La Rosa Hotel
East Tce, Whitby, YO21 3HB
This classic early Victorian hotel once frequented by Lewis Carroll has been given the ‘La Rosa’ treatment and is furnished almost entirely with curios and antique finds from auctions, flea markets and car-boot sales. All eight double rooms are themed, with Stoker for instance full of Dracula memorabilia and Arabesque like a sultan’s boudoir. The attic is a self-contained flat for six people called the Crow’s Nest and featuring three double bedrooms and a dressing-up box.
Cottage Leas Country Hotel
Middleton, YO18 8PN
Being almost two miles up a dead-end single-track road means that this place is quiet, quiet, quiet – and that’s exactly why its devotees like it… as long as they have a car to get here, of course. With Cottage Leas as your base you won’t have far to drive to reach places of interest; Pickering is only three miles away, Dalby Forest nine miles and Helmsley 13 miles. The hotel itself is an ex-farmhouse that has been much extended, with 11 en-suite bedrooms, and is run by the Booth family (mother and two daughters). The excellent restaurant, popular with residents and non-residents alike, prides itself on using local and seasonal farm produce.
Howardian Hills and Ryedale
The Old Lodge
Old Maltongate, Malton
The Old Lodge is a 16th-century mansion that has retained its Tudor feel despite offering luxurious 21st-century facilities. It is built on the site of the Norman Malton Castle (I remember watching Time Team dig here on TV) and the old castle gardens are still there behind the hotel. Relaxing in these rural acres, you would never guess that the town centre was so close, but the Old Lodge is surprisingly central – just a minute or two on foot from the shops and pubs of Malton and a great base for exploring the town. This is a popular wedding venue so, if you want a quiet stay, its worth ringing to check there’s not one on while you’re there.
Burythorpe, YO17 9LB
Originally built as an Edwardian gentleman’s residence, Burythorpe House is now an elegant country-house hotel located just north of the village of the same name. Even if it wasn’t so good I’d be tempted to stay here purely because it is owned by Eric Clapton, one of my favourite rock guitarists. It’s 14 abbey-themed double rooms are all en suite and range in price from less than £100 for a small one (Whitby) to £200-ish for the most luxurious (Rievaulx). The wood-panelled Priory Restaurant is very highly regarded by residents and non-residents alike, and surrounding the hotel is an acre of beautiful garden featuring an all-weather tennis court. Dogs are not catered for.
Chapterhouse St, York
If you like staying in old buildings with an interesting history, then this could be your perfect hotel because Grays Court claims to be the oldest continuously occupied building in the country. Commissioned in 1080 by the then Archbishop of York for the Treasurer of the Minster, it has been owned by the Church or the Crown ever since… until 2005 when it was sold to the current owner, Helen Heraty. She has overseen its development into a five-star boutique hotel with 11 themed double rooms, family rooms and suites, serene gardens and private access to the city walls. If you were expecting to pay through the nose for this historic opulence you would be right, but Grays Court is a very special place.
For more information, see Mike Bagshaw’s guide: