HARROGATE'S MOST CHIC HOTEL
Just how did they do it? Sometimes hoteliers achieve the near impossible and this is the case with The Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate.
Taking a rather tired and past its sell by date hotel they have turned it into the smartest and most chic hotel in Harrogate.
Yet this has not been done without a great deal of thought and expertise for the late great past of his hotel has not been sacrificed, in fact it has been enhanced by successfully integrating stylish elegance into these magnificent surroundings.
The hotel can trace its history back to 1815 when, Nicholas Carter senior built the first house on Prospect Hill as a home and premises for the sale of wine and spirits and provided accommodation for guests.
Over the last 200 plus years the hotel has had many owners. Wings have been demolished, extra floors added, elaborate iron work and towers erected and some of its gardens were sold off to become the town’s war memorial site.
Royalty, the rich and famous and countless celebrities have numbered amongst its guests It even kept its doors open during the two wars changing its mantle and being utilised for support services and accommodation.
The Yorkshire has had several names since its inception. It was firstly known as Carters then The Prospect and The Imperial before taking on the proud name it enjoys today.
Standing proudly in the Montpellier Quarter the hotel enjoys a prime central position – in fact it has the best of all the hotels in the town. Round the corner there are the wonderful boutiques and shops, the theatre and cinema and its only a five minute walk to the railway or bus station in case you want to leave your car and explore the surrounding areas.
Your neighbour over the road is the famous Betty’s with The Pump Room Museum, Turkish Baths and The Royal Hall and Conference Centre a short stroll away.
As we drew up I couldn’t help feeling I should be getting out of a vintage chauffeur driven Rolls Royce Silver Ghost rather than a 4×4. Climbing the marble steps and going through the heavy oak original doors I could only guess how many of the aristocracy has passed through these hallowed portals. I imagined the titled ladies and dowager duchesses resplendent in their picture hats or evening gowns and tiaras, depending on the time of day taking the same route as I was.
The foyer is an eclectic mix of décor and I loved the way the modern take on a traditional chandelier has been designed. There are lots of glass screens that diffuses the darkness often created in older hotels and gives it a spacious, airy feeling.
From the moment you step into The Yorkshire there’s a feeling of peace and tranquillity. The ground floor has retained its marble fire places, antique occasional tables and pictures and the floral design of the dusty pink and grey upholstery in one of the breakout lounges that leads on to the terrace is just so chic.
The terrace has its own chairs and tables so its great for a pre-dinner drink or to sit later in the evening and its just so private. At the other side of the foyer is The Garden Room where you can dine or hold a private dining evening – that has its own terrace and the dried flower design on the ceiling makes this an unique place for any occasion.
Our room was a de-luxe double on the fifth floor. It was spacious with a good hanging space and a seating area with the most wonderful view to all three sides that was amazing with view of all sides of the town.
With crisp linen sheets on a very comfortable bed, fluffy white dressing gowns and a thick pile carpet our room was so comfortable. There were plenty of plug points, a great mirror for doing my makeup in the room and all the usual modern things to cater for the guests technological devices. The en-suite bathroom had plenty of space and surfaces but we did find the shower a little small – and we are both average size.
But our biggest surprise was yet to come when in the evening we dined in the Pickled Sprout Restaurant.
The restaurant has two entrances one from the hotel and one from James Street, where rattan chairs and tables with umbrellas are the perfect place to have a pit stop for a cocktail or two, even if you are not dining but just want a pick-me-up if doing some retail therapy in the town.
There is also an entrance from the hotel into the restaurant which still has an art deco feel with the original archways and ornate plasterwork cleverly incorporated into the eclectic design of green and gold and some very comfortable restaurant seating.
A huge bar is the focal point for the other area with its entrance from James Street and incorporates both bar and restaurant seating which has a stylish edge to it carrying through the same design colours.
It was mid-week and the restaurant was very busy not only with guests but with locals, which is always a very good sign.
For starters my partner ordered the Marinated Mixed Olives with Bell Peppers which exacerbated the flavour of the olives and in particular the black ones were delicious and juicy although the green ones rather under-ripe.
My choice oof Tempura King Prawns could not have been more tasty. The batter was a sweet one and was crispy and hot. It came with Sriracha sauce, spring onion and coriander thankfully the sauce was not too hot – for which I was very grateful and served on the side.
I have found over the many years of restaurant and hotel reviewing that ordering steak from the grill can sometimes be a lottery – but in this case the restaurant came up with the jackpot.
My partner’s Rip Eye Steak was excellent – it came cooked exactly how he ordered it. Just pink enough to represent medium and it was very very tender – even the accompanying tomato was grilled to perfection and the chips freshly deep fried.
Pan Seared Fillet of Seabass was my choice served with crushed new potatoes, baby spinach and Sauce Vierge. I always ask for my sauce served on the side so I can really enjoy some of the fish on its own to get the full flavour. The fillet was flaky, white and succulent with a crispy skin and the accompaniments brought out its flavour.
Our heaven on a plate had certainly came from the angel’s kitchen. My White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Black Cherries and Amaretti Crumb was a design triumph both in flavours and presentation. The taste of the black cherries diffused the sometimes overly creamy flavour of the Panna Cotta.
With my partners sweet of Sicilian Lemon Tart with Raspberries and Cream Fraiche the same care had been taken with the accompaniments . They were both a match made in heaven.
Dinner over we decided on a couple of nightcaps on the small Begonia decorated terrace watching the night sky over Harrogate.
Next morning I got chance to view the Sky Bar as the breakfast room adjoins this. Not far for us to walk as it is on the 5th floor.
The Sky Bar affords great views and a comfortable and trendy environment with a choice of comfy seats or high bar stools up to the windows to take in the fantastic views it affords.
These same views are there too when you take breakfast in the cream and mushroom breakfast room, especially if you get a table near the window.
The renovated Yorkshire Hotel has only been open for less than a year but already its becoming a tour de force in the town for everything that’s first class hotel wise as is it’s restaurant.
But a bonus is the staff who always go that extra mile for their guests from the restaurant to reception and housekeeping – they are friendly, knowledgeable and cheerful – obviously they love their jobs.
Soon it was time to leave our room with a great view and head off home – but like Arnie says “We’ll be back”!