Palm Trees. Check. Lavender. Check. Cascading red geraniums off wrought iron balconies. Check. Spectacular fountains with fire balls on water. Check. The sound of crickets. Check. Is this a faraway exotic location? No, this is the recently opened Le Petit Chateau in Otterburn, quite simply the newest, coolest, and most original hotel and wedding venue in the UK.
The multi-million pound transformation of a derelict hotel into Le Petit Chateau, a French country manor, surrounded by a breath taking, palm tree filled, Mediterranean garden is the brainchild of North East entrepreneur Duncan Fisher and his award-winning leisure company, which own many popular North East venues including Newton Hall, As You Like It, and The Joiners Arms.
Mr Fisher said “It has been an incredible challenge to create a stunning French Chateau with spectacular Mediterranean gardens in the middle of Northumberland, but that is exactly what we have achieved.”
“I talked to 4 landscape gardeners who said it couldn’t be done and that I was bonkers! However, we eventually we found an amazing team, and with a tremendous amount of research, determination and crafty thinking we have created our own little piece of fantasy in Northumberland.
In order to guarantee that ‘far-away-feeling’ Mr Fisher said that he needed to introduce 3 specific items to ensure that every single visitor to the Chateau will feel instantly transported to the South of France – palm trees, fire, and crickets! Well there’s plenty of enormous palm trees and fire in abundance, with 3 luxurious specially commissioned fire pits on the terrace, as well as a spectacular ring of fire that dances around the water fountain. As for the crickets, Fisher told us “I knew that fine details such as the sound of crickets were essential if we were to successfully recreate that French Riviera feel. Once again, it wasn’t very straight forward but we persevered and crickets are now heard everywhere at Le Petit Chateau!”
The buildings have also been transformed with every single piece of historic fabric carefully stripped back and sensitively revealed.
Le Petit Chateau has a choice of stunning options to hold a celebration or ceremony, which include the enchanting ‘Belle Epoque’ chapel complete with storybook timber shingle roof, outdoor terrace with enormous retractable cover, the sumptuous Ballroom with floor to ceiling glass doors which open straight onto the Mediterranean gardens. Then, if that’s not enough choice, there is an incredible and serene riverside terrace complete with romantic ruins and wild flower meadow.
In keeping with the finest French royal palace the venue is bursting with fantastical features including a grand marble fireplace that was flown in from New York, oversized timber beams, vintage chandeliers, and outrageously extravagant and lavish furnishings.
The hotel boasts 29 boutique bedrooms and suites, many with freestanding baths and private roof terraces overlooking the Mediterranean garden.
With regards the construction, Mr Fisher added “The project was made extra special by the fact that plenty of local tradesman and craftsmen played a considerable part. I lost count of the times that someone from a neighbouring village would simply pop in to tell us what they could do, and without doubt, some of the most exciting and unusual features at the venue have only been made possible with the involvement of these people.
Le Petit Chateau can cater for between 30 and 230 guests and has a civil ceremonies licence for up to 160 guests.
When asked why he thought of crafting a French Chateau within the Northumberland countryside, Duncan Fisher answered “people now have such an enormous choice when it comes to wedding venues, however I think it is extremely important that people don’t forget to have plenty of fun – and Le Petit Chateau helps them do just that! We have fashioned a spectacular venue that, while oozing oodles of style and sophistication, still remains enormously playful and full of fun.
Also part of the extensive refurbishment was the creation of the William de Percy, Coaching Inn & Creperie, on the site of the old Percy Arms. “We thought it was important to keep a link with the Percy name, and the Norman nobleman William de Percy, who arrived in England in 1066 and was the founder of the powerful English House of Percy, provided the perfect French link for the village pub to the Chateau.
It’s only a few weeks since Le Petit Chateau opened its doors and with over 160 wedding and function bookings already confirmed it appears that this latest venture from Duncan Fisher really does have that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’!