“Boutique hotel by Gordon Ramsay in trendy Camden: fantastic food and a relaxed mood”
With only 9 bedrooms, York & Albany has an intimate feel, and we loved the original features, including wonky floorboards and an elegant stairwell. You'll find antique furniture and period prints on the walls, but rooms have all the mod cons too, including iPod docks, DVD players, and fluffy robes and slippers. Bathrooms have a mix of tubs and showers, plus revitalising toiletries by British brand Green & Spring, and you get fresh fruit and mineral water on a side table. You need to call reception if you want tea or coffee as they like to serve fresh brews.
The smallest are the Classic Rooms; Superiors are bigger and more luxurious. Deluxe Rooms are vast with super-kingsize beds or twin beds, and there's a Suite, designed by Russell Sage.
We stayed in Deluxe 7: a plum-toned room, which had a fabulous shower room with underfloor heating, but the water pressure was annoyingly erratic during our stay. We also found the towel rail curiously small given the heap of fluffy towels provided. However, we loved the squishy leather armchair and grand wardrobe that provided plenty of space for our stuff. Big windows overlooking the park kept the room light, but excellent black-out blinds ensured a good night’s sleep in the super-comfy beds.
For light sleepers we’d recommend a side room, such as Deluxe 2 or Classic 9 or 10; there’s less traffic noise. We loved the slipper bath in room 2, so that would be our top choice.
Deluxe 5 is gorgeous, with a fancy four-poster bed, and the Suite feels even more special as it has a private entrance and is enormous, with park views from the bed and dining table; you really have to have room service if you stay here! There was a huge desk for workaholics and a plush sofa to cosy up on and watch DVDs (reception has a collection). Best of all is the bathroom, which had a glass ceiling so you'd feel like you were showering under the stars.
Rather than fine dining and Michelin-starred presentation, the Y&A shows Ramsay taking a more low-key and relaxed approach. This is good, honest food, presented simply and served with aplomb. However, with a menu overseen by the exacting head chef Kim Woodward, it certainly won’t disappoint. It's a mixed bag and, alongside bistro classics such as steak and béarnaise sauce, you’ll find wood-fired pizzas and a house burger.
We ate in the ground-floor dining room and enjoyed starters of whitebait and a charcuterie plate with juicy caper berries. Faultless mains of tender steak and duck came after a small surprise plate of grey mullet with spinach, salsify and black trompette mushrooms - divine. Our waiter made some excellent suggestions to accompany each course from the comprehensive wine list. Our only gripe was that desserts were a little uninspiring, but the white chocolate parfait was delicious.
The clientele covered a broad range, from a large family to a young couple sampling the meal for their forthcoming wedding reception at the hotel. There was a relaxed and buzzy ambiance, and plenty of staff to keep things flowing smoothly. After our meal we sat in the bar to sample cocktails - all delicious. Note that the team do everything they can to accommodate hotel guests in the restaurant, but it's advisable to book in advance, just in case.
If, after a long day, you’d prefer something casual, opt for room service or order a takeout from York & Albany Pizza. During the summer, picnic hampers can be arranged for sunny days in Regent's Park.
Breakfast is served until 10.30am, and on weekends until 11.30am. Hot and cold options include Eggs Benedict or Florentine, the classic full English, and traditional porridge with honey. Everything we ate was very good.
If you’re staying a few nights, you might want to explore other local dining options. Nearby you’ll find inexpensive Japanese restaurants, a Côte brasserie and the vast pan-Asian restaurant Gilgamesh. The team at Y&A can make recommendations, and hotel guests get priority booking at all Gordon Ramsay restaurants.
Children are welcome and extra beds are available for 2-12 year olds. There's heaps to do for families in the vicinity from gaping at the latest fashion trends in Camden to visiting London Zoo. The restaurant has a children's menu and staff can provide colouring kits. Note that the hotel vibe is geared towards adults.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Some rooms, though not interconnecting, have a main entrance that can be locked and then separate doors to the actual rooms themselves, so they're good for families. All rooms except Classics can fit a rollaway bed or have space for a travel cot
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
There's a children's menu in the restaurant