching Them Down.

And third prize was awarded to Chris Morse from Barnard Castle, who sent us a photograph of Bowes Museum. Chris won dinner for two in Gilroy’s Dining Room.

Spirit of Teesdale Photography Contest Group Photo

Barbara Johnson, Richard Laidler, David Harper, Gary Richardson, Chris Morse and Peter Phillips

Twelve of the shortlisted photographs have been made into a 2015 charity desktop calendar for St Teresa’s Hospice. The calendars are available for £7.50 from hotel reception, by calling 01833 627 232 or emailing Please note that there will be a postage and package charge for calendars sent out for delivery.

You can see all 12 photographs included in the calendar below.

Photography Exhibition, Music, Food and Drink on November 9th

One of the things we love about The Morritt is that it is situated in one of the most beautiful parts of the country – stunning Teesdale. The countryside in this area is home to many wonderful sights and natural beauty, so we wanted to do something to celebrate this and show it off to visitors.

As 2014 is our 20th anniversary year, we held the Spirit of Teesdale photography contest and will soon share the shortlisted pictures with everyone at an exhibition on Sunday, November 9th.

We were truly staggered at the quality of entries we received, showing that Teesdale not only has amazing sights, but also extremely talented amateur photographers.

We invite you to come to the exhibition on Sunday, November 9th and see for yourself the quality of entries.

A number of activities are planned so you can spend the whole day at The Morritt as part of this celebration.

Photography Exhibition (11am – 6pm). View the shortlisted photographs in the Ballroom.

Silent Auction (11am – 6pm). Bid to own the photograph prints in the exhibition. Proceeds donated to St Teresa’s Hospice.

Charity Calendars on sale (11am – 6pm). Buy one of our Spirit of Teesdale calendars (£7.50) showing 12 wonderful images. Proceeds donated to St Teresa’s Hospice.

Prize Giving. (2.30pm – 3pm) Find out who won the first, second and third prizes.

Music from Cream Tees. (3pm – 4pm). The local youth folk group will play in the Ballroom, where you can also book Afternoon Tea to enjoy while you listen.


To make a day of it you can book for Sunday Lunch, available from 12pm to 2pm, or Afternoon Tea, from 3pm to 5pm. It’s also the third day of our Traditional Ale Week so there is plenty of refreshment to enjoy in The Dickens Bar.

We look forward to seeing you!

Sunday Lunches and Afternoon Teas are very popular so should be booked in advance. Please call 01833 627 232 or email