Situated next to the train station, The Royal York Hotel has always been a place we’ve walked past on the way to meeting family and friends in the city centre for a great day out. Hotels are places to stay and if you’re not going to be staying (or having a meeting), then there’s no reason to enter, right?
Time to change that old way of thinking…
The Grade II listed building has undergone a £15 million refurbishment; I was invited for afternoon tea and promptly fell in love with the place.
Recognised as one of the most architecturally significant railway hotels in the country (formerly The Royal Station Hotel), whilst the iconic exterior hasn’t changed much, the inside has undergone a rather epic transformation thanks to interior architects Goddard Littlefair.
Not only has it been both restored and modernised, but a new bar (Chapter House) and restaurant (Refectory Kitchen & Terrace) have been created. These two destination concepts will attract new business, ours included.
Whilst I could tell you about the afternoon tea we were invited to taste, I’d rather show you what really made us linger longer: the interior decor.
The sheer size of the building naturally lends itself to a lofty grandeur but the design aspects and furnishings incorporated with the refurbishing have taken 4 Star Luxury to another level.
Having not seen the ‘before’ I am relying on my Mothers’ word who tells me ‘it was all dark wood everywhere’. The photos below show the ‘Garden Room’; the afternoon tea takes place in here – the colour palette which adorns the Victoria architecture is perfectly balanced. Sage greens, softest greys and mauves’ accents of aged metallic’s and crushed velvets cohere without competing.
The afternoon tea was lovely and staff knew the menu inside out; however the most memorable food was the plate of savoury appetisers. The detail in the flavours was exquisite. What followed by way of the three-tier plate of sandwiches, scones and sweets, was too nondescript for my taste-buds.
As we sat among a low-level of hubbub, looking out over beautiful gardens onto York Minster, we couldn’t help thinking how calm and relaxed it was. We settled we’d rather that any day than queuing round the block as you might do in other well-known tea rooms.
We finished with a cup of hand-picked Jasmine tea from China, then took to exploring the hotels quiet luxury further.
A rather grand staircase ascends to the 159 bedrooms which have all been refurbished. Whilst we didn’t get to see the rooms, a fellow blogger has, visit Pouting in Heels’ Post to see the rooms here.
Things we noted; the staff were truly excellent and there was no sense of snobbery about the place. Some places you go and you’re not sure if it’ll accommodate everyone?… The Royal, not so – we felt right at home.
Chapter House bar and games room is open daily serving hot and cold drinks. Bar nibbles indulge in British classics such as black pudding sausage roll with HP Sauce, Fountains Gold toast with Branston, and Bridlington scampi with tartare sauce.
The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace (below) can be seen round to the left as soon as you exit the train station doors. It’s a fabulous space, seating 126 indoors with a further 35 covers outdoors… we picked up a menu and have already seen ourselves dining here in Summer… all we need now is the weather!
Will we return to The Royal York? Most definitely. Away from the bustle of the city, it will be the perfect place to get lunch and drinks in the most beautiful surroundings. I hope the hotel will continue to see much success and a return for the sizeable investment. Visit the hotel website here.