When I think of travelling, I always plan these grand escapes and adventures. The kind you have to organise months in advance with copious connecting flights and bad airline food which just makes the whole experience less enjoyable. Seriously, why can’t I just click my fingers and be there! But does mystery, wanderlust and adventure have to be so far away? I often forget that you don’t have to leave the UK (In fact, you don’t even have to leave England) to go on a grand escape and discover somewhere you’ve never been. Last weekend I swapped the hustle and bustle of the city for a romantic escape to the quaint countryside city of York. For a city that’s only an hour and 45 minutes away by train I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised by how different (aka how “not London” it was).
Let’s start with the people, warmth and smiling faces greeted from the moment we left York station. Our hotel – The Grand York Hotel & Spa was less than 5 minutes away and the staff bent over backwards to greet us. Fresh fruit and complimentary champagne upon check-in with staff practically falling over themselves to unburden Rúni and me of our luggage was a welcomed touch. We were shown to our room (the Grand Heritage suite) which we were told was one of the best rooms in the house. This was not an exaggeration. The room was more like a mini apartment than a hotel room. We stepped into a grand hallway housing the walk-in closet and the first washroom (yep, I said first), that led on to our reception room complete with sofas, dining table, desk and wide screen tv. In the next room was the king size bed with a gorgeous view overlooking York city walls, but the pièce de résistance for us both was the breath-taking marble bathroom. Complete with a Jacuzzi style tub, walk-in shower, heated floors and of course a sound system coming through the walls/ceiling to play music from your smartphone, the tv or any wireless device. For a vert tradtitional English hotel that was a pretty nice touch. It’s safe to say the suite was so beautiful that we didn’t want to leave, but spa treatments beckoned!
The spa treatments were relaxing it was Runi’s first time ever having a spa treatment and although we were in separate spa rooms he did come back looking really sublime! The spa has excellent facilities (gym, pool, sauna,steam room etc.) and you don’t have to be a hotel guest to take advantage of the facilities available. After a few splashes in the pool and a sauna and steam we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner.
Dinner, my God! What an incredible dinner it was! A 9-course tasting menu with an incredible wine flight. The wine pairing complimented the dishes impeccably and I must say the amount of wine given was by no means a “sip or taste” but pretty near a full glass of wine with every course! That’s nearly 9 glasses of wine! While Runi was revelling in the abundance, I struggled to keep up lol, but I’m no big drinker (on a night out I can manage near 3 drinks and that’s my limit) so this was a little challenging especially because the wines were so such good quality! I couldn’t help but take at least a sip of each, if just to savour the taste. And if I thought the wine was good I have yet to reach the food!
Now when one hears “tasting menu” there are two thoughts that cross one’s mind. one on each extreme end… ‘9-course tasting menu? Oh god! This is going to cost a small fortune with tiny portions and I’ll still be hungry at the end’ Or ‘ 9-course tasting menu? Oh God! I hope the portions aren’t too big that I can’t finish it and end up paying a small fortune for food I didn’t even get to taste!’ Rest assured the experience of fine dining at Hudson’s is so well balanced that you feel neither full nor hungry after you have finished this experience. All you will feel is happy and satiated. The food was INCREDIBLE. The flavours in every dish complemented each other, and each dish worked with the preceding dish. Hands down, one of the best fine dining experiences I have had. That is really saying something, considering that I have dined at some of the very best London has to offer including 2 of London’s prized three Michelin star restaurants. For the standard of service, intimate dining experience and the quality of the dishes prepared here, there could very well be a Michelin star in this restaurant’s future.
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at The Grand York Hotel & Spa, it was a great weekend getaway and reminded me that wanderlust can be satisfied even on our own doorstep.