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Passing through the ornate gates and heading down the sweeping driveway, the Grade II*listed Grantley Hall appears in front of you in all its historic glory. Nestled in the idyllic countryside, the hotel and wedding venue's grounds boast a kitchen garden and an English Heritage-listed Japanese garden.
Step inside, and you'll find this stately manor has been transformed into Yorkshire's most lavish and talked-about hotel. With 47 exquisite rooms and suites, the tranquil Three Graces Spa and four incredible restaurants all in an enchanting setting, it's hard to imagine a more romantic retreat.
My sister, Laura, and I stayed in a suite in the Fountains Wing Atrium, a fabulous semi-open-airspace complete with olive trees. The walk there from the reception took in some breath taking interiors, from a showstopping contemporary chandelier and Roman-style statues to a fabulous lounge decked out in jewel-coloured décor and a cosy wine cellar complete with seating. We were blown away by the attention to detail in our room – everything had been designed to make our stay just that bit more perfect. I've seen a pillow menu before, but a robe menu? I must admit we got quite excited about the light settings, which gave the perfect ambience for the day, evening and nighttime. Returning to the room before bed, we were treated to a wonderful turn down service including moodlighting and classical music filling the room – the perfect bedtime ritual.
Laura and I are avid spa fans, so visiting the hotel's Three Graces Spa was a must. Named after Zeus' three daughters, the space evokes a Roman feel with its vaulted ceiling andstone pillars. Appealing to the most discerning wellness-focused guests, it's a haven of serenity. We made full use of the pool, steam room and outdoor hot tub (which included a bracing shuffle across the terrace on a cold January day). We also braved the snow room, although it turned out to be totally invigorating standing in a freezing room in your swimmers. Lunch in the spa lounge was a nutritious smoothie and bulgur wheat salad. Don't worry – there was cake too! There's an extensive range of beauty and holistic treatments available and residents can also make use of the daily yoga sessions. In short, you cannot help but feel the weight lifting from your shoulders while you're here. How perfect would that be as a post-vow break to giveyou time to reflect on the most important day of your life?
There are four restaurants here encompassing everything from traditional fine dining at Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall to modern Pan-Asian at EightyEight. We dined in Fletchers Restaurant. A wonderfully cosy space, it offers for a warm, welcoming feel. Picture dark wood-panelled walls, rich furnishings, velvet-bound menus and soft lighting. The staff were attentive, but not fussy, even checking whether I was right or left handed before placing my wine glass down. We had an incredible three-course meal including a delicious mousse starter with pickled vegetables and truffle and a deliciously fresh salad made from local produce. The star of the show was the chocolate and hazelnut rocher; it was so decadent it could only be topped off with gold leaf!
For more information, and to book your stay, visit www.grantleyhall.co.uk
If you can drag yourself away from the luscious surroundings, there are plenty of things to do nearby to make the most of your stay...