This past month or so I’ve been all about the staycation aka finding somewhere gorgeous to reside for a little r&r, which isn’t too far away from home. Trust me, I’ve done enough travelling recently so an hours drive felt luxurious.
So one Saturday last month I turned off my wifi, trotted off to Pilates and packed my bags for a weekend of girl talk with my friend Hollie. I’d been invited to stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel for the night, which classes itself as a luxury Scarborough Hotel in Yorkshire. But before we descended on the hotel, we decided to give the great old British seaside a visit and get some sea air in our lungs.
I love the seaside here on the north east of England – there’s something quaint about eating a sugary donut with sand in your toes, the coastal wind making you wish you’d brought a bloody bobble. The sun was shining so we made our way down the front, stopping off at fudge shops, two-pence machines and, of course, for a cone of salty chips. Goodbye diet.
Strolling back up to the car on the South parade, we decided as it was 3.00pm, we’d head over to the hotel which was only 15 minutes drive away. Up a long and winding road, we arrived at the impressive grounds of Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. We checking in at reception and made our way over through the small court yard to the Richmond suite, which is one of the hotel’s luxury rooms. Except when entering the room, a couple had already been checked in and in a rush we closed the door, apologised and waited for the general manager, Lynsey (who was warm, friendly and completely apologetic about what had happened). We were told to head down to the bar where we could get a drink. The hotel seemed to be slightly understaffed, but fifteen minutes later Lynsey came serve us herself. Offering myself a complimentary Prosecco and Hollie a G&T, which was a lovely gesture, we were told that the couple were checked in by mistake, would now be moved rooms, and could we wait until our suite was refreshed.
I’m always going to be honest with the people that read this blog, but I hate being negative on here, so what I will say at this point is, mistakes happen, and they tried to rectify it as quickly as they could. That’s all you can ask.
Finally we checked into our suite and took in the surroundings. On arrival it looked beautiful, with a separate living area to the bedroom and a huge bathroom (although on entering the bathroom I spotted the spotlight fixture hanging down from the ceiling with its wires exposed). The decor was typical rustic countryside, plaids, dark wood, ornaments of acorns – you get the vibe. I decided to make the most of the space and ran myself a bubble bath almost instantly, whilst Hollie fiddled with the TV to try and get anything other than BBC 1 and BBC 2 but to no avail. No worry, the bedroom offered a fully working TV, so a Come Dine With Me emergency was averted.
We were booked into the restaurant to eat at 7.15pm so we headed across the courtyard, which will full of beautiful flowers and little seating areas (perfect for dog owners who decided to bring their pooch to this dog friendly hotel). Now this is where I have to be brutally honest, the menu was hard to decipher, with only four words to describe each option. As someone who is has allergies (although the staff were aware of my peanut allergy and dealt with it really well), it would have been nice for the waiting staff to properly explain each of the courses. It was designed to be a real fine dining experience, with your taste buds, sense of smell and sight all catered for, but I’m more the sort of gal who likes to know what to expect before it lands on the table.
We started with a pink grapefruit, basil and crab amuse bouche, before my starter of garlic mushrooms arrived. We also had homemade sourdough bread, with whipped beef dripping and butter which was gorgeous. Hollie’s main course of Hogget and vegetables was delicious. Unfortunately I wish I could say the same thing about my deconstructed chicken BLT. When I cut into the chicken, it was pink, the sort of pink that made me not want to risk it. When the restaurant manager Alan came over, I explained the chicken was too pink for me to eat. I’ve worked in numerous customer facing roles, including working as a waitress for three years, and as far as I’m concerned, the customer is always right.
I was told the chicken was cooked through despite it being pink. it was cooked to 75 degrees and even though a number of visitors had asked the same thing previously, he could assure me it was cooked. My main meal was left uneaten, when actually it should have been taken away to be cooked more or something else should have been offered. But that’s just my opinion.
Anyway, a palette cleanser of larger and lime sorbet arrived and this was beautiful, but not as nice as my dessert. The strawberry and Pimms came highly recommended and rightly so. A mixture of frozen lemonade and Pimms infused strawberries, mint and a gorgeous strawberry sorbet had to be the best part of the meal for me. We thought the meal with over, until the chef came from the kitchen to create a handmade white chocolate and eucalyptus macaroon, which tasted delicious, and was such a great way to finish the fine dining experience. I feel like maybe it was wasted on me, because I’m such a fussy eater – especially with how my chicken is cooked, but if you’re a foodie then I suspect it would be much more your thing.
After a great nights sleep, in a bed so comfy you sink as you breathe out, we got ready for breakfast. All locally sourced produce, I had the full English minus the eggs, and some toast (after a very long queue) and orange juice. All nice enough. The only thing I noticed was the crunchy nut cornflakes were out, minus a sign to state what they were. To someone with a severe peanut allergy like myself, that could be a fatal move. But as they again, seemingly a little understaffed with a full house to feed, I put it down to perhaps a lack of man power on a busy morning.
Before I decided to write this review, I got in touch with the hotel to give them my feedback and explain what had happened during my stay. They were so apologetic, which is why I wanted to make this post as balanced as possible. Yes, some things went wrong, but a lot was right and the way the staff handled it – minus the restaurant manager – is a credit to the hotel. Plus, it seems from other reviews I’ve read on the internet that I might have just been unlucky to have an off weekend. The room we stayed in is priced at £320 per night. Was it worth that money? Not in my opinion. But by staying in one of the other more purse friendly rooms you still get to take in the beautiful surroundings and enjoy the peace and quiet.
*I was offered a complimentary one night stay with dinner, bed and breakfast at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough in exchange for an honest review.