Raithwaite Sandsend, Whitby – Hotel Review
By @Roger Crow
Living and working in the same house for months can take its toll in these extraordinary times. What’s needed to stay sane is a holiday in one of my favourite regions. So, when the chance to review a hotel in Whitby arises, I don’t need asking twice.
It’s a long overdue return trip; the last time was five years ago when I enjoyed a sun-kissed August Wednesday, pottering around one of Yorkshire’s greatest tourist attractions.
After six months of not getting away due to you know what, this trip to Raithwaite Sandsend is more welcome than I can convey without using a video clip of me doing backflips.
Following a 90-minute drive, Mrs C and I mask up like a couple of amiable bank robbers. Something which 12 months ago would have been highly suspicious has of course become the new normal, though this is the first time we’ve stayed in a hotel since the world started fighting our invisible party crasher.
“Haven for filmmakers”
There’s Covid measures everywhere you go, whether it’s signage, hand gel, sanitised sponge pads on doors; our room sealed with a sticker, and even the TV remote in a plastic bag. All of which goes a long way to ensuring any germs are kept at bay. And the bay is certainly a major attraction, just a short walk from the front door.
Turn left at the end of the grounds and you head into Sandsend. Turn right and that’s the Whitby you’ll know and love. Home of the Abbey and of course the iconic inspiration for part of Dracula. It’s great to explore the lesser known neighbourhood which is a feast of crashing surf and beach.
I find out later that our temporary home also housed the film crew of Daniel Day-Lewis drama Phantom Thread, one of my favourite movies of recent years which was shot here a few years ago.
I’m not surprised Whitby is such a haven for filmmakers, and not just those converting Bram Stoker’s most famous tome for big and small screens. It’s insanely cinematic and finding a great hotel so close is essential for those who want to soak up the sights without driving miles.
Our room is terrific. The bed is easily the most comfortable I’ve slept in for six months. Naturally there’s tea and coffee-making facilities, and a decent kettle. Not always a given, even in the best hotels. Robes and slippers (that amazingly actually fit my feet) are also great, and there’s a nice big bathroom, with a decent-sized bath and shower, along with the usual loo and wash basin. Sadly, part of the shower drops off within seconds of its first use, but the rest of our stay proves thankfully uneventful on that front.
Dinner in the brasserie conservatory is great, despite the fact a couple of orders seem a little lost. Rachel orders a gin; I opt for fresh orange juice and lemonade. (I get an orange cordial and lemonade).
Rachel’s Yorkshire Fettle with garden pea velouté and cheese crouton (starter) and ravioli main goes down well. My potted smoked salmon with herb bavarois and pumpernickel crisp is a great appetiser. The lemon sole does not disappoint either. Delicate flakes of beautifully cooked fish, with tiny potatoes and greens are very welcome after our two-mile walk. A pity my chunky chips never arrive, but it’s not worth losing sleep over, and if nothing else my waistline feels better for their absence.
The dessert menu seems a little out of season in late September. Less summery ice cream and more autumnal sticky toffee pudding would have been preferred, but it hardly matters. We retire for the night and given the quality of the bed, I’m not surprised I nod off in no time.
After enjoying the best sleep I’ve had in months, the spa beckons. Sadly, because of Covid, many of the facilities have been shut down, but at least a good swim is guaranteed. Reception staff are excellent, as are the facilities, though my locker does insist on shutting me out like an estranged ex.
Thankfully the view outside the pool is a feast for the eyes. It has such a Rivendell-style charm, I half expect Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel to dreamily walk by the mini waterfall.
I might not give Tom Daley a run, or rather swim for his money, but the fact there’s so few of us in the pre-booked pool keeps those stress levels to a minimum. A welcome touch is the centrifuge gizmo which dries your costume.
Later we enjoy a terrific breakfast which runs as smooth as a well-oiled machine. My sausages, scrambled eggs and mushroom with toast and coffee is brought to the table in no time, while Rachel’s veggie version is just as successful.
It’s a shame we didn’t have longer to explore the exquisite grounds and try out the other facilities, but that’s a good excuse to come back another time when life has returned to ’normal’, whatever that is.
While it might not be a perfect residence (few hotels are), there’s a lot to love about Raithwaite Sandsend, apart from the location. It’s a terrific short stay, and given the sci-fi existence we’re all living in, the staff have done a great job of making a much-needed break something very special. As Covid blues-busters go, it’s just the job.
Raithwaite Estate, Sandsend Road, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO21 3ST
Rooms at Raithwaite Sandsend start from £135 based on two people sharing on a B&B basis
To book go to raithwaitesandsend.co.uk or call 01947 661661