When you have a toddler it’s hard to imagine doing anything relaxing, let alone a relaxing weekend away! Factoring in meal times, naps, changes of clothes and the general hullabaloo that an 18 month brings in to your life means that, more often than not, most parents chose to not venture too far away from home – but oh how you need a rest and a break from the washing and clearing away of toys!
When we were asked to go along and savour the delights of Yorkshire’s only 5-star hotel, The Grand Hotel and Spa in the wonderful City of York, I could not have been more thrilled. This hotel was one of the first places that my husband and I went to when we met 5 years ago and it’s still one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed in and we have stayed in a great many hotels.
Built in a beautiful Victorian building, it use to be part of the old Yorkshire railway. It’s a magical place and there is something very much of the Harry Potter, Hogwarts Express about it, with its decadent railway features and grandeur. I feel certain there is a secret passageway in there somewhere that leads to the ministry of magic or perhaps we could purchase a ticket to Hogwarts in the old vault door (that will not open, staff tell me many have tried) in the beautifully decorated spa.
Even though it has a feel of old England about it, it does not feel dated at all, on the contrary it is very up to date in its décor, fixtures and fittings but they are very much in theme and so the building’s original charm has all been kept intact.
As excited as I was packing to go to back to this fabulous hotel, I couldn’t help but wonder how on earth we would be able to relax as we were also taking our darling son Phoenix with us. It seemed like an impossibility as he pulled clothes out of my case as quickly as I was folding them up and putting them back in again, that we would be able to relax at all.
We arrived by train, although they do have a wonderful valet parking service. It was raining but we were greeted with the sunniest of welcomes by the porter at the Grand entrance. Only a short walk away from York Railway Station, this hotel is a brilliantly situated for both the City of York and travel.
It took only a short while to check in and our son Phoenix was silenced by the wonderful floors and ceiling decorations. The staff were friendly and made a lovely fuss of us all, which seemed to please Phoenix even more.
Our room was so spacious with two (yes two) bathrooms, one with a bath and one with a shower. Light and bright with a marble finish, both daddy and Phoenix were in their element as they scooted around munching on some chocolates the hotel had kindly left us.
Here is a little Facebook Live! vlog I did on arrival
We also had a lounge area, which with a child is invaluable, as it meant at nap times we didn’t all have to sit silently in the dark while little Phoenix napped dreaming of sabotaging our weekend break.
On arriving, we decided to jump straight in to our swimming costumes and head on down to the spa. I was slightly worried that we would be made to feel awkward for taking a child down to the pool but actually the hotel had even left a tiny dressing gown for Phoenix to walk down to the pool in (just like mummy and daddy) and some lovely little slippers.
Here he is in his after spa toddler gown!
The pool was warm and calming and the staff were so welcoming. We all had a relaxing swim and even though we were pushing it for Phoenix's lunch time slightly, he was in his element and loved every minute of his time in the pool. It’s so nice that they allow kids in the pool because it meant we could all enjoy that together, rather than me and daddy exercising in relay, one swimming while the watches the baby. The fact we could all enjoy the pool together as a family, made the stay more relaxing than ever.
After our swim, we all went up to the room and had a delicious room service sandwich. Then Phoenix and I went for an afternoon nap, while daddy also fell asleep while watching football in the lounge area of the room. (This was made all the more cosier as it was raining outside.)
Phoenix and daddy's sandwich and my fries!
After our nap in the hotel’s sumptuous duvet and pillows it was time to get ready for dinner. Fine dining and toddlers don’t always go hand in hand but because Phoenix was so well rested after a swim and dreamy sleep and because the hotel staff could not have been kinder to him, fine dining with a toddler was a breeze.
The food was really fabulous and I loved the fact that the restaurant is called Hudson’s as that is Phoenix’s middle name (so called because Ayden proposed to me on The Empire State building in New York City overlooking the Hudson River).
The restaurant is sublime and it is a three AA Rosette! Believe me it did not disappoint! The staff were so helpful even helped us entertain Phoenix with crayons and chats.All the courses were fabulous but my favourite was a wonderful dessert of Poached Yorkshire Rhubarb, which I did not share with any one! I think it’s the tastiest food I’ve ever had and I will dream about it for years to come.
Poached Yorkshire Rhubarb - heaven!
Afterwards we went for an evening stroll around the beautiful City Of York in the romantic rain, before falling in to our bed to watch TV and eat snacks.
All three of us slept like a dream and by the time we hit breakfast I felt more refreshed than I have done in about 2 years.
Breakfast was delicious and even more importantly it was on until 10.30am so we didn’t have to leap out of our beds at silly o’clock just to have it.
I honestly would never have dreamed I’d have felt so relaxed spending just one night at The Grand Hotel and Spa with a toddler but we all left in a dreamy state of bliss.
If it can do that for us with our whirlwind son, then I believe this wonderful hotel can relax anyone.
As we left for a look in York City before catching the train back down south, some geese outside the hotel bid us farewell. Our magical adventure over we headed on home a little less wrinkled and with more happiness and warm memories in our hearts.
I certainly recommend to all, a trip to The Grand Hotel and Spa. If you have kids and you’re looking for an inspiring restful weekend away, then look no further than this enchanting hotel. You won’t be disappointed. You will be rejuvenated.
If you are lucky enough to be going on a romantic weekend away (just the two of you) then this is the place to go for that too. Since mine and my husband’s first visit to the hotel, it has never left our hearts and this second trip has sealed it in there forever.