Grantley Hall - A review of a stay at Yorkshire's latest luxury hotel
This stylish new hotel opened in 2019 after the refurbishment of a grand Palladian stately home on the outskirts of Ripon. The building, parts of which were built in the 1600’s and 1700’s has been under the ownership of many wealthy patrons over the years and local people remember when it was an adult education training centre, but in 2015 it was purchased by its present owner, Valeria Sykes.
Valeria had a track record of restoring beautiful old country houses to their former glories but equally had a passion for Yorkshire with her vision to create a future legacy for the building. But also, more importantly she wanted to support the local economy through purchasing supplies and services locally as well as providing employment and career opportunities in the locality. A £70 million makeover followed turning Grantley Hall into a Relais & Chateaux , five star hotel which opened in July 2019.
I must come clean that as one of a handful of Blue Badge Driver Guides in Yorkshire, I had been helping Grantley Hall with their press and FAM trips to help bring to life the wider Yorkshire area around the hotel. I have also been booked to take a number of their VIP guests for chauffeured days out during their stays but I felt it was important to experience the hotel and see if everything I had read and heard was true.
I was particularly interested to see how Valeria Sykes vision of instilling a Yorkshire character to the hotel had been actioned.
So to start with both myself and my wife had booked rooms for my birthday, hoping to surprise each other. Once this came to light it was handled brilliantly by the hotel, this meant we had a positive feel for the customer service at Grantley Hall before we had even arrived.
So we arrived on my birthday and after being met at the Gatehouse and directed along the sweeping drive which follows the canalised part of the River Skell we caught sight of the large stately home nestled in beautifully manicured grounds.
As we pulled up to the front of the house, we were met by two members of the concierge team who welcomed us. Friendly, professional and polite – they were wearing matching Yorkshire tweed waistcoats – the first nod to Yorkshire I noticed.
After unloading our bags the car was taken off to be parked and we entered Grantley Hall’s grand reception. Our check in was completed in Norton’s Bar and we were given a complimentary locally produced damson gin – a nice touch.
We were taken up to our room past Yorkshire landscape paintings and vases of white roses, (another nod to Yorkshire) .Our room was opulent, with the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in and a complimentary botte of fizz.
There was a pillow menu, but our bed was just fine! There was a huge bath tub which I could have spent all afternoon wallowing in, but as we were only there for a day we decided to head off and check out the Three Graces Spa.
My wife had booked a treatment - which she reported back was excellent whilst I decided to chill out. I went for a swim in the luxury 18 metre pool complete with Roman columns and vaulted ceiling, then tried out some of the massage pools before a short visit to the freezing cold snow room (complete with real snow) and the sauna and steam room. There was an indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pool, with plenty of massage jets and jacuzzi features as well as an outdoor cedar hot tub.
I then decided to check out one of the heated loungers next to the pool. They certainly helped me relax, next thing I knew my wife was waking me up as I had fallen fast asleep!
After our trip to the Spa, we decided to take a walk around the grounds – we walked around the English Heritage listed Japanese gardens and took some photos in the manicured Rill gardens.
We had a short rest before heading down for our evening meal. We had booked into Shaun Rankins for a fine dining experience. This was a superb experience and I will be reviewing this separately in a future blog.
We did go for a pre-dinner drink in the luxurious wooden panelled Norton Bar. The knowledgeable bar staff helped direct us to some very interesting gin cocktails, which were presented with a bit of theatre. This is a great bar, with a real character and an outstanding selection of spirits.
After dinner, we popped our heads into Valeria’s which felt very glamourous and cool, but we didn’t stay long as we were tired and headed back to the room, falling into a deep sleep in our sumptuous bed.
The next morning before we checked out we had a wonderful full English breakfast in Fletchers restaurant. On chatting to the waiter it was good to be told about where every item on the plate had been sourced locally rom the sausages and bacon to the eggs and the bread.
We were sad to leave, but it had been a wonderful stay and was over far too quickly. I am sure we will be back to celebrate another milestone in the future and look forward to trying out the Pan Asian restaurant next time.