Ten years ago two very good friends of mine emigrated to Australia in search of a new life closer to their son’s family who had made the journey two years earlier.
They returned to the UK a few days ago for a short holiday and we arranged to meet up in the popular Spa town of Harrogate in North Yorkshire.
They had pre-booked a stay at the Crown Hotel in the center of town, so we followed suit, without knowing what the hotel was like.
We were familiar with Harrogate, having visited many times before, and had previously stayed at the imposing Majestic Hotel, the delightful Old Swan, the Cedar Court and the Cairn.
Everyone of the aforementioned has a special character and history of their own and so, as we discovered, has The Crown.
It’s history stretches back to the early 17th Century when the neighboring sulphur well was discovered.
In 1778, Charles the second, who owned the town, gave the famous Stray to the people, and allowed the Thackwray family to buy The Crown outright.
By 1840 it became known as the Crown Hospital as most of the people who stayed their came to Harrogate, believing in the health cures that the Spa offered.
In 1939 the Government requisitioned the Hotel, and the Air Ministry didn’t vacate the building until as late as 1959.
The Crown Hotel today retains the feel of a bygone age, with it’s huge pillars, sparkling chandeliers and oak paneled walls. The walls throughout the building are covered by old enlarged photographs of Harrogate and neighbouring areas of Yorkshire.
Our one night room stay cost £57 with an extra £7.50 each for Breakfast. When we booked the room two months earlier, breakfast was offered at £10 each, so there is a lesson here for anyone considering staying here in the future.
I’ve noticed over the years that old established Victorian Hotels have one thing in common.
Bedrooms have been decorated and modernised, Bathrooms have been refurbished. Trendy Bars and Conference Suites have been added, but creaking floorboards remain!
This was the only negative I can include in my report, although the view from our bedroom was not particularly inspiring as you can see from my photos.
On the positive side the accommodation was value for money, as was the breakfast in the magnificent oak paneled dining room.
The Hotel is very central to the town’s major attractions including the Spa Baths, Betty’s Tea Rooms and it’s within easy reach of a good choice of independent shops and restaurants.