Where? Raithwaite Hall, Whitby
The Yorkshire Moors are known for their rugged beauty, but less so perhaps for their well-manicured gardens. Arriving at Raithwaite Hall however, the first thing that strikes you is the beauty of the location – from the pristine lawns and perfect flower beds to eighty acres of National Park countryside that surrounds the hotel.
As you could probably guess – set in a valley on the coast – the view at Raithwaite Hall is a unique asset, so while each of the forty-five rooms has something to offer, the most impressive are those with balconies or taking in the kind of rolling panoramas usually reserved for Bronte novels. The rooms are spacious and as with the rest of the hotel – incredibly light; and with tea and coffee, an iron, ironing board and an iPod docking station all in the room, I quite happily settled in for what frankly could have been a seriously prolonged stay given how at home I felt!
One of the most striking things about the spa is how incredibly modern the building is. Surrounded by such classic landscape and architecture in the form of the main building, the juxtaposition of the glass fronted spa is a surprise that really works – particularly where the pool is concerned – you can’t really beat swimming into the deep green yonder.
The spa has all the facilities you could possibly want to keep you entertained – Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, pool, relaxation lounge, experience showers, and a compact gym – but to be honest the way to exercise here is to get outside and onto a few of the walking trails. There are also four treatment rooms and one double treatment room which is great for couples on a romantic getaway – and a particularly fun feature is the back lighting in each room, which changes colour: you can choose a shade to suit your mood, or have it alternating at different speeds … mind you, the fast speeds have a tendency to make it feel a bit like a rave scene – which personally is not my cup of detox-tea, but whatever floats your boat.
When it comes to dining at Raithwaite, there are a couple of options. All the food has a basis in local delicacies so you can expect pork pies and proper chips, but with a refined twist befitting the establishment. Light and airy with deep suede chairs and an aesthetically pleasing fireplace, The Poacher’s Bar menu offers lighter options while the cosier surrounds of the Brace Restaurant and Grill has all the markings of a traditional steak house, and shows off the handiwork of their award winning chef. Personally, having a bit of a sweet tooth, the afternoon tea complete with home-made scones didn’t pass me by – spa days just always seem like the perfect time for them!
Despite feeling incredibly remote, Raithwaite Hall is only five minutes by taxi from Whitby centre – and I do recommend you drive one way or the other because the train only runs four times a day – if you miss it, there isn’t another one for three hours! This combined with its position in eighty acres of National Park however, means that it has the best of both worlds. If you can tear yourself away from the spa then take advantage of the walking trails that head towards Whitby. Once in town, the abbey is a site to see, and the 199 steps to the top will mean you have really earned that afternoon tea by the time you get back. As the architectural inspiration behind Bram Stoker’s novel, it also explains the Dracula tours that you can go on around the town!
What’s the Verdict?
With a family room and allocated swimming times it is suitable for children: there are certainly things to keep everyone entertained. However, the hotel comes into its own as a romantic location – both inside and outside it is completely beautiful and although I wax lyrical about it, the only way to describe Raithwaite Hall is ‘completely stunning’.
Danielle’s Top Tips
1) I would definitely drive as being a remote location it is a tricky commute.
2) Make an effort to do some site seeing – there is so much to see and do!
3) Take a wander around the gardens – they are so beautiful it will only add to your spa experience by making you feel that little bit more relaxed!