The Grand York: The perfect base for your North Yorkshire adventures
I don't normally spend a lot of time in my hotel room when I travel, but I'm the first to admit that the hotel can make or break a trip for me.
My expectations are high, and I'm a self-admitted germaphobe. I even travel with a set of hotel slippers because I normally refuse to walk on the carpet, even in socks.
But then there are those few hotels that not only meet my standards, they exceed them. The hotels where I don't care if I have my slippers out or not, I'm just fine taking my shoes off when I step through the door of my room.
They're not only lovely, they exude that sense of being so well taken care of that you know the staff would be appalled if you had to mention anything that wasn't right in the room.
The Grand is one of those luxury hotels.
Let's start with the location. Not only is it one of the closest hotels to the York station (it's located in what used to be the North Eastern Railway headquarters), but it's also within the city walls and only about a 5 minute walk from York Minster all the lovely attractions York has to offer. For more on things to see and do check out this post.
Just a short hop down the street or through the park, through the walls and you're there. Since it's located on Station Rise it's very flat and easy to get your luggage there.
You could take a taxi, but you'd stand in the taxi queue longer than it would take just to walk over.
York is also perfectly located for day trips to the North York Moors or Yorkshire Dales National Parks. Castle Howard, one of the most beautiful historic homes in England, is also an easy day trip.
As you approach the entrance you'll be greeted by one of their doormen, immaculately attired in tails and top hats. They are the perfect accent to the Edwardian building you're about to enter.
The lobby is a cool combination of gray and white marble and stone with a stunning staircase behind the reception desk. Just down the stairs you'll find the spa, located in the vaults where the rail company used to keep the payroll.
On the roof you'll find the apiary, where the hotels resident bees are busy making honey that is used in the hotel's restaurants.
The 1906 Bar
For a cocktail, glass of wine or light meal I recommend the 1906 Bar.
Take a seat in one of their comfortable lounge chairs, designed to look like they belong in a classic train carriage. While you're there take a look at the fireplace. The fire is faux, but it looks so real you'd never know!
The Rise Restaurant
Start your day with an extensive breakfast spread at The Rise. Whether you're looking for a simple pastry and coffee or a made-to-order omelette, hash browns and bacon you'll find whatever you're looking for.
But if you're looking for something really special make sure you reserve a time for afternoon tea.
It's a beautiful, classic 3-tier tea service with scones, clotted cream and jam, savory finger sandwiches, and mini desserts that tase even better than they look.
And of course as much tea as you'd like!
The Grand's newest offering is Legacy, where you can savor a tasting menu of local, seasonal fare expertly prepared by Head Chef Ahmed Abdalla.
The restaurant wasn't open yet when I was there (it was still a very closely guarded secret!), but it's at the top of my list to try next time I'm in town.
All the rooms at The Grand are lovely, from their Classic Room up to the Penthouse Suite.
Some rooms are located in the original building, others are in the newer wing. Normally I prefer rooms in the original building of a hotel, but I'll admit that at The Grand I prefer the newer wing.
The reason for that strictly comes down to the color scheme. The original building is done in the rail line's original colors of scarlet and purple, but the new wing is all soothing blues, taupes and whites.
For a special getaway you should book a Heritage Suite or Grand Heritage Suite. Each is unique, with a lounge area to enjoy a cup of tea or something from the complimentary mini bar in the comfort and privacy of your room.
At The Grand it's all about the details.
In the UK you never find an outlet in the bathroom other than a small one for a razor. So where is a lady supposed to dry her hair?
Sit down at the desk and open the top. You'll find a mirror that sits at just the right angle, turning it from a desk to a dressing table. And there's an outlet right there.
High ceilings can mean rooms feel cold at night, so instead of waiting for people to call the front desk to see what can be done, they provide a separate heater in each room so you can adjust the temperature to your liking without fuss.
All rooms include access to the spa, but you'll want to reserve a time in advance to avoid disappointment.
Take a swim in the pool, have a soak in the spa whirlpool or sweat it out in the nordic dry sauna. When you're done you can indulge in a massage or beauty treatment to be truly pampered.
The Cookery School
For something different that you won't find elsewhere in York, take a class at The Cookery School. Whether you're a novice or an expert you can enjoy learning to make something new to impress the guests at your next dinner party.
Once you're done cooking enjoy the fruits of your labor with a glass of wine.
The Bottom Line
Whether you're looking for a weekend or a week in York The Grand is a perfect base.
Plus, if you book through Girasole Travel you can get additional amenities like daily breakfast, complimentary room upgrades based on availability, and a $100 food and beverage credit to use in any of their restaurants. I recommend using it for tea in The Rise!
Note: This review was not solicited in any way and the stay was not compensated by the hotel.