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The Inspector calls at The Grand hotel in York and loves the placement – but says the decor is ‘dull’


The Inspector calls at a hotel in a ‘magnificent’ constructing that is perfectly placed for exploring York’s highlights… but he complains that it feels ‘dull and company’

  • The Inspector checks into The Grand hotel, which lies near York train station 
  • The constructing it occupies was once home to the North Eastern Railway Company
  • Remember, he pays his way… and tells it prefer it is

Big expectation about The Grand hotel on the short walk from York train station. And, then, there it’s — an enormous and luxurious constructing dating from 1906 and once the house of the North Eastern Railway Company.

But it surely’s not long before much of that giddy expectation is forged asunder. This 200-odd-room hotel, perfectly placed for York’s highlights, is neither traditional nor modern and, although thousands and thousands were spent on it 4 years ago, it still feels dull and company.

At reception, I ask specifically for a room with a window that opens. ‘Not an issue,’ I’m told. But there’s an issue. 

The window opens only two inches after which slams shut as soon as you let go — so I take advantage of the stack of complimentary mags as a wedge.

The Inspector calls at The Grand hotel in York, which is housed in a ‘huge and luxurious’ constructing that was once the house of the North Eastern Railway Company

The room itself is neat and tidy but lacking in character. A panel of shiny recent wood stands behind the bed, just like what you discover in airport hotels. And the overly complicated basin tap in the lavatory, with a separate lever for temperature control, is ridiculous. 

However the super-wide corridors are impressive. You might drive a bus down them. And the sweeping stone central staircase gives the place gravitas.

There are two restaurants — a elaborate one called Legacy offering an eight-course tasting menu for £120 per person, with the further option of a £90 ‘prestige wine flight’, or The Rise brasserie with open kitchen and ‘interiors inspired by York’s local heritage, making a soft industrial dining room’ — whatever which may mean.

The Inspector describes the hotel as 'neither traditional nor modern'

 The Inspector describes the hotel as ‘neither traditional nor modern’ 

The 200-odd-room hotel is perfectly placed for exploring York’s highlights, such as Shambles (above)

The 200-odd-room hotel is perfectly placed for exploring York’s highlights, resembling Shambles (above)


The Grand, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GD. Doubles are priced from £157. For more information, call 01904 380038.

Rating out of 5: **

First, I enjoy a drink within the 1906 bar (all of the lampshades have 1906 printed on them), where I ask to see The Rise menu, with a view to ordering before walking as much as the restaurant.

‘Sorry, you’ll be able to’t try this,’ says the apologetic barman. So I accompany my drink up the steps to the restaurant and order from there. Brown is the predominant color in The Rise — perhaps that’s the ‘soft industrial’ look kicking in.

No complaints about my duck cassoulet with beans and kale, and repair is fast and efficient. Because it is the subsequent morning with a wonderful breakfast buffet.

Unlike within the evening, there’s a morning buzz within the foremost reception area, where a concierge and doorman rush about, and a porter wheels guests’ luggage to the door.

The Grand claims to be York’s only five-star hotel. Everyone knows that the star rating system means little.


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