The vibe is lounge-y and fun – this is the second of the small-group, family-friendly GuestHouse hotels – with witty touches, such as model trains, that reference the city. Throughout, walls are hung with a jolly jumble of contemporary portraits, still lives and framed vintage worksheets for DIY home furniture. Bedrooms, on the other hand, are spare and light, with milky walls, floaty muslin and – oh joy! – turntables and vinyls. Just the right restorative space after doing the city’s sights.
- We love the witty, arty and assured style, from the black-painted violins lining the staircase to the vintage-inspired dining room and the eclectic art collection
- Fun touches in the bedrooms include retro turntables and vinyls, plus hospitality trays and home-made biscuits hidden in a doll’s house
- If arriving by train, the hotel can meet with a luggage-bike and whisk away your bags
- The Pantry’s complimentary treats – ice cream, sweets, cakes, crisps and soft drinks – are generous and irresistible
- The hotel sits on a busy main road – extra care needed with children – with no interesting views
- Apart from a small road-facing terrace at the front, there’s no garden or outside space
- The ‘small’ and ‘standard’ rooms (around half the total) can be a squeeze; you need to be tidy
- The hotel is very dog- and child-friendly; there’s a chance it may not be as tranquil as you might wish
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- 38 rooms
- Restaurant (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Bicycles Available
Spread over three floors, and a warren of corridors and unexpected stairs, the 38 rooms share the same look, although varying in shape and layout. The style is a mix of romance, minimalism and whimsy that makes the most of not over-large spaces (suites aside). Pale panelled walls, painted floorboards and fuss-free furnishings lend a feeling of space, while sheer curtains around four-poster beds dial up the romance. The off-white and rust-red colour scheme works better than it sounds; the red-painted floorboards add a rich warm tone.
Neat touches include the wall-hung Anglepoise-style bedside lamps and a white-painted dolls house to hide the tea and coffee equipment. Portable turntables are a stroke of genius.
Underfloor-heated bathrooms are simple creamy affairs, and well thought-through with lights and towel rails just where you need them. We liked the ‘Large Guest Rooms’ for their extra space: No 10 is handily opposite the Pantry (complimentary treats), No 40 is tucked in the eaves.
- In room treatments available
The Pearly Cow restaurant offers Yorkshire sourced food with a focus on wild produce treated with respect, and nice shout-outs to local suppliers. Starters could be tempura Whitby prawns or garlic baked oysters with Wensleydale cheese. Mains are divided into Plant – maybe wild mushroom and tofu wellington, Ice – think chalk stream trout tartare, and Fire – such as loin of Yorkshire lamb or half-roast Yorkshire Dales chicken – all meat is slow-grown. There are also sharing options for two such as Fruit de Mer or Cote de Boeuf.
Kick off dinner with the signature Old Fashioned Parkin cocktail before moving into the broody dining room, a low-lit modern Georgian salon - dark hardwood floors, soft, ambient lighting, elegant draping - where the menu is suitably sophisticated.
You don’t have to wait until evening to eat: lunch (Fri-Sun only) and the signature afternoon tea (dainty sandwiches, canapés, scones) help stave off hunger pangs, although if you've been concentrating at breakfast – an interesting line-up including Wye Valley asparagus and slow roast tomatoes, and brown butter waffles with a choice of toppings – you should be in good shape.
- Coffee / tea making
- Coffee maker
- Restaurants nearby
- Room service
- Treat yourself to a soothing treatment in the hotel’s cocooning brick-vaulted basement spa: the range includes lemongrass sugar scrubs, bespoke massages and facials, and uses Pinks Boutique organic products
- Be awed by the vastness of York Minster, Britain’s largest Gothic cathedral with treasures including the tennis-court-sized medieval East Window
- Children to entertain? Whisk them to the National Railway Museum (free) with acres of trains to clamber around including record-breaking steam locomotive, Mallard, and Queen Victoria’s silk-upholstered royal carriage
- Or take a time-travel ride through the streets, sounds and smells of 10th-century York at the Jorvik Viking Centre, with recreated houses, shops and workshops on the site of 20th-century excavations
- Explore the lesser-visited Walmgate and Fossgate streets, whose independent shops and eateries include vintage clothing, second-hand books, artisan delis and ethnic restaurants
- Walk along the River Ouse or around the medieval walls, followed by coffee and cakes at Bettys, the renowned Yorkshire café-tearooms where a curd tart or fat rascal (type of scone) is de rigueur
Activities on site or nearby include:
The hotel is well-sorted for families; most bedrooms take an extra bed, and can be set up with mini-tipis, books, an ‘adventure’ guide to York plus instant cameras for snapping favourite views while out and about. There are children’s menus plus a pantry for those necessary little treats. There's no charge for children aged three and under.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
All rooms except Small Guest Rooms can take an extra camp bed or baby cot, while the Clifton Suite is your best bet for a family of four as it has a single sofa bed and can take an extra bed or baby cot in addition. Some of the Small Guest Rooms interconnect.
Families Should Know:
The hotel is on a busy main road, take care with younger kids.
- Airport: 50-55 minutes
- Hospital: 12 minutes
- Shops: 8 minutes walk
No.1 is just outside York's city walls on the main road (A19) north, in the Bootham-Clifton area of period townhouses and schools. It's a five-minute walk from Bootham Bar, one of the city’s medieval gateways.
York station, a 15-minute walk or five minutes by taxi, is on the East Coast line and cross-country routes with, for example, direct journeys to London Kings Cross (2h), Edinburgh (2.5h), Birmingham (3h) and Manchester (1.5h). It's worth arriving by train to be met by their luggage-bike!
The hotel has a private car park, but note that much of the city centre is pedestrianised. If you want to hire a car, see our recommendations. London is 4.5 hours' drive, Edinburgh 4 hours and Manchester 1 hour 45 minutes.
Nearest airports are Leeds Bradford (55m) and Teesside International (1hr10m), or Doncaster Sheffield (DSA, 1hr15m).
Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.
- Leeds Bradford Airport 50.0 km LBA
- Teesside International 75.0 km MME
- Beach 70.0 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.1 km