There’s no bettter way to enjoy the picturesque village of Helmsley in North Yorkshire than by an overnight stay at the Feversham Arms Hotel and Verbena Spa, as RICHARD ORD discovered.
AS endorsements go, the heart-felt comment made by a work colleague about the Feversham Arms Hotel was right on the money: “I honestly didn’t want to leave,” she said.
It was the same story with my wife. I almost had to drag her away. Such is the appeal, I’m surprised there’s not the daily sight of distraught women being hauled out of the door, their fingernails scraping across the ground as they scramble to get back in crying “just five more minutes in the pool, please...”
The Feversham Arms Hotel and Verbena Spa does come with a reputation.
This independent hotel has won more awards than you can shake a stick at, and it’s easy to see why.
Located in the picturesque village of Helmsley gives it a head-start. This is one of those picture postcard country villages that does an absolute bomb during the bank holidays. Cream teas, Barbour jackets, hiking boots and 50-something leather-clad weekend bikers abound at every turn.
But if pottering around a quaint village shopping for humorous tea-towels or curious chutneys isn’t your bag, then the hotel easily has enough to fill your day.
The centrepiece of the hotel is the inviting outdoor pool. The best way to shake off those office blues is a refreshing dip on arrival. Nothing gets you into the holiday spirit more than an alfresco swim, particularly in the rain. For those who like to be outdoors without the need to splash about, there’s also a poolside hot tub to soothe away the gloom.
Refreshed yet? Need more invigorating? Well, the hotel also has a luxury spa where you can indulge in tropical showers, steam rooms, sauna and (as if your stick hasn’t shaken enough already) more pamper treatments than you can shake a wooden walking implement at.
You name it, it’s to be found in the treatment rooms, from full body massages to the more exotic facials, ritual wraps and luxury pedicures.
There are a number of Verbena Spa Day packages on offer for groups where you can tailor-make your treatments and all, it seems, end with a glass of bubbly! Which is nice.
But Feversham is more than its excellent spa facilities. The rooms are breathtaking.
We stayed in one of the first-floor suites which overlook the pool.
While the hotel is slap bang in the heart of olde worlde Helmsley, Feversham is slap bang up to date in its facilities. No low-ceiling country house rooms here. It’s footballer’s wives territory.
Bang and Olufsen TV and entertainment systems, open plan bedroom and lounge, and a floor to ceiling sliding glass doors out onto the balcony. The bathroom too was luxurious with a double-ended bathtub and walk-in shower.
Great location, superb rooms, and perfect pampering and yet, these aren’t the biggest selling points.
If there’s one thing that will keep you at Feversham more than most, it’s the food.
You can dine in the hotel or across the road at the Black Swan – they both have the same owners.
We paid a visit to the Black Swan and were blown away by the quality of the food.
This was Masterchef finalist dining at its very best. No, scrub that, this food would give Michel Roux Jr a run for his money. Starter: Smoke salmon bagel. Sounds simple, but this was a Black Swan deconstruction, where the bagel was the salmon and the salmon the bagel! Clever, and tasty.
The main dishes too were bursting with imagination. Stone bass, sounded equally as simple but when the dish arrived it was a revelation. The bass was served with lobster risotto, fennel crisp, a dill jelly, and a horseradish ice cream. But this wasn’t style over substance. The dishes were as flavoursome as they were imaginative.
And all this from Australian chef Paul Peters, who puts pay to those who say the Aussies are only good for barbies.
Back at Feversham the food is equally as good and the monster full English breakfasts are to die for.
Is Feversham good. Three AA stars, two hotel of the year awards, speak volumes. In short: “You honestly won’t want to leave.”
AT A GLANCE:
FEVERSHAM ARMS HOTEL & VERBENA SPA,
HELMSLEY NORTH YORKSHIRE YO62 5AG
TELEPHONE: 01439 770 766 EMAIL: INFO@FEVERSHAMARMSHOTEL.COM
* Rooms start from £220 based on two people sharing a classic double room. Throughout July there are complementary upgrades, Sunday to Thursdays and excluding Bank Holidays. These upgrades may include the next step up room, complementary two quarter bottles of Laurent Perrier champagne or upgrade of dinner.