Just outside the city walls in the leafy northern suburbs it takes me less than 10 minutes of gentle walking to reach the Minster and heart of York. Those arriving in York by train would be best off taking a taxi, while those arriving by car can take advantage of the hotels free but limited private car park. There is a small convenience store nearby for any forgotten essentials.
There are three grades of rooms – Executive, Superior and Luxury - each distinctive in style, design and size. Of these 24 are in the newly built annex and eight, and the grand Prince of Wales suite in the original building. The majority not spending their wedding night here will find well considered rooms, richly decorated in dark woods and soft hues dotted with print caricatures of ‘Winnie’. The technology standard is high throughout and includes flat screen TV’s, bedside digital radios and free WiFi as standard. Those hankering a Four-poster bed should request a Luxury room, while bathroom connoisseurs will find that the higher the room grade the more indulgent the experience, including walk-in shower rooms and free standing copper baths.
The reception area is small, informal, quirky and prone to getting busy during peak times. Beyond, the grand staircase, chandelier, ceiling and surrounding portraits make quite a statement, as does the enormous shelves of books and object d’art amongst which are 2 computer terminals for internet access. A small but plush velveteen bar is open during the evening while anyone with a tobacco craving will swoon at Churchill’s Cigar Bunker, a comfy covered cabin by the hotel car park featuring a phone with a direct line to the drinks staff. The paved terrace overlooking the hotels private gardens is a nice spot summer aperitif albeit accompanied by traffic soundtrack from the road in front.
Eating and drinking
With 2 AA rosettes in consecutive years to their credit, The Churchill restaurant doesn’t rest on its laurels (or even its wilted spinach) with a seasonally evolving and good value menu, put together with panache from some fine Yorkshire beasts, seafood and crops. The dinning surroundings are as rich as the fayre and comes in intense period wall paper complimented by heavy black furniture, potted plants and baby grand piano. Anyone after lunch between Monday and Saturday will have to go elswhere as the bar and reataurant is only open during the day on Sunday's.
The rooms are very well eqipped with broadcast entertainment and while no spa, gym or pool, the walk into the city centre offers some short exercise.
Overall the predominantly female staff are a cheery lot and to date I’ve never had cause to complain or even raise an eye-brow with the service standard. The current manager is also worth a mention for his a encyclopaedic knowledge of both York and the hotel’s history.
Who stays there
Predominantly this is for couples on city breaks, wedding parties, small tour groups and some business people.
As with the rest of York, the best deals (including discounted dinner, bed and breakfast rates) can be had when avoiding Friday and Saturday nights, school holidays and York’s major events. Dinner is currently good value at £25.95 for three courses.
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
- Seasoned travellers
- Escaping the crowds
- Special occasions
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Set in its own grounds
- Fun and formal in equal measure
- No lunch Mon-Sat
- Lift only available in the extension