No.1 by GuestHouse

York, Northern England, United Kingdom Book from Book from £116 per night

A Georgian townhouse with cool colours and lounge-y vibes, plus polished Yorkshire food and a cocooning spa to recharge

No.1's classic Georgian frontage, with its stone-pillared portico and shiny-black double-doors, suggests townhouse grandeur, pomp and circumstance. Step inside, however, and… hello, this is rather cool! Black curtains frame a high-ceilinged hall with a mirrored cabinet of flickering silver candle-sticks, and a black-walled stairwell (decorated with black violins) that sweeps up three floors to a glass canopy. To the left, a toy train rumbles around a fire-warmed clubby bar where Johnny Cash plays on a turntable. To the right, a golden-hued sitting-room, with creamy floorboards and big abstract art, invites relaxation with velvet armchairs and sofas. Downstairs a vaulted spa beckons, while at the far end a bright dining room promises straight-talking Yorkshire food.

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.
Covid update: see our Flexible Booking Policy.

Highs

  • We love the witty, arty and assured style, from the black-painted violins lining the staircase to the eau-de-nil 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

Lows

  • 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

York is a year-round city with attractions rarely closing. Weather is typically British - i.e. variable - though extremes are rare, with the exception of flooding during heavy rains (the River Ouse has numerous tributaries and the land is flat). Festivals galore include February’s Jorvik Viking Festival – craft workshops, staged battles – August’s racing season highlight, Ebor Festival, and December’s Christmas markets.

Our top tips

York is compact and busy, with car-free narrow streets - so pack your flatties for walking (or cycling on the hotel's dinky Brompton bikes). Everyone heads for the Minster but York has a dozen other churches; one gem is Holy Trinity with its Georgian box pews. For a quiet, yet central, spot to rest or eat your sandwiches, pop into the garden of the Treasurer’s House with its sunken lawn, mellow stone, wooden benches and Minster views.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 39
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

Spread over three floors, and a warren of corridors and unexpected stairs, the 39 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.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Hairdryer
  • Phone
  • Record player
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

No.1 offers Yorkshire comfort food with polish, and nice shout-outs to local suppliers. Mussels with Yorkshire cider or salt-baked beetroot with Yellison’s goat’s cheese could be followed by (the very popular) venison cutlet with soft polenta or the lovely-named Scarborough woof (cat-fish, apparently) with posh mushy peas. Retro classics such as prawn cocktail and bavette steak feature, too, while the dessert Jaffa cake, we discovered, is a tour de force of chocolate and orange sorbet.

Kick off dinner with the signature Old Fashioned Parkin cocktail before moving into the breezy dining room, a blast of eau-de-nil – walls, tables, curtains and cushions – with artful arrangements of white porcelain.

You don’t have to wait until evening to eat: elevenses (croque Madame, fig rolls), lunch, afternoon tea all help stave off hunger pangs, although if you've been concentrating at breakfast – an interesting line-up including Yorkshire apple bircher, and wild mushrooms with onion purée – you should be in good shape.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • 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:

  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being

Kids

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.

Best for:

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.

Baby equipment:

  • High chair

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

A lovely kids menu: begin with Tiddly bits such as Kiev bites, hummus and crudités, move on to Mini meals including Yorkshire hot dog and skinny fries, fresh pasta, mini fish and chips, with Sweet stuff like ice cream, chocolate fondant and fruit salad to finish.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • National Railway Museum
  • Jorvik Viking Centre
  • York's Chocolate Story has guided tours through chocolate history
  • Yorkshire Museum & Gardens which house York Observatory
  • DIG: An Archaeological Adventure for Kids
  • The York Dungeon

Families Should Know:

The hotel is on a busy main road, take care with younger kids.

Distances:

  • Airport: 50-55 minutes
  • Hospital: 12 minutes
  • Shops: 8 minutes walk
Kid Friendly:

Location

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.

By Train:
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!

By Car:
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.

By Air:
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.

Airports:

  • Leeds Bradford Airport 50.0 km LBA
  • Teesside International 75.0 km MME

Other:

  • Beach 70.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
9/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
10/10
Overall

Fantastic hotel. Beautifully designed communal spaces and bedrooms. We stayed in a Small Guest Room which was compact but well thought through with a beautiful four poster bed in the middle. The dolls house storage for tea and coffee was a lovely touch - a little tip the cups for the tea and coffee are stored in the hinged roof of the house (something we took nearly 2 days to find).
The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly. The hotel bar has a lovely atmosphere, great cocktails and a nice group of local residents were popping in for late night drinks. Breakfast was substantial - it would perhaps have been nice to have the continental laid out for guests to help themselves as portion sizes were generous.
The location is great - a short 5 to 10 minute stroll into York's centre. It is on a fairly busy road but the traffic noise was fairly minimal and stopped during the night.
I had a lovely spa treatment in the cosy basement treatment space.

10/10,

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Rates for No.1 by GuestHouse

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