The Grand Hotel and Spa: A Luxe Base Amid Yorkish History

Just a 5-minute walk from the main railway station in York, yet within the medieval walls, The Grand Hotel and Spa, York sits right at the heart of this historic English city. It’s the perfect base from which to explore everything York and the surrounding Yorkshire countryside has to offer. 

The Grand Hotel and Spa, is York's only five star hotel
Overlooking the old city walls, The Grand Hotel and Spa, York is a stately residence

Family-Friendly Review of The Grand Hotel and Spa, York, England

Housed within an imposing Edwardian building, The Grand Hotel and Spa, York, has the elegance and refinement that you’d expect of a top capital city hotel. At the same time, it’s as warm and friendly as a small boutique establishment: The kids were handed lollypops from the lollypop tree as soon as we’d stepped over the threshold, and there was a welcome tray of chocolates waiting for us in our room, plus bags of cookies for the kids. We also received a scavenger hunt pack, which the girls were off around the hotel doing before we’d even unpacked.

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Sam Pointon, the hotel's director of Fun and Families
Sam Pointon, the hotel’s 14-year-old director of fun and families

The hotel even has a director of fun and families, Sam Pointon, who is — appropriately enough for this role — only 14 years old. Sam is consulted on restaurant menus and in-room entertainment for kids and will suggest family-friendly activities around York.

One of the Grand Hotel and Spa, York's Classic rooms
A spacious Classic Room at The Grand Hotel and Spa, York


The rooms are inviting and incredibly spacious. Our house is small, but even so, our master suite had a floor area that was probably equal in size to the entire place! There was a separate cloakroom in the large lounge, including beds brought in for the girls, and a vast bathroom off the main bedroom. As well as a selection of suites, there are Classic, Executive and Deluxe room categories, which are all pretty spacious and very well equipped.

The children's afternoon tea is a must try at The Grand Hotel and Spa, York
The renowned children’s afternoon tea plate


Afternoon tea at The Grand is a must. They even do a cute children’s version, so while you’re enjoying your Yorkshire fettle-and-sun-blushed tomato tartlet and blueberry-and-orange scone with jam and clotted cream, they can be tucking into a gingerbread person and fairy cakes. For fine dining there is the critically acclaimed Hudsons, which is currently being refurbished, and the newly opened Rise restaurant. There is an excellent children’s menu here, but the Rise main menu is all about sharing, and our kids really enjoyed trying out all of our small plates.

The underground swimming pool at The Grand Hotel and Spa, York
The basement pool where there are no restrictive child swimming times!


There is a gorgeous mosaic-lined pool in the basement, as well as a jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Handily, there is no set children’s swimming time, so you can dip in whenever you feel like it. I didn’t get a chance to try any, but the spa menu was tempting and the treatment area looked inviting.

The fabulous Castle Howard grounds
Who can resist running down the hill in the beautiful grounds of Castle Howard?


The Grand is bang in the middle of York; nearly all city centre attractions are within a 5-minute walk. You’re close to the train station if you want to head out to the nearby towns of Harrogate, Leeds and Manchester, or you could hire a car to explore the Yorkshire Dales and the fantastic stately home of Castle Howard. 

Relevant Links:

Browse all family accommodations and activities in the UK on Ciao Bambino

Travel back in time in historic York, England with kids

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Editor’s Note: Anna was provided a media rate by The Grand Hotel & Spa, York in order to review the property for families. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Hotel photos by The Grand Hotel and Spa; Castle Howard photo by Anna Tobin.

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