IN ELEGANT SURROUNDINGS
On the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, only two and a half miles from the beach, in the village of Scalby, is one of Scarborough’s best kept secrets.
Set in acres of landscaped grounds with stunning views across the countryside Wrea Head Hall is the jewel in the crown of Scarborough’s hotels.
A romantic gothic style mansion Wrea Head Hall can trace its history back to 1881 when it was built as a private home for the Ellis family.
There are few hotels like Wrea Head Hall, where all the rooms are contained within the original building something that makes you feel like a house guest in a country mansion.
As you enter through the oak doors there’s an a wonderful ambience of old world grandeur. I almost imagined Mr Carson from Downton Abbey popping round one of the oak doors to greet us and help with our luggage. The oak panelled hallway is hung with oil paintings of the family and has large stain glass windows. As you make your way up the wide oak panelled staircase you notice that the old world Edwardian décor even extends to the plants with aspidistra in antique pots.
There’s a residents lounge/ library with books that look so interesting and in the heart of the house a large seating area with an inglenook fireplace at the base of the oak staircase, ideal for pre-dinner drinks or just to sit and watch the world go by through the mullion windows.
The English Country Gardens at the hotel
The bar, although straying from the dark oak still has original features, and is comfortable with great seating arrangements – so everyone has their own piece of privacy. French doors lead out onto a veranda with the original tiled floor and carved iron support pillars – its ideal place to enjoy a glass of bubbly at sunset, your morning coffee or one of their decadent afternoon teas. There’s also a terrace which is bliss on a hot sunny afternoon. If you are feeling like an afternoon or evening stroll you can walk round the gardens or even to the summer house in the woods
The views from here of the rolling lawns on this elevated piece of land are amazing and its so peaceful and tranquil it seems like a million miles from the hustle bustle of the resort – its little wonder that this hotel is known as arguably the best of all the hotels in Scarborough.
Our room was on the first floor and had been one of the master bedrooms when the house was a private residence. The décor was to the Edwardian period with a comfortable sofa, antique oak furnishing, an unusual bed headboard added to this was the modern touch of an antique bathtub in the corner of our room.
The only non antique styled part of our room was the modern bathroom complete with heated towel rail, power rainwater shower and superb bathroom lighting and a full range of luxury toiletries.
After a walk around the grounds and an aperitif we made our way into dinner and although it was mid-week it was busy with both guests and locals – always a good sign of good food.
The 1881 restaurant is situated in the original oak panelled dining room. It has gold blocked wall paper, large mirrors widows looking out onto an English country style garden , oil paintings, tables covered with pristine white table cloths and is lit by candlelight – romance in the Edwardian style.
Wrea Hall Hotel is fast becoming famous for its restaurant. Head Chef, Andrew Riley specialises as he puts it in “British cuisine with attitude”. His dishes are elegant and contemporary and he admits that he and his team of chefs work together on ideas and let their creativity and imagination flow freely to produce the best.
Seated in this old world grandeur we decided to indulge ourselves in the menu. I chose the Celeriac Soup with Truffle Oil and Toasted Hazelnuts. The portion of soup was huge, as are all the portions in the 1881 restaurant, is was hot and full of flavour.
My partners choice of Creamy Garlic Mushrooms with Toasted Soda Bread and Salad Garnish did more than please. It was smooth and creamy, the toast was hot and the dish had just the right amount of garlic in it.
For main course I ordered the Crispy Gnocchi Filled with Tomato and Mozzarella. It was presentation perfection with Saute Mixed Leaves, Artichokes and Olives with Shaved Pecarino. This was the ultimate main course for me.
I have had Gnocchi in some of the top restaurants all over the place but this eclipsed them all. It was so crispy on the outside and the filling so flavoursome The fusion of flavours and mix of ingredients was just mind-blowing. But again the portion was massive and there was really enough for two – with such a wonderful dish I am not complaining!
My partners Braised Lamb Shank in Garlic and Lemon came with Roast Sweet Potato Mash, much to his delight and Confit Plum Tomatoes with Braised Leek and was served in its own juices. The meat was tender and succulent and cooked to perfection – it just fell of the bone. He also liked the fact the meat was hot all the way through to the bone.
A side order of twice cooked chips, which we shared, met with great approval – crispy on the outside the inside was light and fluffy and they just melted in your mouth.
A coconut fan the sweet course could have been especially made for me. It was my real heaven on a plate and I even confess stealing some of my partners coconut bar as we both opted for the same dessert.
It came as a trio – a delicious coconut rice pudding, like both our respective grandmothers used to make, coconut ice-cream – my ultimate favourite and a buttery coconut home baked bar that was just so moist and made you want more! It reminded me of my mother’s home baked coconut slices that she once won a WI competition with!
After dinner we enjoyed our coffee watching some of the nocturnal wild-life in the grounds from the veranda until we could keep awake no longer and retired for the night.
Next morning I had another walk, despite the rain, round the grounds and was ready for a hearty breakfast which again was served with the same panache and style.
Wrea Hall Hotel prides itself on its old world style of service and rightly so. It has knowledgeable, attentive staff who just want to make you feel special and enjoy the best possible experience.
As we waved goodbye to Wrea Hall Hotel my partner held my hand and said we’ll be back – and we will
Wrea Head Hall, Barmoor Lane, Scalby, Scarborough, North Yorkshire Y13 0PB.
Tel: 01723 371190. www.wreaheadhall.co.uk