Wood Hall Hotel & Spa
This miniature Georgian country house has been turned into a smart but unstuffy hotel with understated contemporary interiors, a small spa and a well-regarded dining room. And all wrapped up in pretty gardens and woodland with York, Leeds and Harrogate within a half-hour drive.
- Helen Pickles, Destination Expert
Down a 1.5-mile winding drive, and overlooking sheep-and-cattle-dotted fields sloping to the River Wharfe, the Hall feels deeply peaceful and rural – birdsong is the loudest noise – yet is 10 minutes from the A1. Providing you have a car, and want historic, cultural and retail attractions – York, Leeds and Harrogate are 20 to 35 minutes away – rather than blustery walks and wild dales, it's a smart choice.
Style & character
If you can ignore the modern spa extension wing (which is the first glimpse you see), it's a delightful pocket-Georgian mansion: colonnaded entrance, sash windows, creeper-covered façade. Inside, a sure hand has given it a smooth, contemporary upgrade without losing its period feel: cappuccino-coloured walls mix with wood panelling, old portraits are put in modern frames, panelled walls are given a crackle-glaze, abstract art and modern sculptures are set against Georgian doorways. It's done with a light touch so feels smart and elegant but not ostentatious.
Service & facilities
Surrounded by 100 acres of woods and fields, plus a stretch of the River Wharfe (fishing permit available), there's plenty of space to wander – printed walks available – as well as a terraced Italianate garden for warm-weather drinks and afternoon teas. Inside, there's an elegant but unstuffy drawing room with fire plus a clubby, wood-panelled bar. Wellingtons can be borrowed – the latter useful for badger-watching in the woods. The hotel has a small Elemis spa with pool, steam-room and gym (also open to non-residents). Staff, many local, are helpful and friendly though can lack the knowledge and confidence you'd expect in a four-star hotel.
- Fitness centre
- Room service
- Steam room/hammam
All 44 rooms are generous in size and smoothly contemporary in sober chocolate, dull gold and soft grey with shots of ruby-red in cushions and throws. With modern dark-wood furniture, they could be overly masculine were it not for the – somewhat surprising – blingy flashes in burnished mirror panels and statement silver lampstands. Overall, they're smart – coffee machines, bathrobes, modern-art prints – if a little characterless. Bathrooms are more traditional; all marble in the top rooms.
The best rooms overlook fields or woodland (though none has a poor outlook) while the largest – with massive sleigh beds or four-posters – are in the main hall.
Food & drink
This is confident fine-dining but done with charm and friendliness; the dining-room managing to be elegant yet relaxed. Food is tasty rather than fussy: duck with carrot purée and braised red cabbage, spiced fishcakes with lemongrass and avocado purée plus excellent vegetarian choices, and a decent Yorkshire choice of puddings; mains around £25. The wine list is short, interesting and pricey with very little under £30.
Breakfast is pleasant enough – including bircher muesli, eggs Benedict and smoked haddock – though the cooking not as sharp.
Value for money
Double rooms from £197 at weekends; and from £116 on weekdays, year-round. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.
Access for guests with disabilities?
One room is fully adapted, the ground floor is accessible and there's a lift.
Children aged 12 and under stay free; otherwise extra beds are £15, including breakfast, or there are interconnecting rooms. Free cots, children’s menus and welcome packs are provided.