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Seeking the ultimate in relaxation, Tamsin Burnett-Hall visits this deluxe hotel and wellness retreat with Michelin-starred dining
On the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Grantley Hall is within easy reach of Ripon, Harrogate and Thirsk, with York only 30 miles away.
Luxurious and individual, with original works of art and sculpture everywhere. Forty-seven deluxe rooms and suites are divided between the original Queen Anne building and the modern Fountains Wing, which also houses the spa. Our plush corner suite had buttoned velvet sofas, a Klafs steam room-cum-shower, a dreamy bed that was at least as wide as it was long, plus one of those clever TVs that displays a painting while you’re not watching it. We could even pick and choose from a ‘menu’ of different types of robes!
While there are no fewer than four restaurants and five lounges and bars, we were there to take the 10-course ‘Taste of Home’ culinary journey that tells the tale of Yorkshire chef Shaun Rankin. Dishes sound minimal on the menu but deliver layers of flavour and texture: ‘spring garden’ is as appealing to the eye as the palate, with raw baby veg growing out of a mushroom crumb soil that hides a verdant sabayon beneath. Shaun’s signature dish of ‘bread, butter, dripping, beef tea’ is an homage to his grandmother but given the fine-dining treatment; intensely flavoured beef broth is served in a glass teapot with a mini sourdough loaf, herb and flowered butters, alongside a marrowbone topped with an aerated beef dripping cloud that is simply sensational. Matched with paired wines (and even a local beer for one course), this Michelin-starred restaurant fully lived up to its awards.
You’ll definitely want to make the most of the Three Graces spa, which epitomises the three ‘R’s – restoration, relaxation and rejuvenation. Unwind in the indoor-to-outdoor hydrotherapy pool, or work your way through the sauna, steam and snow rooms, then relax with a drink on a heated bed or plush lounger – pure bliss.
Do make time to explore the beautifully landscaped gardens that surround the hall, especially the tranquil Japanese garden that was created back in 1910, with water features fed by streams leading from the River Skell, which runs through the grounds.
Smart casual for daytime wear around the hotel and in the lounges, poolwear for the spa, and something glam but stylish (rather than formal) for evenings in one of the restaurants or bars.
A twilight evening wander through the Zen-like Japanese garden before dinner, enjoying the peace and tranquility of this naturalised space of rocks, pools and trickling water, with the breeze rustling the leaves of maple trees and bamboo.
Pop your swimming costume, book and other essentials in a tote bag so that you can grab it from your luggage and head straight down to the spa on arrival even if your room isn’t ready; the concierge team will directly deliver your bags so that they are waiting for you.
Bed and breakfast rates start at £500 per night for a double room and £600 including dinner. Day spa visits start from £245. Visit grantleyhall.co.uk