The Grand, York – Hotel Review

The Grand York Review

By Steve Crabtree, April 2024

I’m one of those Yorkshire people who travel to York a few times a year, and there’s one building I walk past on my way into the centre, wondering what it’s like to stay there. Every time.

The unmissable, imposing structure as you walk from the station into the city has the ability to turn heads. Its appearance makes an impression, not only catching the eye by forcing its red-brick self into your eyeline, but it’s a stunning piece of Edwardian architecture too; once the headquarters of the wealthy North Eastern Railway Company.

This time things were different. I was pulling up outside it in the car. Booked in for a stay at The Grand hotel with my wife, Alex for our latest trip to Yorkshire’s capital.

The Grand York Review

“A Yorkshireman and a gentleman”

We’re only a pleasant 45-minute drive away from York, and we’d chosen the convenience of taking the valet parking option at The Grand because although there are plenty of parking spots in York, carting your cases and your clothing across the city never appeals!

Arriving outside the front door, we were greeted by a well-turned-out, down-to-earth doorman. A Yorkshireman, and a gentleman at that. I gave my name and he knew all about me. Where I’d travelled from, what I’d booked for my stay, and as he took our car keys and luggage from us, he guided us to the reception – introducing us, and making our entrance to the hotel a breeze.

Could there be a greater welcome?  That greeting itself was worth the small fee for the valet parking, and made my wife and I very aware that this place is special.

The Grand York Review

“The perfect spot”

Location-wise, The Grand is in the perfect spot. It’s less than five minutes walk from the station, and a leisurely 10-minute stroll to York Minster.  It’s the same distance to the main shopping streets, and everything else this stunning city has to offer is within 15 minutes from the front door. If you’re in York for food, fun, further frolics, or educational purposes…The Grand is your best base, and then some.

We were delighted to have arrived at the hotel, and were booked into one of the Classic Rooms. Housed in the renovated section of the Hotel, the sheer scale of The Grand can be measured on the time it took to walk from reception to our room. You get your steps in! But the benefit of that is taking in just how breathtaking the interior of The Grand is. It’s awash with original features like parquet flooring, dark wood doors, and an elegant, immaculate stone staircase. There are wide corridors, and they’re decorated with vibrant modern furniture with classic twists, along with photography and paintings that blend in nicely.

The Grand York Review

“Thoughtful touches”

We walked into room 452, and were met with a contemporary looking space. A very roomy space too, featuring a generously sized bed adorned with an elegant dark blue padded headboard that complemented green wooden panelling beautifully. Tasteful artwork and furnishings, from lamps to chairs, add to the room’s charm. Despite its modern design, subtle nods to The Grand’s historic heritage were evident throughout, serving as a reminder of where you are.

We were up on the fourth floor, where we were delighted to discover the hotel’s beehives. Though unexpected, we learned that the honey from these hives is used in the hotel’s Legacy fine-dining restaurant, harvested from the frame right before diners eyes. Such thoughtful touches dotted throughout the hotel never failed to bring a smile to our faces.

It’s worth noting that, between parking the car and heading to our room, we were came across seven members of The Grand’s team. On the door, on reception, housekeeping and more. All pleasant, every one of them smiled and said hello. If you ever have the impression of this place being too posh and upper-class, let me debunk that myth here and now. It’s far from that – don’t judge a book (hotel) by its cover (exterior)…!

We had a packed itinerary for our stay in York.  After our early check-in, we needed to get to York Minster for 11.20 am, before heading back to the hotel for Afternoon Tea.

The Grand York Review

“Astonishing medieval architecture”

By staying where we were, we didn’t need to rush anywhere to get to where we wanted to be in York.  We had a guided tour of York Minster booked for 11.30am, and door to door it takes less than 15 minutes to get there.

The Minster is another building that I’ve walked past so many times and thought: “I wonder what it’s like in there”. There’s a theme developing here, isn’t there?

Well, impressive as it is from the outside, wait until you go inside. It’s astonishing medieval architecture is something else. The stained glass windows that draw your attention and take your breath away, and a nave which you can’t help but admire.  There’s a preserved history everywhere you look – from fire-damaged artefacts from 1984, to the tomb of St William of York in the crypt.

Our hosts were great, a fountain of knowledge, and their passions about the Minster is incredible.

I love historical stuff like this, but these tours make you notice things more.  And the guided tour of York Minster is very much worth the experience. We found out that the Minster has its own Police force, and they also have their own skilled craftspeople on-site who look after the place. You can see the stonemasons at work outside the Minster creating new pieces of art, ready for installation too.

The Grand York Review

“Fantastic attitude towards fantastic food”

We were back at the hotel at 1.30pm, ready to tackle the first of three food sittings whilst we here.

Afternoon Tea at The Grand was our first experience of The Rise restaurant, and what a restaurant it is.  There’s a good number of tables, but a nice amount of space around you too.  You’re not on top of others, but you’re not on your own either.  They’ve got the restaurant layout just right, and we were in with many others for our Afternoon Tea.

There are a few Afternoon Tea options and combos on the menu.  We decided to go for the Champagne Afternoon Tea, priced at £44 per-person, and the savoury selection comprised of such delights as Brisket Tomato Roll, Salmon Duo Sandwich and Black Pudding Mushroom Puff. The latter of which I could get quite addicted to.  The patisserie eats gave us Morello Cherry, Yorkshire White Rose and Chocolate Twist – alongside the scones, cream and jam, of course.

It’s very elegantly presented, and it gives you one of those moments where you don’t want to spoil it by digging in.  But, you do – and you’re glad you did.

