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Yorkshire Life Luncheon - Falcon Manor, Settle

PUBLISHED: 09:38 30 November 2015 | UPDATED: 15:09 11 October 2018

Falcon Manor Luncheon

Falcon Manor Luncheon

Archant

Guests settle in for a lovely lunch in a high-flying North Yorkshire hotel. Words by Jo Haywood. Photographs by Andy Bulmer

In the kitchenIn the kitchen

Launching a new hotel is a daunting prospect and the take-off is often slow and a little bumpy. For Falcon Manor in Settle, however, its fledgling flight into the notoriously turbulent luxury market has been a soaring success.

The property, which enjoys a prominent position at the southern entrance to the popular North Yorkshire market town, dates back to 1851, when it was built for a clergyman – paid for by his grandparents to ensure he had a grand abode to match his elevated status in the local community. They also, apparently, paid the church £500 – a not inconsiderable sum – to settle their grandson in Settle. It’s not clear whether he was a good vicar, but he was certainly a well-appointed one.

The large, graceful house remained in private hands until the RAF took it on in the 1940s. Rumours abound that vital wartime plans were discussed, agreed and implemented under its roof, but the veracity of these tales is on a strictly need to know basis. Nudge, nudge; wink, wink.

The dining roomThe dining room

It was at this point that the house, formerly known as Ingfield Hall, was renamed Falcon Manor, presumably in recognition of its RAF connections, and began its long post-war stint as a bar, restaurant and B&B. By the time James Warburton, founder of James’ Places, discovered Falcon Manor in July 2014, it was looking a little tired and uncared for. But he immediately saw its potential as a premier venue in a prime location.

Taking over the B&B and transforming it with incredible speed and dexterity into a beautiful boutique hotel marked the company’s first foray into Yorkshire as James and his talented team had previously concentrated their efforts on building an impressive portfolio of properties in the Ribble Valley, just a few miles over the border from Settle in Lancashire.

‘His aim from the start was to bring this tired but beautiful building back to life,’ said Falcon Manor general manager Martin Elliott. ‘From the overwhelmingly positive reaction we’ve received, I’d say he’s achieved what he set out to do – and then some.

‘Our neighbours in Settle seem genuinely thrilled to have Falcon Manor back. It’s a landmark building in the town and we’re very proud to have given it a new lease of life.’ A good many of the hotel’s neighbours joined us for lunch, including the mayor and representatives from Giggleswick School, and were treated to a seasonal menu with the emphasis firmly on local produce. We began with a very generous, rich seafood ravioli, followed by perfectly-cooked pan-roasted venison, which was a fresh ruby red and packed with flavour. And for pudding, the skilled kitchen team presented us with a pretty pink-hued plate of rhubarb in many guises, from tart and liquor to soufflé and parfait. Our guests were seriously impressed. And, it seems, they’re not the only ones.

It usually takes a while for a hotel – particularly one from the upper echelon of the market – to make its mark, but Falcon Manor already boasts an impressive array of bookings for dining in its elegant restaurant; overnight, weekend and week-long stays in its 16 individually-designed and generously-proportioned rooms; and wedding celebrations, which are notoriously difficult to book in a hotel’s first year but which are flooding in at a rate of knots.

‘The hotel has been amazingly well received,’ said Heidi Kettle, group marketing manager for James’ Places. ‘I think people appreciate the attention to detail that’s been paid at every level. James has a strong vision for each of his properties and Falcon Manor is no exception. He knew how special this place was as soon as he walked through the door, and the end result is everything he could have wished for.’

But wishing only gets you so far, especially when you’re trying to create a glamorous yet welcoming haven on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Hard work, a keen eye for detail, serious investment and sharply honed expertise are all apparent in every lovely nook and cranny of Falcon Manor.

There’s a palpable feeling of pride about the place, emanating from both the staff, who are friendly and efficient in equal measure, and the guests who, frankly, just seem very pleased to be there.

‘I know it’s a bit of a cliché,’ said Martin, ‘but we like to think our visitors arrive as guests and leave as friends. We want them to have a wonderful time while they’re with us and, perhaps even more importantly, to come back soon. Falcon Manor is an amazing hotel, with history, heart and a style all its own, and we just want to share it with as many people as possible.’ w

Falcon Manor, Settle, North Yorkshire BD24 9BD 01729 823814 or visit www.falconmanor.co.uk. The hotel is hosting a winter wedding showcase on January 31st - keep an eye on the website for details of this and other events.

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