Spa waters were discovered in Scarborough in 1626 and a book about the phenomenon, written in 1660, drew crowds to take the waters for their health. Thus, Scarborough became Britain's first seaside resort. The public are no longer allowed to taste the water due to 'Health and Safety' reasons – how ironic is that?
Wrea Head Hall was built in the countryside surrounding Scarborough at Scalby in 1881, by John Ellis M.P. and his wife Maria, of the famous Rowntree chocolate family.
Having been donated to North Riding County Council by the family in 1948, the Hall became an adult learning college, but was later sold and it became a hotel in 1981.
This was the foundation for the English Rose Hotel Group, but in recent years, the hotel had been allowed to go to seed.
Spotting the huge potential, private buyers took it over in March 2012, seizing the opportunity to let it bloom once more.
The new owners have a definite vision to return the hotel to it's Gothic glory whilst adding dashes of wow-factor pzzazz, and to create a house-party atmosphere.
Change is already very visible.
The long sweeping drive into mature woodlands and extensive landscaped grounds give an early indication of the treats that lie in store.
This stone built, imposing building has stone mullioned, stained glass windows and an abundance of oak pannelling with a featured barley twist spindled staircase.
The lounge has a huge open fire and comfortable leather furniture, whilst the bar features magnificent and original plasterwork friezes. The adjacent conservatory opens out onto a patio and extensive lawned gardens and grounds,which have benches benefitting from long distance countryside views.
All public rooms have been restored to a high standard with tasteful modern decor and superb works of art.
Head Chef Andrew Riley has overseen the kitchens here for around 20 years. His menus are inventive and intriguing with surprising twists to tantalise the tastebuds.
There are new menus every day and it is rare that I could have gone for all of the choices presented for every course, but this was the case here.
All of the food is of high quality, locally sourced and so beautifully presented. The restaurant is worth visiting simply for the food alone.
Breakfast selections are individually cooked to order, a refreshing change from the ubiquitous hot buffets at many other hotels. Yet another sign of the high quality standards set here.
We watched wild deer foraging on the lawns as we ate breakfast one morning, a magical sight.
The bedrooms are high ceilinged, large and comfortable and are being renovated one by one.
A wing of the building will be closed in January 2013 for complete renovation of some bedrooms, but the work is unobtrusive and of no detriment to current visitors. Feature bedrooms are being created for those special occasions.
It is said that staff make or break a stay, and all staff encountered were professional, friendly and made us feel right at home. They are a credit to the hotel and it is no wonder that many guests we spoke to were impressed.
The winter deals presently on offer are exceptional value for money.
The Wrea Head Hall country house hotel is taking off and is headed for spectacular heights.
It is first class all the way, so grab your seats, it's going to be a very smooth ride!