REVIEW: GRANTLEY HALL, YORKSHIRE
Grantley Hall opened its doors in July 2019 after owner and Yorkshire local, Valeria Sykes spent three and a half years painstakingly restoring the grade II listed mansion house back to its original Palladian splendour. A magnificent 17th Century manor house, the interior of the building has been transformed into a five-star luxury hotel in a contemporary country house style.
Steeped in over 300 years of heritage, Grantley Hall was built by Thomas Norton and his son Fletcher Norton, first Baron Grantley, in the 17th century, based on a Palladian design by English architect Isaac Ware. Over the years, the property became firmly established on the British country retreat scene, welcoming high-profile guests including Queen Mary and the Princess Royal, prominent international businessmen, politicians and society families. The multimillion- pound restoration project, overseen by owners the Yorkshire-based Sykes family, saw Grantley Hall return to its former glory, capturing its elegant grandeur, along with the addition of several new buildings.
Located in the heart of the rolling Yorkshire countryside with its own English Heritage-listed Japanese garden, the historic property, a member of the prestigious association of hotels and restaurants Relais & Châteaux, is a distinctly different luxury hotel and wellness retreat, featuring 47 exquisite rooms and suites.
Interiors are grand but contemporary in a style keeping with the original architecture, designed to highlight the many historic features including original fireplaces, oak panelling and ornate cornice work, with art and furnishings handpicked by Valeria Sykes from a variety of local artisans and suppliers including the custom-made beds from Harrison Spinks. Large bottles of Yorkshire speciality damson gin from Raisthorpe Manor at Malton feature in all bedrooms for guests to sample.
As a patron of New Light, a charitable initiative supporting visual arts in the north of England, Valeria has chosen an eclectic selection of art from local artists to adorn the walls of Grantley Hall, from the more classic country landscapes by James Naughton in the reception area through to the more abstract colourful oil collages by Simon Casson in Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall. A striking metallic sculpture resembling fish scales created by Harrogate-based architectural metalwork company Kendrew takes a central position in the hotel gardens. Executive Rooms are located in the Queen Anne Wing of the original 17th century Hall. These beautiful rooms boast many original features such as marble fireplaces and window seats. Atmospheric on another level, bespoke furniture from Hillcross Furniture sets the tone while elegant and mood setting lighting from Chelsom and Vaughan Lighting strike a beautiful balance between new and old.
The magnificent Presidential Suite is located in the Fountain Wing accessed from the rooftop atrium where you enter into a private hallway complete with a guest washroom. From the hallway you step into a large lounge with baby grand piano, spacious seating area with a large dining space. The lounge offers far reaching views of the gardens and River Skell. The bedroom has extensive wardrobe storage space and views of the gardens. The bathroom, clad Italian marble boasts a four-piece bathroom suite, double vanity unit and the walk-in shower doubles as a Klafs steam room.
Set over two floors with breath-taking views looking out over the front of the Hall to the formal gardens, fountain and river, the Royal Suite is picture- perfect. The beautiful seating and dining area and the luxury bathroom with walk-in shower and large roll top bath both look out to the manicured formal gardens and parkland settings. Each bathroom has been individually designed to maximise the space, with every detail carefully considered to ensure the ultimate in guest experience. The sumptuous spaces are classically elegant in style and feature Victoria & Albert free standing or Villeroy & Boch inset baths. These include a number of exquisite artisan copper and polished nickel bateau baths by William Holland. These beautiful, handcrafted baths are created using traditional methods by a skilled team of British Master Craftsmen. Set against Carrera marble and completing the look are locally crafted vanity units, beautiful Samuel Heath brassware and accessories finished in polished nickel.
Spa, wellness and fitness are a central part of Grantley Hall’s superlative offering with comprehensive facilities that include the Three Graces Spa and a pioneering, multi-space ELITE luxury gym with complementary analysis and support to maximise performance, results and wellbeing. The tranquil spa offers restorative treatments throughout its five cocooning treatment rooms, wet and thermal facilities. Working in partnership with two esteemed spa brands that are both renowned for their intuitive and distinctive approach, ila – with its nurturing ethos and results-driven pure, natural products created exclusively for Grantley Hall – and luxury Spanish skincare experts Natura Bissé, a bespoke menu of face and body treatments, therapies and extended spa journeys has been created. The Spa is also home to an 18-metre indoor swimming pool, indoor-to-outdoor hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and snow room, serene relaxation room and outdoor terrace.
Grantley Hall’s fitness and supporting wellness facilities are not what you’d expect to find in such a stately offering. Three contemporary fitness spaces make up what can only be described at an elite athlete’s dream with a fully- equipped gym; a strength and conditioning gym and a Health and Performance Area, which includes the Randox Health Lab (delivering high- level testing and analysis), biometric machines, cryotherapy chamber, three altitude-enabled compact training rooms, including one with an H20 underwater treadmill and a multi-discipline studio and spin room that enables classes to be delivered at altitude.
Grantley Hall’s culinary credentials will not disappoint with the highly acclaimed British chef, Shaun Rankin topping the bill to preside over Grantley Hall’s fine dining restaurant, Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall. The elegant restaurant showcases what Rankin does best, local produce cooked in season with his unique signature twist. At his request, and to support his vision for locally sourced sustainable produce, the hotel is developing its own kitchen garden complete with beehives and fruit trees within the grounds.
Other gastronomic highlights include a vibrant Pan-Asian experience, Bar and Restaurant EightyEight; a relaxed all-day dining restaurant, Fletchers; The Drawing Room, serving quintessential British afternoon tea; a glamorous late-night Champagne and cocktail bar, Valeria’s and a spa lounge.
ARCHITECTURE: Bowman Riley
INTERIOR DESIGN: JMDA Ltd
PROJECT MANAGERS: Lucas Lee
BUILDING CONTRACTORS: R N Wooler & Co Ltd and HACS FOOD AND BEVERAGE CONSULTANTS: Escapade Bars SPA CONSULTANTS: Clever Associations
GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS: Alistair W Baldwin PRINTERS: Spellman Walker
SUPPLIERS: Custom-made beds: Harrison Spinks Artwork: James Naughton, Simon Casson, Kendrew Spa brands: ila, Natura Bissé Lighting: Vaughan, Chelsom, Hogarth Lighting Gym equipment: Life Fitness Bespoke bar stools, banquette seating, bolster cushions, fixed seating, headboards: Hillcross Furniture Sofas and wing chairs: Furniture Traders Aluminium curtain walling, doors and windows: Aire Valley Architectural Aluminium Natural stone, porcelain and ceramic tiles, marbles and limestones: Lapicida Bathrooms: Victoria & Albert, Villeroy & Boch, Samuel Heath, hansgrohe and AXOR Interior accessories: Furnish & Fettle Flooring: Havwoods, ACC Flooring Ltd, Bailey Hague Joinery & KD Carpets, Wilton Carpets Commercial polished plaster: Applicart