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Best Western Dower House Hotel

Dower House HotelIf the dowager had risen from her sunny sitting room at the front of this ivy clad, red brick house today and taken a wander back through its hallways and corridors she would have been surprised to find herself emerging in a 21st century spa.  The Best Western Dower House Hotel has seen many an extension since Sir Thomas Slingsby had it built in the 15th century – it was know as Bond End then -and is undoubtedly more modern than old in its fabric these days, with many of 29 bedrooms being found in a new wing. It has character though and a friendly feel through the warmth and efforts of the staff.

Bedroom Dower House Hotel Arriving is easy. Situated on the main Harrogate Road, right at the edge of the old historic centre of Knaresborough we had no trouble finding the hotel and were able to park right outside the unpretentious hotel entrance at the side of the building.

Our room, a spacious en-suite double, was at the rear of the hotel over the spa.  It was nicely furnished,  with well built, useful furniture – desk, table and upholstered chairs, luggage rack and a wardrobe with good hanging space. Very comfortable and easy to move about.  The bathroom, I thought, let the room down a bit, looking drab in khaki with a slight smell from the drain on opening the door.

My day was made when I spotted the kettle – I do like to be able to make a cup of tea.  Bottled water seems to be replacing the tea tray in some hotels, handy but just not the same.

Spa Pool Dower House HotelSo .. we had a reviving cup of tea and considered our options, a swim or a stroll through the town?  A glance outside at the strengthening drizzle settled the question. The Imagine Spa was still busy in the early evening with a mixture of guests unwinding and local residents making use of the facilities after work. Besides the small pool, it’s not one for serious exercise more for floating and taking the odd idle stroke, there’s a Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and a gym which are free for hotel guests. You can also book a range of varying priced massage and beauty treatments, something perhaps to consider if you were staying for a few days.

We ate in the hotel’s Storm restaurant, the decor of wooden floors, brick walls and white linen giving a light touch of formality to the occasion.  It was a nice to eat with a bit of space around us – no need to tuck in elbows or wriggle around fellow diners to sit down.  We choose from the set menu: carrot soup accompanied by rolls on wooden platter, then fish and chips for husband Ian and the mushroom risotto for me followed by passion fruit panna cotta with pineapple compote sorbet and a sticky toffee pudding (a weakness) – all good and well presented. There was also an a la carte option making use of seasonal produce. Dishes focus on roasted meats, game, baked fish … accompanied by side dishes like bubble and squeak, wilted spinach, a pear-tartin.  If the weather is fine in summer you can eat outside under the garden pavilion.Dinner Storm Restaurant Dower House Hotel

Breakfast came with all the trimmings  – locally sourced sausages and black pudding if you wanted with the full English, or perhaps I should say Yorkshire breakfast, kippers, eggs however, alongside cereals, fruit, and breads. The sort of breakfast my father-in-law, who grew up nearby would have appreciated – one to set you up for the day. I liked the level of service, tea and coffee are served (hot) at the table and having jams and marmalades in mini pots, not those fiddly plastic cartons.

For a visit to Knaresborough and as a base to explore Yorkshire  the Best Western Dower House Hotel is very conveniently located and would I think make for a comfortable stay.  My reservation would be that the building’s higgledy piggledy nature might not suit everyone and I bear in mind that we had a big room.  Although there isn’t a lift there are a number of rooms on the ground floor with adapted bathrooms for guests with limited mobility. The hotel could suit people travelling on business too; the wi fi connection is free and  there’s ample car parking on site.  All in all, a  pleasant stay in  hotel with a good range of facilities and friendly staffSitting Room Dower House Hotel.

Sitting room in old part of house
Our stay was courtesy of  Best Western Hotels 
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