Who doesn’t love a hound-friendly holiday? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a self-confessed sun-worshipper and love foreign holidays, but as I lie on my sun-lounger basking like a lizard, I can’t help but feel it would be a million times better if my little furry side-kick was with me!
I love travelling with Poppy dog; it’s the perfect opportunity to explore new places, make ever-lasting memories and enjoy family time together. So when we were invited to stay at the dog-friendly Grange Hotel in York, obviously I jumped at the chance!
Being a Southern lass, I always enjoy exploring the North of the country, and although I’d visited York many years ago as a teenager [in fact for my own sanity, it’s probably better that I don’t calculate just how long ago it was!], it’s always somewhere I’ve wanted to return to.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for our stay, having left Wiltshire in the drizzle, we arrived to beautiful blue skies, sunshine and the warmest of welcomes from the team at The Grange.
For your furry friend…
Our room was on the ground floor, situated next to the reception area. I’m always so impressed when hotels consider the practicalities of holidaying with your dog. Luckily Poppy rarely needs a comfort break in the night [even more lucky as on this particular occasion I’d forgotten to pack my PJs!!], but it’s nice to know that the outdoors is accessible should you need it!
Poppy’s little face lit up when she discovered a packet of Pooch’s hand-baked dog biscuits just waiting to be sampled, along with a Hunter dog bowl and a dog bed for her to use during our stay. Such simple, but thoughtful touches to make Poppy (and us) feel welcome.
The hotel is in a fantastic position, so central for exploring everything York has to offer. The Grange is located just a couple of minutes walk from the city centre and York Minster, a short stroll from the beautifully landscaped Museum Gardens (where dogs are welcome on leads – you really must visit, it’s stunning) and just a stone’s throw from the River Ouse where dogs can enjoy a dip in the water [if they’re more adventurous than Poppy!] or an off-lead runabout on the vast areas of open grassland that frame the banks of the river. Dotted along the river are various watering-holes, perfect for mid-walkies refreshments!
The hotel itself has recently undergone refurbishment and the decor is just beautiful – very tastefully done. The walls are painted with subtle Farrow and Ball tones and there is a perfect mix of traditional elegance meets modern chic. The building feels luxurious, yet cosy and welcoming all at the same time, it really is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
I was delighted when I discovered we had a four poster room – what a treat! What made it even better was the queen-sized bed – I barely realised Rob was sleeping in the same bed as me! [He certainly didn’t need to worry about me kicking him in the night when he started to snore, even my long legs would have struggled to reach!!] As for Poppy dog, she was more than happy on her lovely comfortable bed that the hotel had kindly provided for her – much as she loves to snuggle up with us in the Winter, she finds it far too hot in the Summer months!
I have to be honest we didn’t spend much time relaxing in the room – unusual for us, but as we were only in York for one night we were determined to make the most of our stay. Our room was lovely and spacious, beautifully clean and had both a bath and shower in the ensuite. What with the added touch of luxury toiletries from The White Company you couldn’t wish for any more.
In our room were tea and coffee making facilities [along with some biscuits which were soon devoured!] and much to Poppy’s delight there was even a fridge, inside which was a small bottle of milk – just the perfect size for Poppy, whose weakness in life [along with tennis balls] is a bit of the white stuff!!
The Ivy Brasserie
The Grange is renowned for its award winning restaurant, The Ivy Brasserie, which is located in the basement of the hotel. Having been awarded 2 rosettes for its fine cuisine, we had high expectations when it came to dinner, and boy, we certainly were not disappointed! The menu offers a mouth-watering selection of Traditional British food with a modern twist, and all dishes are cooked using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
My menu choices are always heavily influenced by Poppy who just adores fish [I know, I know – pampered pooch!], so it didn’t take me long to decide on salmon roulade to start, followed by fish and chips for main. The food really was in a class of it’s own, not only was it beautifully presented, but it was also cooked to perfection – the fish was honestly some of the best I’ve tasted anywhere – and trust me, I am rather a connoisseur when it comes to fish and chips!
For dessert I opted for the creme brûlée which was accompanied by shortbread biscuits. Luckily for Poppy I needed a helping paw to eat these, as by that point in the evening I was nicely full! Rob opted for the chocolate brownie which also looked calorifically heavenly (and obviously tasted as good as it looked – I wasn’t even offered a morsel to try!!!)
Understandably, dogs are not allowed to dine with you in The Ivy Brasserie, however the staff were more than happy to set up a table for us in Dante’s Room on the ground floor – a separate dining area with just a few tables. The idea of leaving Poppy unattended in the bedroom is just not one I’d entertain [for a start she’d bark the place down and also I just wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy my dinner knowing she was on her own in unfamiliar surroundings]. For me, being able to eat in a separate area was just perfect – Poppy’s definitely become a bit more nervous of new situations as she’s got older, so the calmer it is around us the better for all concerned!!
We were able to enjoy breakfast downstairs which was lovely because it meant we were able to explore another part of the hotel. The dining area really is something quite special – exposed brickwork coupled with subtle, industrial style lighting provides the perfect backdrop for a cosy setting.
There was a fabulous selection of fruit juices, cereals and pastries which you could help yourself to from the buffet, along with a very extensive breakfast menu. Yet again, Poppy’s palate had to be taken into account, and so I opted for salmon and scrambled eggs, whilst Rob couldn’t resist the full English. Just like our food the previous evening, it was cooked to perfection and tasted so lovely and fresh.
After breakfast, we decided it was time to see what the beautiful city of York had to offer. So after some very helpful advice from the team at the hotel on the best routes to the nearest dog-walking areas we went exploring!
There is so much to see and do in York, and somehow it manages to escape the normal hustle and bustle that you’d find in many other cities. Contained within the medieval city walls, there is a network of pretty little cobbled side streets to explore, each boasting a unique combination of independent boutiques, high-end designer shops, high-street names and an impressive number of eateries, many of which seemed to welcome dogs.
I really was very impressed by The Grange and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for the perfect place to explore York with their furry friend.
Thank you so much to all the staff at The Grange for making us feel so welcome and inviting us to stay.
Love Kate and Poppy Dog x