COUNTRYSIDE RETREAT: WINTER REVIEW OF MIDDLETHORPE HALL, YORK
We were very fortunate to visit Middlethorpe Hall in York this winter, a picturesque red brick and limestone country house hotel that is situated within 20 acres of award-winning gardens. The house was built in 1699-1701 for a man named Thomas Barlow, a prosperous master cutler who bought the Middlethorpe Estate in 1698 with hopes of establishing himself as a prestigious country gentleman.
The house became a country house hotel after a careful and considered conversion that was carried out to historically accurate standards. The interior design within the house has been beautifully finished in the style of the 18th century home, with eye-catching antiquities and elegant portrait paintings placed in every room. From the moment we arrived at Middlethorpe, we felt as though we had been transported back in time!
In September 2008, Historic House Hotels Ltd (which includes Middlethorpe Hall), were given to the National Trust to ensure their long term protection. All annual profits generated from the three hotel operations go directly towards supporting the Trust’s ongoing work. The beautiful parkland surrounding the hotel are perfect for nature lovers and attract both hotel guests and visitors to the local area. All are welcomed into the house to use the restaurant and spa facilities. A walk around the grounds is one great way to disregard the stress of the outside world.
Rooms and Suites
Middlethorpe Hall has 29 luxurious guest rooms and suites in both the main house and the courtyard, with lots of options available for single guests, couples, families and those travelling with pets! We stayed in The Sir Francis Terry Suite, a first floor courtyard suite, adjacent to the main house. The suite (which feels more like a self contained cottage) is comprised of a spacious sitting room featuring ample seating, a double bedroom with a king size bed and en suite and another separate bathroom (perfect for couples who like lots of room to get ready for dinner / outings).
This charming suite became a real home from home throughout our stay. The living room was cosy - well equipped with books and magazines, tea and coffee making facilities, a TV, writing desk, WiFi and plenty of lovely antiques and art work. It was lovely to have so much room for relaxing, reading and working on freelance tasks. Although the hotel was busy, our comfortable suite was wonderfully peaceful.
The Spa at Middlethorpe
The spa, built behind the handsome façade of two picturesque listed Edwardian cottages, sits in its own secluded garden. We were amazed to find a swimming pool, sauna, gym and treatment rooms inside the ‘cottages’! The deceptive and tranquil spa offers Decléor, Neom Organics and Jessica treatments with friendly, trained therapists. We booked a facial each on the day of our arrival - our skin was suffering a little from too much exposure to the winter elements during a recent hiking expedition. This was the perfect way to unwind together before exploring York. Therapists are able to recommend special treatments depending on your skin type / requirements.
Dinner was served in the hotel restaurant that has two AA rosettes and has been awarded "restaurant of the year" twice in the Visit York Awards! The two dining rooms (The Oak and The Pineapple) are a perfect setting for a candlelit dinner. In the summer time, you’ll catch a glimpse of the perfectly mown lawns outside until the sun goes down. In winter, the light and warmth from the roaring fire make up for the lack of sunlight.
Head Chef Ashley Binder and Pastry Chef Paul Harrison have carefully designed a special menu that showcases seasonal dishes comprised of fresh and local ingredients. We perused the tasting menu (which includes some impressive wine pairings) and the a la carte menu, eventually settling on a la carte. James chose the Soy Glazed Venison Fillet starter and Grilled Flat-Iron Steak main. The chefs kindly prepared two bespoke vegan dishes for me, using lots of fresh local vegetables and vibrant flavours. Thank you so much!
We’d love to return to Middlethorpe again in the summer months after our entirely positive winter stay. The attentive hotel staff pay close attention to detail to ensure an impeccable stay for visitors and guests, greeting each and every new arrival with a smile and unrivalled hospitality. We were provided with plenty of inspiration for local cultural hot spots, walks and excursions throughout our stay and felt that nothing was too much trouble for the team, from dining requests to the sharing of historical knowledge. The spa was a highlight for me, I love the fact that a tranquil rejuvenation haven exists within two romantic looking country cottages. We’d like to thank the hotel team for such a fantastic stay. We can thoroughly recommend Middlethorpe Hall to friend and family groups, couples and business travellers looking for a calm and sophisticated retreat.