Grays Court: York

Grays Court is a beautiful boutique hotel nestled in the exclusive Minster Quarter of York with seven luxuriously unique bedrooms overlooking their cobbled courtyard, walled gardens and the famous Minster. With historic views and only a minute-away from the City’s medieval labyrinth of streets and quaint boutiques Grays Court the perfect destination for a short break.

As a family run establishment the small and experienced team did everything to make sure my stay was memorable; from serving warm scones and Prosecco when I arrived to giving advice on the best things to do in the city. The unique styling of the house is designed and furnished with a beguiling mixture of period elegance. Although the aesthetics of the hotel look as though they were created by a professional with an artistic eye all of the furniture was sourced by the hotel’s owner who has a remarkable talent for interior design. Meeting the team behind the business made me want to fall in love with the hotel as soon as I arrived. The perfectly personal touches and attentive nature of the staff made me will for their success. I wasn’t the only one thought this the case as the other guests I briefly chatted to in the bar agreed that the  atmosphere at Grays Court was individual, intimate and friendly.

Rhiannon, the hotel’s events coordinator, gave me a tour of the historic heritage property and told me the about the 900 years of colourful history it boasts.  Once owned by the Duke of Somerset, Queen Jane Seymour’s brother, and visited by King James I, James II and the Duke of Cumberland. Sir Thomas Fairfax, Archbishop Robert Holgate and Archbishop Thomas Young have also owned and lived in Grays Court.

The long gallery, my favourite room in the hotel, is a Jacobean oak-panelled gallery decorated with leather armchairs and soft sofas. It’s the perfect place to take a newspaper and relax in the calm surroundings with a cup of tea as the light streamed in through the stained glass windows of the gallery. Stepping out in to the picturesque garden and wandering around the building steeped in medieval history made it clear that Grays Court has the unique feel of being a country house in the city.

As well as seven bedrooms, Grays Court offer lunch and dinner. As the hotel is a beautiful and original venue it’s certainly worth a visit so if you can’t afford to stay overnight treat yourself to dinner or afternoon tea in their gardens when the weather brightens up. Whatever your visit be sure to try and get a seat in the quaint alcove of the Long Room!

I was lucky enough to stay in The Cumberland Room, a beautiful suite with bay windows overlooking the garden and city walls. The room is named after Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, who in July 23rd 1746 was received by the Archbishop of York in the Long Gallery; they went on to dine in the Sterne Room. After the meal, the Lord Mayor presented His Royal Highness with the freedom of the city.

Similar to in the Long Gallery the antique furniture is thoughtfully-sourced by the hotel team and mixed with contemporary touches for added comfort; my favourite being the ornate oriental table topped with magazines and a historical guide to York. As the bathroom of the suite featured a luxurious free-standing bathtub and double walk-in monsoon shower, it’s the perfect suite for a romantic getaway. The complimentary Clarins products are perfect for pampering yourself and its hard to resist a bubble bath after a day of sightseeing! After a night of heavy slumber sleeping on goose-down pillows it was lovely to awaken to the sound of birdsong and the Minster Bells, chiming from eight o’clock in the morning.

Room prices start from a reasonable £175 and include a hearty breakfast in the dining room. Great food and drinks are certainly celebrated at Grays Court, and it must be a great help to the chefs to have such a fantastic array of ingredients right on their doorstep.  As well as a buffet of pain au chocolats, yogurt and fresh fruit juices the cooked breakfast menu offered eggs benefit, kippers, smoked salmon with scrambled egg and, of course, a traditional English breakfast with all the trimmings. As a couple with a sweet tooth we couldn’t resist the pancakes topped with bacon and maple syrup whilst we enjoyed our coffee and the view of the garden in the mild spring weather.

If you are planning to visit York, either for the history, a romantic break away or you’re just looking for a special and unique place to stay then Grays Court is a perfect choice. You can browse the website and book a room here: www.grayscourtyork.com


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