A former garden space next door to The Joiners Arms in Newton-by-the-Sea has been transformed with new shepherd’s hut accommodation which, just three weeks after opening, is already fully booked until November.
The stylish hut, which can sleep two adults, and one child with a pull out bed, builds upon the existing accommodation at The Joiners Arms pub, which has also reopened to a flurry of bookings as people look more towards staycation trips, rather than travelling abroad with the uncertainty of ever-changing quarantine rules.
Both sites are part of The Apartment Group portfolio of venues, which also includes the nearby Newton Hall, Le Petit Chateau and William De Percy in Otterburn, as well as a string of bars in Newcastle and Sunderland.
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CEO of the hospitality group, Debrah Dhugga, says she believes the staycation trend is here to stay.
"There is more and more people wanting to stay in the UK, especially during the summer holidays,” she explained. “And it’s not just people from other areas, we have a lot of people from the North East visiting us too, which is great as it’s keeping money in the North East.
“I don’t think that demand is going anywhere, I think it’s long term. We have bookings for next year already. We’ve never been so far booked in advance, but Northumberland is where people want to be.”
Called The Rede, the shepherd’s hut was purpose built for The Apartment Group with interior design by Julie Chambers. Features include an en-suite, king size bed, log-burning fire, a natural wood hot tub in a private garden, its own parking and vintage furniture.
Very little publicity has been done on the hut, with few pictures released, but word of mouth means it’s been booked up weeks in advance.
"We’re a hidden gem and people fall in love with it straight away,” said Debrah.
Prices start at £265 a night for the hut, which includes breakfast at The Joiners Arms. Food can also be ordered from the pub to be brought to the hut.
Speaking about how the hut concept came about, Debrah said: "We had the garden space and we decided to offer something different. The rooms at the Joiners are popular but just don’t have the space for a hot tub, but with this area we could build a hot tub next to the shepherd’s hut.
"With what’s gone on with Covid, people want an outdoor space and this allows us to offer that, as well as an alternative style of accommodation.”
With larger weddings still unable to take place, Newton Hall, which is usually fully booked for weddings, has also been running hotel nights, on a bed and breakfast basis.
Debrah said: “We have this beautiful Georgian country manor house, which usually people only get to stay in for a wedding. The hall really complements Joiners Arms because people can just walk along to a lovely pub for dinner, you can walk to the beach. It’s just such a beautiful area.
"By opening venues in this way it’s really helped to save as many jobs as we can, while also meeting the demands of the staycation market.”