Oulton Hall has had a more chequered history than most hotels, but it has survived all kinds of horrible history to become one of Yorkshire’s foremost and four star hotels.
Built in the 18th century in Yorkshire Stone, the house became an inherited property for the Blayds/Calverley family in the early 19th century.
The 300 acre grounds were landscaped by Humprey Repton, one of the country’s leading landscape architects.
In 1850 a catastrophic fire gutted the building and it took 25 years to rebuild and remodel.
Hard times were to befall the family however and it was sold to the local Council in 1925.
The Hall was requisitioned as a military hospital during the Second World War and subsequently became a mental welfare hospital.
Regretfully, by 1974 Oulton Hall was listed as derelict and declined into a very sorry state, initially used by the police as a firearms training site and later, as it became too dangerous to enter, finally boarded up and left to rot, the target of stone and metal thieves and vandals. All this despite a Grade II architectural listing.
Hurrah for the cavalry!
In 1991, DeVere Hotels spotted the great potential of the Hall and set about buying, restoring and extending it with a £20 million investment.
A golf course was designed around it, now boasting 27 holes and a Nike Golf Academy within the grounds.
The impressive drive up to the hotel, now sympathetically extended to include a state of the art pool and spa complex, leads to the stunning Reception area. It also has also has a conference centre to the rear of the main building and a separate and stylish clubhouse, restaurant and function room in another building just off the main drive.
The Hotel retains landscaped grounds with fountains and statues and a large terrace overlooking the greenery.
Immediately on entering the building, the rich opulence is apparent, dark wood, stone columns and decadent marble mosaic floors dominating the eye.
Chandeliers appear throughout the building, drawing the gaze to the galleried landing, whilst expensive and stylish furniture seem to lure you in to sink into their clutches.
The Champagne bar has a staggering 50 champagnes, 27 varieties of rum and a selection of 55 cocktails.
The 2 AA Star Calverley Grill Restaurant is a candle-lit delight of dark wood furniture and maroon walls, subtly lit from above with muted pink lighting. Shouldn’t work. Does!
The food, as you may anticipate, is simply superb, with Yorkshire produce featuring heavily and named suppliers in many cases. Presentation is almost an art form.
The starter of smoked duck with fresh pear and salad was divine whilst the traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding was a tender slab of meat done just so, accompanied by a tantalising gravy over fresh vegetables.
I won’t make you drool over your computer keyboard with a description of the home made dessert. Suffice it to say that I was highly delighted.
There are 152 rooms here, all spacious, and includes a ‘chamber unique’ or suites for those special occasions.
All have Egyptian cotton sheets, bed linen and duvets, complimented by contemporary décor.
Free Wi-Fi is a bonus.
Oulton Hall has a lively programme of events from afternoon teas to Tribute Band Nights, to Shakespeare in the grounds, to Spa Breaks.
With the retail and cultural delights of Leeds just ten minutes away, it is ideally placed to provide a very comfortable and well above average base.
There are surprisingly good deals to be had at www.oultonhallhotel.co.uk/