A country house for sure, set in gentle flat pasture yet still only a ten-minute journey by taxi to York. There’s plenty of parking space for those arriving by car – pull up to the front gates first, get help from the porter with luggage, then park on the other side of the lane. It's also close to York Racecouse.
Of 26 rooms, choose from either the 10, high-ceilinged rooms in the original house which come in a range of grades and sizes, all individually styled and decorated (two with four-poster beds) and all featuring carefully considered antiques. Alternatively the converted 18th-century courtyard next door offers a selection of single, standard double, superior and suites decorated in warm colours liberally dotted with lots of country house furnishings and touches.
When I was last there the public rooms glowed to the light of burning fires in the collection of hearths. All public rooms radiate from the grand oak staircase and include a large and intricately decorated drawing room looking over the lawns, a small library with dark leather Chesterfields, a bijou bar and stately dining room. Stone and decorative tiled floors are also a feature overlooked by a weighty collection of paintings reflecting the building's heritage. The Barlow Room is Middlethorpe’s small conference room with mobile telephone conversations and tapping of laptop keyboards happily outlawed in the other public rooms.
Eating and drinking
The rich wood panelling sets the scene for the dining experience. This is where lunch is luncheon and where food and wine is taken extremely seriously and rewarded with an increasing horde of accolades. Menus are seasonally driven by the best in local ingredients (some grown in the garden), British culinary flair with an occasional nod to Mediterranean classics is the theme. Dinner by candlelight is a refined affair while those who really like to immerse in the whole ambience can take afternoon tea in the drawing room.
The spa is housed in the former chauffeur’s cottages and offers a plethora of wellness and indulgent treatments for men and women with ESPA and Caci Quantum just some of the products used in the three beauty salons. Also available and complimentary to guests are an indoor pool, gym, steam room and sauna. The property comes surrounded by 20 acres of formal and kitchen gardens to admire as well as open and wooded parklands to roam.
As befits the setting, staff are attentive, genial and quietly efficient.
Who stays there
Women on spa breaks, predominantly maturer couples on leisure breaks and horse enthusiasts during York Races.
Middlethorpe Hall's prices are at the top end of York’s hotel collection, nonetheless prices do include early morning tea delivered to your room, parking, continental breakfast and full use of the spa facilities. It’s also worth checking to see if there any last minute specials available which can sometimes include dinner which currently costs in the region of £50 for three courses. Expect to pay around £7 for a taxi into the city.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Business travellers
- Mature travellers
- Special occasions
- Design and architecture
- Nature / wildlife
Pros & Cons
- Country house ambience
- Beautifully maintained and decorated
- No lift the courtyard rooms
- No children under the age of six (this could also be a pro)