My husband had organised a weekend in York as part of my birthday present, with a stay at the historic Grays Court. We were meant to go the first weekend in March but unfortunately the ‘beast from the east’ scuppered those plans when our train was cancelled! In a way it was a shame as I’m sure York would have looked absolutely beautiful in the snow but it also would have been pretty cold and miserable to walk around… So we re-booked everything and went towards the end of the month instead.
We arrived early evening at Grays Court, which is situated right by York Minster cathedral – making it the ideal location. It’s around a 15 minute walk to the train station, if you’re arriving by train (although there are plenty of taxis too) or if you’re driving, they have parking.
The building dates back to 1091 and is one of the most historic buildings in England. Archaeologists believe that the remains of a Roman gate (Porta Decumana) lie buried in the grounds and the famous City Wall passes by the hotel, creating a walled garden. Not only that but it’s the oldest inhabited house in York with many famous past owners and Royal guests.
The hotel has eleven bedrooms and we stayed in the Somerset room, which has a stunning view of the gardens and York Minster. The room was large, spacious and beautifully decorated. If I had to fault anything, it’s that I would have preferred a roll-top bath! Be warned though that as it is so close to York Minster, you will hear the bells chiming in the morning.
The room has a sitting area with a fire place, however it definitely wasn’t cold enough to light a fire – although I have a feeling they are more decorative rather than working fire places. We actually turned our radiator off as we like a cold room when we sleep and there was no air conditioning.
The bathroom was really modern with an overhead shower, fluffy towels, dressing gowns, slippers and Clarins products. I did feel the bathroom seemed a bit out of place decor-wise with the rest of the room – and even the hotel. As mentioned, I would have loved a bathroom with a roll-top bath like the one in the Edwards or Fairfax rooms – next time!
What I loved about Grays Court is that there are lots of places for guests to relax outside of their room. They have a fabulous space called the gallery, where you can relax with a drink from the bar or even partake in afternoon tea. You can also access the gardens from here. The wood panelling is gorgeous and there’s lots of natural light coming from the windows.
One of my favourite rooms in the hotel is the library. Full of books, comfy chairs and sofas, a fireplace and natural light – it’s a relaxing place to sit and unwind.
We had booked a table at the hotel’s Bow Room restaurant for dinner on our first night. Unfortunately I was feeling really ill so I struggled to finish any of my dishes! The food was beautifully presented and the dishes were seasonal, using quality ingredients with some of the produce being even grown in the garden.
The pre-dessert of a take on Rhubarb and Custard was simply stunning! Not only was it pretty as a picture, it tasted delicious too. Despite feeling poorly I managed to devour this.
Thankfully in the morning I felt much better and was able to tuck in to breakfast, which is also served in the Bow Room. There’s a small buffet selection of cereals, pastries, yogurts, fresh fruit and also a menu of hot dishes. The breakfast was top notch, on both mornings.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Grays Court and would definitely stay again the next time we are in York. The rooms are spacious, lovingly restored and decorated and the staff were warm and welcoming. If you’re looking for a luxury hotel in York, consider staying here – it won’t disappoint!