Debbie Cook is the wife of Robert Cook, former chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, but her love of hospitality hasn’t just been inherited through her spouse. An experienced hotelier in her right, despite taking almost 15 years out of the industry, she channelled her sector knowledge and insight into launching her own boutique hotel, The Cookie Jar in Alnwick, in September 2017.
Word quickly spread that Cook had created nothing short of a masterpiece, converting a historic 120-year-old convent into an 11-bedroom modern boutique, with cool class at its heart. The process began in September 2016, when Cook put in an offer for the Catholic Church, and following her successful bid, she was handed the keys in April that year. A £1.1m transformation project began with a crew working to change 24 dorm rooms within the Grade-II listed former chapel into the heart of the chic boutique, complete with 26-cover bistro The Holy Cow, set to open in the summer.
Cook teamed up with Matt Hulme, of Dynargh Design to create the striking interiors, and ensure her vision came to life, while Mick Holland of catering firm Holland & Paige was appointed as GM and chef.
Cook describes The Cookie Jar as ‘English contemporary elegance with a twist; a Soho club in the country’ and is well set up for shooting parties, which she says is a key market for the property. With custom-built kennels in the garden for gun dogs, there is also a gun / drying room; plus every room has its own individual gun cabinet.