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The Mount Royale Hotel, York
This well-established, family-owned hotel, in two splendid William IV houses, offers a warm and characterful style much loved by returning guests. Public rooms are furnished with an eclectic mix of antiques and more contemporary items while bedrooms - all large - are more traditional. A few of the latter lead to the large rear garden which, surprisingly, has a small outdoor pool and hot tub, as well as a log cabin sauna. The restaurant also overlooks the garden and serves confidently cooked classic dishes with a twist. Service is warm and friendly, with many loyal and long-serving staff. Outside the city walls, on the road to the racecourse, it's a mile from the busy centre, but it offers free parking if you don't mind walking.
Despite the walking - which, in any case, works up an appetite for dinner - we like being able to retreat here away from the city's bustle.
The Mount Royale is just off a main road into York city centre near the greenery of the Knavesmire.
By car: the hotel is 40 minutes from Leeds, 1 hour 30 mins from Manchester and 4 hours 10 mins from London. There is free private parking at the hotel.
By train: London Kings Cross to York takes around 2 hours. The station is a 5-minute taxi ride from the hotel. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Racegoers will find it a handy, and comfortable, base (York racecourse is less than a mile) as will visitors who prefer to be out of the city during the evenings. The mix of different styles makes a refreshing change from hotels that are over-designed.
Service & Facilities
A wander in the garden, even when damp, perks up jaded spirits after a day of sight-seeing and shopping. Dogs are welcomed with a treat on arrival, a sausage at breakfast, and are allowed everywhere except the restaurant. Dog-owners can eat meals, with their pets, in the lounge.
- Outdoor pool
- Free Wi-Fi
The four garden suites are more modern, with oodles of space and patio doors direct to the garden. Their size makes them immediately relaxing, with plenty of room for you both to collapse after a day's walking and sight-seeing.
Standard, Executive, Suite, Garden Suite, Honeymoon Suite, Penthouse Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom, TV, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee facilities
Food & Drink
Serving staff are top-notch, mixing fun with formality; and they're knowledgeable, too. The Coravin wine system allowed me to try more exceptional wines - usually only offered by the bottle, and way above my budget - by the glass, such as a Saint-Ėmilion.
Oxo's Bar: meat and cheese platters, homemade soup.