ESCAPE LONDON – The West Park Hotel – Elegance, Luxury and First Class Service in the heart of Yorkshire
Situated close to the Yorkshire Moors and the Historic Roman town of York lies the historic spa town of Harrogate and the West Park Hotel. Since I have never been to Harrogate or the Yorkshire Moors, and the last time I visited York I was 8 years old, I jumped at the chance of a weekend at the West Park Hotel. It seemed the perfect base for sight-seeing and exploring the local countryside and the website photos suggested a luxurious, newly renovated boutique hotel, with comfy, spacious bedrooms, elegant dining and exceptional service. Sounded perfect! So was I disappointed, absolutely NOT!
Harrogate is about 200 miles from London, a good 4 hour journey at the best of times. I was lucky to be travelling from Liverpool, so 2 hours after leaving, I pulled up outside the hotel. The hotel had no parking facilities, however there was a NCP car park around the corner which charged only 8 pounds a day, or plenty of on street parking outside the hotel, that was cheap and free from 6pm and all day Sunday.
The hotel lies in a row of lovely Victorian buildings and opposite spacious parkland. Al fresco tables line the outside of the hotel, a perfect place for having a glass of wine, relaxing and watching the world go by. First impressions – lovely! Entry to the hotel is through the bar area, which was chic and modern, filled with comfy chairs and numerous well-dressed waiters. I was directed through to the hotel and greeted with true Yorkshire warmth. A short moment later, I had been booked in for my evening meal and personally escorted up to my room.
Al fresco tables line the outside of the hotel, a perfect place for having a glass of wine, relaxing and watching the world go by.
Given the websites’s promise of “luxurious design and decor” I couldn’t wait to see my room. So far I had not been disappointed but would the room be a let down? The door opened to reveal a spotless, spacious room well-decorated in greens and browns. Dominating the room was an inviting, super king sized bed piled with fluffy pillows and cushions. The bathroom was exquisite and of superb quality and contained a power shower, multiple fluffy towels and the largest bath I have ever seen in a hotel room, complete with the complimentary West Park Hotel rubber duck, that was yours to take away with you! Even better were the complimentary L’occitane products.
But that wasn’t all. Inside the wardrobe, next to the dressing gown and slippers, was another treat. A Nespresso machine complete with pods-heaven to a coffee lover like myself. So far I was impressed. The West Park Hotel was delivering everything it promised: Luxury, beautiful decor and excellent hospitality.
I had a few hours to wait until my dinner reservation and I decided to relax in the facilities. First a trip down to the bar for a well earned glass of wine. I was pleased to see that there was an extensive wine list at very reasonable prices. The bar also boasted a wide range of local real ales, that would please any beer enthusiast, and over 30 cocktails. Service was quick and efficient and I was soon relaxing with a tasty merlot. The bar is obviously a popular place for the locals, as it soon began to fill up. People were obviously enjoying the modern, yet relaxed environment and the excellent service.
The West Park Hotel was delivering everything it promised: Luxury, beautiful decor and excellent hospitality.
Following a fabulous power shower with the L’Occitane products, I dressed for dinner. Although there was no formal dress code, the surroundings oozed luxury and so jeans felt wrong! I was immediately welcomed and escorted to my table. The usual dining area was booked for a private function and so that evening we dined in an area next to the bar. It was cozy with lovely chandeliers and beautifully set tables. Unfortunately, it was quite loud and hard to have a conversation as it was adjacent to the bar, which by then was filled with people enjoying their Friday night.
So the food. For starter I ordered the Smithy House Farm pork belly with earl grey prune purée and sweet onions. It was absolutely delicious and the sauce was gorgeous. The pork was moist, and not dry which is so often the case and I could have eaten it all over again. Although there were several main courses that caught my eye, I opted for steak, as I thought this would help me compare the food with other restaurants. It was cooked to perfection and served with a good portion of homemade chips, however, unfortunately, the peppercorn sauce was a little disappointing. Throughout my meal, the waiter service was excellent: unobtrusive yet efficient and friendly.
With a full stomach, I headed back to my room and climbed into that fabulous bed and relaxed in front of the flat screen TV whilst making the most of the hotel’s complimentary wi-fi. After an amazing sleep, I awoke early, ready for a day of sight seeing. I headed down for breakfast and was again seated by a friendly waiter with a beaming smile. There was a great selection of local food on offer: fresh juices, cereals, fruit and yoghurts, together with hot food. I opted for a cheese omelette which was perfect-lovely and fluffy and filled with loads of melted cheese. Together with a pot of very good, freshly ground coffee, this was the perfect start to the day. In addition my waitress went out of her way to welcome me and was filled with local knowledge and gave me some great tips for the weekend. It was thanks to her that I didn’t try and park in York, but instead used the park and ride, which was cheaper and hassle free!
It is the small touches that explain why the West Park Hotel is known for its service and hospitality.
After a day of sightseeing in York, and exploring the local countryside, I returned late in the afternoon. On entering the hotel, more warmth and welcome from the staff and genuine interest as to how I had enjoyed my day. Following a glass of wine, delivered to my room, and the most sumptuous bath, I was so relaxed I had to drag myself down for dinner, but I’m glad I did.
Dinner was back in the main dining room, and what a difference. A relaxed, peaceful atmosphere-the perfect contrast to the previous night. All of the ambiance I would have expected from a luxury hotel. A myriad of bustling waiters, quick to serve you and look after all your needs. For my starter, I couldn’t help myself, I had to have the pork again as it was so yummy. This time for the main course, I chose the Cleveland Hills Lamb rump, with dauphinoise potatoes and courgette and slow roasted tomato. It was divine: perfectly cooked pink lamb with tasty potatoes. And as a treat, I had to try a desert. They all looked so nice, but in the end I chose the crime brûlée, which turned out to be the perfect end to a fabulous meal.
After another excellent sleep and filling breakfast, it was unfortunately time to leave. I didn’t manage to fit in all the things I wanted to do, but that gives me every excuse to return to the West Park Hotel.
The West Park Hotel truly delivers everything it promises. If you want a luxurious weekend away, with elegant rooms, excellent food, fantastic hospitality and impeccable service, then this is the place for you.
The West Park Hotel, 19 West Park, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 1BJ
Heart London Magazine 5 • Rating
Penny, Heart London Magazine