Review – The Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa, York
Sunday 2nd December 2012
“Are you not going to tell me where we are going?” I texted, slightly anxious at letting Dave pick our first mini-break together without my input.
“Did you know there are only 24 5* hotels outside of London? ;)”, was the response. I relaxed a little, this indicated that it was indeed a hotel we were staying at, not Center Parks as I feared, and likely 5* hotel at that. I’d never stayed in a 5* hotel. Relaxation turned into excitement.
Within less than 2 hours after leaving London we were in York, and I needn’t have worried about a thing. The boy did good, in fact the boy exceeded every expectation, as did the hotel.
The Cedar Court Grand Hotel is exactly that – Grand. Built in 1906 originally as the headquarters of the North Eastern Railway, one of the most powerful public companies in Britain at the time, using only the best materials despite the recession, it was described in the Yorkshire Herald as a “Huge Palace of Business”. From the outside it is not a building that would seem at all out of place in Mayfair or Knightsbridge, and, to my delight, internally it is completely in keeping with this notion.
After a few squeals of delight at the sight of the exterior and a few approving squeezes of Dave’s hand, we dragged our cases and bags towards the door and once again I was reminded of Knightsbridge. The doorman, an old fellow with a greying beard and the friendliest of smiles, opened the door with one hand and grabbed my suitcase as I fought to drag it up the steps with the other. I was instantly reminded of the doormen at Harrods, who open the door and respectfully tilt their heads as they do so. But, bizarrely, I was also reminded of Santa. Maybe it was the biting wind and cold temperatures that threatened to snow outside, maybe it was his merry disposition.. all I know is for the 3 days we were there, I expected him to burst into fits of “Ho-ho-ho”ing, every time he opened the door for us.
We were early, our room wasn’t ready till 2pm. I wasn’t bothered, whilst Dave sorted out the paperwork with the friendly receptionist, I was already looking up the staircase and craning my neck peering nosily around corners. It was just as palatial inside as it was out. The bellboy offered to look after the cases until the room was ready, and like excitable kids we ran off to explore..
Just past “The Whiskey Room”, deep peacock and charcoal coloured walls are paired with dark wood accents and cosy, plush, mink chesterfield sofa’s awaited. Sinking back into them.. we started sinking the wine. I fancied that Winston Churchill would not have felt out of place here, it was full of old-boy charm and with the row upon row of Whiskey’s racked up behind the bar. I actually doubted that anyone could feel out of place. I shook the image of Winston out of my head and nuzzled back into Dave. We had romancing to do!
The bedroom didn’t disappoint either. Despite the chilly weather outside and the vast floor to ceiling windows, the room was as warm and cosy as the bar. Sporting an amply stocked minibar and 2 bathrooms stocked full of complimentary Molten Brown toiletries, it catered precisely for our needs, both my drinking habit and Dave’s hair grooming regime wouldn’t suffer.
What I could only imagine was a super-king-sized bed, was adorned with the plumpest, heaviest feather-down pillows and duvets and a high count cotton thread. I lost myself in the bed.. and Dave. Despite being a giant 6′ 4″, I could hardly see him from the other side and I apparrently looked like a Hobbit.
What we’d really come for though, lay deep in the bottom of the hotel. The Jacuzzi. The glamorous, Art Deco, mirrored and chrome elevator to take us down to the lower ground was opulent enough to be fair, but the spa was the icing on the cake. The Spa staff were attentive, smiley.. you could tell that they (as with everyone else in the hotel to be fair) loved their jobs. The softest, whitest, fluffy towels were handed over, and we made our way to the changing rooms where the tiled floors were pleasantly heated under foot, and the the soap and moisturiser dispensers were stocked with Espa products. The pool is heated to a constant 24 degrees, and the jacuzzi, steam and sauna, is in keeping with the rest of the hotel – spotless and uncrowded.
Back at the room that evening, a knock at the door at 8pm. Turndown service. This hotel does not just make your bed in the morning, it pops back in the evening too should you need. You come back from your dinner out to find another immaculately made bed and your towels impeccably straight again. Dave answered the door on the second night (we’d decided to stay in and play scrabble). “Sir, just to let you know, it’s going to be very cold tomorrow, colder than today. Please take these” – 2 x complimentary Molten Brown Lip Rescues delivered to our door.