Hotel Indigo, Walmgate, York – Review
Hotel Indigo, Walmgate, York
by Roger Crow
As a self-confessed chocoholic, I didn’t need much persuading to review Hotel Indigo on Walmgate in York. I already knew the food there was great as I’d assessed the restaurant in the spring of 2017, but the thought of a chocolate-themed hotel was too good to resist. And as it’s my ninth wedding anniversary, what better time to check the place out?
With our annual holiday still a few months away, this has felt like a long year; it’s already 12 months since the last big hols, so mini-breaks are definitely the key to re-charging those batteries, even if the hotel is a mere 25 miles from our front door.
Obviously with York recently voted one of the best places to stay in the UK, there’s no shortage of visitors rocking up to Hotel Indigo this Saturday afternoon. I’ll admit parking is not easy. We’d found the hostelry’s car park by accident, as the one we planned to stay at next door was full. And trying to navigate my small Audi into a tight spot was tricky at best.
However, once done, that’s one less thing to worry about, and with parking in York costing an arm and a leg at some places, it’s good to know you won’t need a second mortgage while you’re enjoying the facilities on Walmgate and beyond.
Be prepared for a walk back to your car once you’ve filled a parking permit in, so it might be best to not carry all of your luggage in at once as two trips will be called for at some point. Despite a relatively small front door, access to the hotel is elegant and welcoming, and an apparently smoking fire is a nice attraction for those who want to wait in comfy chairs while their rooms are prepped.
Once we’ve checked in and made the short trip from reception to No 22, it turns out to be a very welcome sight. A personalised message written on the room mirror wishing us a ‘Happy Anniversary’ is a lovely touch.
There’s a hi-def smart TV as standard, with all the usual channels, YouTube and other tech-savvy perks. I wouldn’t bother trying to stream any shows, so better to download to your tablets or phones to save time and hassle.
The comfy bed is great; elegant wall panelling is made to look like a slab of partitioned chocolate (take a bow award-winning interior designer Matthews Mee), and tea and coffee-making facilities, along with a good variety of beverages, keeps us happy for the duration.
The mini-fridge comes with water and a slab of delicious chocolate. Chances are you’ll use up the UHT milk in no time, but housekeeping re-stocked our supplies and saved the usual need to buy milk from the local shop. (No holiday can truly begin until the room is christened by downing a good cuppa).
In case you don’t know the difference between Walmgate and Walmington-on-Sea, don’t panic. It’s perfectly located five minutes from the centre of town, and by chance happens to be just up the road from one of the best Italians in York, Il Paradiso del Cibo (which we review that evening).
After dinner, we retire for the evening, which basically consists of us doing what we do on most normal holidays: crash out with a cuppa and moan about eating too much.
“Everything you need”
Thankfully the room is relatively quiet, the bedside alarm clock dock means you can slot in your iPhone or iPad, and with the aid of a downloadable app, can fiddle around with the radio tuner should you want to.
Strangely there are no USB ports (unless they’re hiding), so you will need three-pin plug slots as you put your life on charge. However, the free Wi-Fi is great, so no worries updating your status or contacting friends.
The bathroom is compact but has everything you need to freshen up from the usual sink, loo and heated towel rail to the power shower, which is thankfully easy to operate.
One of the best things about Hotel Indigo is free access to The Chocolate Story, around 10 minutes up the road. I’d been planning to go for years, and it does not disappoint. Thanks to Nick, our excellent tour guide, we’re shown why York played such an important part in dominating the chocolate world; the universal appeal of the Kit Kat (especially in Japan), and there’s even a chance to make your own choc lollies. Along the way, there are informative films, interactive displays, and a chance to savour the wonders of the cocoa bean in all its forms.
“Set up for the day”
For someone that’s visited assorted museums and attractions all over the world, it’s surprising that one of the most engaging has been under my nose all along. So, after a terrific Saturday of edutainment, a local feast fit for royalty, and some trash telly, we call it a day.
You may have to fiddle with the air conditioning to hit that sweet spot temp wise, but the Egyptian cotton bed linen is very welcome when it comes to enjoying a good night’s sleep.
Breakfast proves to be as good as I’d expected. Mueseli, followed by a Full Yorkshire (scrambled eggs; black pudding; terrific sausage; bacon and baked beans with toast) ensures my autumnal blues are kept at bay. Rachel’s veggie version also gets a thumbs up. Washed down with a great cup of coffee and apple juice, we’re set up for the day.
After packing up, we head off with heavy hearts. Check out is quick and efficient, and given the calibre of the rooms, engaging staff and standard of service, we’d quite happily come back. However, given its popularity, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it’s choc-full of guests for months to come.
Hotel Indigo York, 88-96 Walmgate, York, YO1 9TL
From £50.50pp including breakfast (based on two sharing)