Short break - Gisborough Hall, Guisborough
PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 May 2016
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Jo Haywood basks in the Jacobean beauty of Gisborough Hall on a midweek break
Gisborough Hall might be grand, palatial and laden with historic heft but it’s the little considerate touches that make it a great hotel. It’s the warm, helpful welcome when you arrive, the thoughtful choice of bedside books, the little treats left casually in the room (mints, an evening delivery of hot chocolate and a miniature decanter of something stronger) and the genuine, unrehearsed smiles of the restaurant staff.
These devilish little details can often get forgotten in the historic hoohah of heritage hotels, where customers are expected to be so overwhelmed by the age of the building and the number of royals who may, or may not, have hung their crowns on the corner of a four-poster that they overlook the odd frayed towel and yawning waiter.
But this is not the case a Gisborough. Yes, it has a proud history dating back to the mid-1800s, an incredible Jacobean frontage and an incumbent baron – Richard Chaloner, 3rd Baron of Gisborough – who lives in the grounds, but it also provides a quality, four-star service where the customer is placed firmly front and centre.
If you’re not already familiar with the hall (you really should do something about that), it sits right on the border of North Yorkshire and Teesside, just 20 minutes from Middlesbrough but a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
I arrived on a rather wet Wednesday but soon shook off the dreariness of the day with a coffee (there was a Nespresso machine to play with – hurray!), a soak in the deep, claw-footed bath, a long, admiring look at the view from the enormous bay window and, yes, I admit it, a bit of a bounce on the grand four-poster.
My room, the Rose Room, was a spacious double at the front of the hall with a relaxed seating area (a sofa, two chairs and a table) and a large, light bathroom.
A rather tired-looking ironing board propped against the wardrobe was, perhaps, a little incongruous in such lovely surroundings, but it was a minor, niggly detail in what otherwise was really a faultless stay.
The décor throughout the hotel is traditional, stylish and comfortable. The contemporary G Bar & Bistro offers a glimpse of something more cosmopolitan but, as a rule, there’s a deep-rooted elegance to the hall that reflects its rich heritage and origins as a family home.
Nowhere more so than Chaloner’s, the hotel’s relaxed fine dining restaurant, which has been cleverly designed to make the most of an abundance of original features without resorting to stuffiness or overwrought Victoriana.
The food is top-notch, beautifully presented by a clearly talented kitchen team and served by friendly, engaging waiting staff.
And, if you’ve got room left for something a little more warming after your meal, you can now make use of The Safe, originally used to house the Gisborough family’s private documents and deeds and now a miniature, private bar where you can indulge in an array of unusual wines and whiskies.
My four-poster was calling so I declined an invitation to rigorously test the whisky menu, but there’s always next time. And, rest assured, there will be a next time. w
For more information on Gisborough Hall in Whitby Lane, Guisborough, TS14 6PT 0344 879 9149 or visit macdonaldhotels.co.uk