The utmost luxury nestled in the Yorkshire countryside
From the moment you walk through the front door of the hotel you feel as though you are staying in a home rather than a hotel (albeit a super swanky one).
Wellington boots in all sizes line the entrance porch, along with dog bowls, overcoats and fishing rods. Then you are into the imposing entrance hall complete with a huge roaring open fire, spitting and crackling its welcome.
The lounges (including my favourite, the Dog Lounge) have open fires, gorgeous oil paintings and the deepest softest sofas that I defy anybody to stay upright in. They are the perfect place to indulge in a Yorkshire cream tea or read the papers. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed, but staff are attentive and accommodating.
The rooms are individual and named rather than numbered – Mitford, Park Top, Crace – and range from classically elegant with enormous four-poster beds with their own mounting blocks, to smart-designer with TVs in the bathroom.
The overall feel of the hotel is traditional with a twist. There is everything here that you could want – even the most traditional rooms are equipped for every modern need, without losing their elegance – and the attention to detail makes the stay unforgettable.
Our room, the Photographer’s Suite, so named after photographer Bill Burlington, whose atmospheric black and white photographs are displayed on the walls, had simple, bright, white and lemon décor, with gorgeous antique furniture dotted about, including a fantastic writing desk. The bathroom was super-modern with low-level lighting tripped by a sensor in the doorway. The showerhead was dinner-plate-sized and the bath had a flat-screen TV built into the wall.
There are a myriad of dining opportunities including the Burlington, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and the Brasserie, serving up a more contemporary flavour with acid-bright plaids and letterbox red Perspex chairs.
The hotel is nestled on the Bolton Abbey estate, which has been in the Devonshire family since 1753. The original hotel was built as a coaching inn in the 17th century. In 1982, the Wharfedale Wing was added making the hotel what it is today. There are 80 miles of footpaths and trails, five miles of fishing in the River Wharfe (the hotel provide fishing rods and waders) and the ruins of a 12th century Augustinian Priory.
Details: The Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel and Spa, Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire, BD23 6AJ (01756 718111, www.devonshirehotels.co.uk)