The chefs were very accommodating at swapping out the fish options for alternatives, and we found that this was a thing with the food at The Grand.  They want to create a memorable experience for all diners, and the way to do that is to please the customer’s pallet. Fantastic attitude towards fantastic food.

The Grand York Review


We went for a walk around the city after we’d eaten, exploring The Shambles, and having a couple of drinks in the centre. Cliffords Tower is one of the sights you need to visit in your lifetime, and if you buy a VisitYork VIP pass, you’ll get access to this any many other top attractions in York.

With ours, we enjoyed an immersive Van Gogh experience which was beautiful. Coming and going at a time to please you, it’s set up in St. Mary’s Abbey, with the dutch painter’s work coming to life around you.  You sit, admire, and take his stuff in. You also realise that Van Gogh wasn’t a happy soul, despite the delight his colours and art bring to others.

If we’d have had just another spare half hour we’d have visited the York Dungeon too. However, we needed to get back to The Grand to get ready for dinner that evening.

It was cocktails in the bar before our food though. The 1906 bar is an intimate affair, full of luxurious charm and comfort. Here, we relaxed with a French 75 (Gin, Champagne and Lemon) and a Bramble (Gin, Lemon and Creme de Casis) cocktail, brought to our table by the lovely staff. The drinks were delicious, and the perfect pre-dinner apperitif!

We were back in The Rise Restaurant for food. And, like the rest of our experience in The Grand, we were blown away with our experience.

With a sumptuous three-course evening meal waiting for us, I’d decided to go for the Orkney Scallops and Pork Belly as my entree, with Beef Wellington as my main course. My wife decided to go for the Burratta and Heirloom Tomato salad, followed by Beef Sirloin.

And I have to say, there was some serious delight in our choices.  My scallops were succulent and nicely cooked, but our mains were something else.

The Grand York Review

“Presentation impeccable”

The beef sirloin arrived in front of my wife, presented nicely and cooked exactly to her liking. She loved it, and you know the food is good when the conversation mutes a little that the food.

When my main course arrived, there sat this flawless piece of beef. It was cooked medium rare, and enveloped in flaky puff pastry and mushroom, with chicken farce, and pancetta. Accompanied by pickled Heritage carrots and a rich black garlic aioli. Presentation impeccable, it tasted even better than it looked. A perfect balance of every element on the plate, and a taste experience that I can’t speak of highly enough. It was comforting, satisfying, and I could have eaten a second one. If only these wellingtons came in pairs!

Our service was on levels of perfect that just makes you want to stay for hours. I always enjoy an open kitchen too. Stealing a glance in its direction revealed the passion and dedication of the people crafting your meal.

After indulging in afternoon tea (and chocolate at York Chocolate Factory) earlier in the day, I was beaten.  I managed a few spoonfuls of the Passion Fruit and Miso desert, but I didn’t have the room.  Retiring to the bar for a laid-back nightcap was the only option.

And in doing that, we met a number of members of staff. They eulogised about The Grand, and what it meant to work there. They’d just returned from the Visit York Awards ceremony where they’d won the Large Hotel Of The Year and the Taste For England gong. The latter for the fine-dining experience at their Legacy restaurant. It was a nice, happy high for everyone, and it was heartening to see their joy and pride in their accomplishments.

However, time was ticking by, it was time to take ourselves up to bed.

The Grand York Review

“High-quality buffet”

We’d had a great night’s sleep.  The bed proved to be as comfortable as it was large, and we woke up nicely refreshed and looking forward to breakfast.  It’s fair to say that we’d put away a lot of food the evening before, but I was ready for a cooked breakfast, and Alex fancied Belgian Waffles, and we were served fruit juices, teas and coffees by yet another lovely member of The Grand’s team.

The cooked breakfast is a high-quality buffet affair, where the sausage, bacon, and black pudding are all flavoursome and very well cooked. The scrambled egg was a little wet for my liking, but the hash browns were delicious.  What is it about a hash-brown that’s crispy on the outside, yet soft and satisfying in the middle?

Well, as per our meal the previous night, breakfast was delicious. I was a bit polite in my first helping, so went back up to get more. Another sausage, more bacon, more hash browns (obviously!), and beans…

We were nicely set up for the morning, for a few more hours of exploring York before heading home.

The Grand York Review

“From the very beginning to the very end – sheer class”

We grabbed our bags, returned to reception and our doorman returned our car to the outside of the building. He also loaded our bags into it, and he checked us out. From the very beginning to the very end – sheer class.  They have things perfect here, and there’s so much to say about The Grand, York. Even after staying for one night.

We were genuinely sad to check-out and leave. Our stay seemed to end far too early, and we could have stayed another night or two. I’m putting that down to the service. This is where The Grand stands out above anything I’ve experienced in the UK before. Not only is the hotel five-star, but so are the people who make it tick.

The doormen, the porters, and the concierges. The bar tenders and the waiting staff. Housekeeping. Chefs.  You name it, they’re incredible people, immaculate in appearance, and immaculately down to earth in service and conversation. Their upbeat manner and natural personalities.  They all deliver perfection, but are just nice when they do it.

That shows us that we need to return. Try the Spa, try the Cooking School, and definitely do the fine-dining in the incredible Legacy restaurant. We peeped in here, and we have to come and experience that. Watch this space, as I’m sure we’ll be back soon…

The Grand, York, Station Rise, North Yorkshire, York YO1 6GD
01904 380038
The Grand, York boasts 207 magnificent bedrooms, from elegantly appointed rooms to opulent suites, each meticulously designed. The hotel also includes a fitness centre, a tranquil spa offering rejuvenating treatments, and a dedicated concierge team.
Room only rates start from £169.00 per night


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