Theo has been home with us for over three months now, and during this time we’ve had plenty of milestones (both on his part and mine). Theo’s milestones have included smiling, grasping objects, putting hands to mouth and rolling from tummy to back. My milestones have been all about gaining confidence as a new Mum, doing things solo and learning to accept help from others around me. We’ve come so far as a family, but its easy to forget that in the madness of day-to-day life with a new baby. So, to celebrate our achievements and to give ourselves a much-needed break, Scott and I checked in to The Grand in York. Without realising, this would mark yet another milestone, our first baby-free night away.
I approached the date of our hotel stay with mixed emotions. Firstly, I felt nervous about leaving Theo overnight. Would he behave for my Mum and Dad? Would he settle in a different house? Secondly, I felt excitement at the thought of a full nights sleep and checking-in for a bit of luxury. I was also looking forward to putting my ‘Travelista’ hat back on, dusting off my camera and remembering ‘what I do’. Our last break was last October on our Babymoon in Dubrovnik, just before Theo decided to make an early arrival.
After briefing my parents on all things baby and giving Theo a big kiss and cuddle goodbye, we were on our way in to York City Centre. At first it truly did feel like I was missing a limb, but as time went by I found myself relaxing into the experience.
The Grand is located in the old North Eastern Railway Headquarters, which is a spectacular period building that dates back to 1601. The original part of the hotel is packed with original features that will make interior-lovers swoon. I loved the black and white marble in the bathrooms and the pea-green tiling on the staircases. Since opening, a modern annexe has been built on to the hotel to create additional rooms. We were staying in a Classic Room in the modern part of the hotel, which is also home to The Grand Cookery School.
We checked in at about 5pm and had a couple of hours to settle in and chill in the room before dinner. We changed into the plush white robes, stepped into the fluffy slippers and put the kettle on. I loved the welcome amenities including a box of luxurious chocolates and a hand-tied bag of rhubarb-flavoured short bread. A nice little sugar hit to tide us over before dinner!
I was amazed at how spacious our classic room was (be sure to watch my Instagram Story highlight for a video tour). A few of my favourite features included the plush king size bed, the luxurious interiors, the statement leather studded headboard (with built in brass reading light) and heated flooring in the spacious marble bathroom. The finer details and little extras really made it feel special. I would have loved there to be a bathtub too.
Being a new Mum, my ‘getting ready’ routine has been pretty non existent since Theo was born. So when it was time to get ready for our evening, I took great pleasure at doing everything at a long and leisurely pace. The long, hot shower felt amazing and I’ve never enjoyed curling my hair and doing my make up more! I suppose you appreciate simple day-to-day things more when you don’t usually have the time to do them.
Our table was booked at Hudson’s Restaurant, The Grand’s signature fine-dining restaurant. With only around 7 tables, the restaurant and its service feels very intimate. We got to enjoy the impressive 9-course tasting menu, which is priced at £80 per person with an optional wine pairing for £50 per person. The tasting menu is very much an ‘experience’ rather than a meal.
To begin with, the waiter went through the menu with us in great detail and answering any questions we had. He was more than happy to offer us delicious vegetarian alternatives on any of the meat and fish dishes we weren’t sure about. I decided to swap the trout course for a parsnip and onion velouté with cream and truffle oil, which ended up being one of my favourite dishes of the night. The vegetarian options are by no means second rate.
Each dish that was presented to us looked like a true work of art, with interesting combinations of flavours, colours and textures. We both loved the raspberry, chocolate and pistachio dessert and were both wow-ed by the Earl Grey ice cream (which came with an optional side of Earl Grey tea). To say Scott and I don’t even get to eat our evening meals together most days now, the whole experience was so appreciated by both of us. My only criticism was that the restaurant lacked a bit of atmosphere, especially to say it was Saturday night, but that may have been because not all the tables were full. To round off the evening, we went for a drink in 1601 bar and sipped cocktails by an open fire (an Aperol Spritz for me). By this point in the evening I felt like I had totally relaxed and loved spending quality, uninterrupted time with Scott.
Along with a blissful 9-hour sleep and a delicious full English breakfast from the buffet at The Rise restaurant, I felt really refreshed the next day.
Although I loved every moment of the experience and appreciated every little detail all the more, I was missing Theo and couldn’t wait to get back to my parents to pick him up. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder!
Our baby-free night at The Grand was exactly what we needed after an incredibly stressful time in our lives. It was a chance to let go of the responsibilities of parenthood, and for just one night, we were able to go back to just being ‘Jess and Scott’. The Grand is the only 5* hotel in Yorkshire, and the clear choice for a luxurious city break to York. I feel very lucky to have this beautiful hotel in my hometown. I already can’t wait to head back to try the famous afternoon tea in York at The Grand.
What do you think of my review of The Grand? Mums, when did you experience your first baby-free night? Let me know by leaving a comment below. Jess x
My night at The Grand York and dinner at Hudsons Restaurant was a complimentary press stay. All views and photos are my own.