Our first sight of the front of the DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa, after settling in and walking into town, confirmed that it had been aptly named. The view of the whole building was absolutely majestic!
It is set in eight acres of landscaped gardens, on a hill-top position overlooking Low Harrogate and its green dome is visible for miles around. This enormous hotel opened on 19th July 1900 and was known as the “best address in town”, with its imposing public rooms and ‘modern’ facilities. It had been decided to build a luxury hotel in “the world’s greatest spa”, as Harrogate was then known, to the standards of the Golden Age of ‘Old Europe’. New and exciting features to be included were electric lifts, telephones, good plumbing and top quality service.
In the first ten years of the twentieth century Harrogate was nicknamed “England’s Klondike” because of its amazing development. The Royal Baths, The Kursaal (an elaborate theatre) and The Majestic Hotel were the principal locations in the town for the social life of the age.
Great artistes of the day performed at the Kursaal such as Sarah Bernhardt, Lily Langtry, Harry Lauder and Nellie Melba while staying at the nearby Majestic Hotel.
The Majestic also attracted nobility and royalty. The Maharaja of Patiala, with a huge retinue, took over an entire floor and some of the staterooms were transformed with shimmering silk hangings.
In 1926 The Majestic went ‘Charleston mad’. Special dancing classes were provided ‘by request’. Some of the older guests were scandalised – what were things coming to! Women dancing with bare legs, women smoking in public and even the Majestic had a new woman manager!
In 1949 a special banquet was held at The Majestic in honour of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visiting the Great Yorkshire Show. After dinner they appeared on one of the hotel’s balconies to wave to the townspeople who had gathered in the grounds.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s it was the turn of well-known actors and pop-stars to stay at The Majestic – The Bee Gees, Neil Sedaka, Tommy Cooper, Dennis Waterman and David Essex amongst others.
And in 1997 Prince Charles paid a visit.
Today, as part of the Puma Hotels’ collection, the Majestic Hotel has 170 bedrooms, including 63 premium and de-luxe rooms and one suite. Its facilities include the Majestic Restaurant, lounge, Victorian-styled Regency Bar, a Health & Leisure Club and 9 meeting/function rooms.
Our visit started in the car-park at the back of the hotel. Apparently, it was deliberately built at the rear of the property so that established residents would not be upset by the sight of ‘travel stained guests’ arriving at their hotel!
We were allocated a Premium Room on the first floor at the front of the hotel. It was the largest hotel room we have ever had – it must have been well over 400 square feet and was tastefully furnished. The view from the windows, of the lawns and town were lovely, enhanced by the two days of sunshine we were lucky enough to have.
The hotel recommends advance booking of beauty treatments and Decleor Salon treatments to avoid disappointment. Rooms are available after 2pm and should be vacated by 11am. There is car-parking available, but at a cost.
Our three course dinner in the main restaurant was very enjoyable. The chandeliers were almost as delicious as the food! I read somewhere that in 1931 dinner cost eight shillings and sixpence.
The traditional full English breakfast buffet the next morning set us up for the rest of the day. Before checking out we had a final walk, in the sunshine, around the flower-laden town centre.
DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa
Ripon Road, Harrogate, HG1 2HU, United Kingdom