Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Hotel du Vin York

19 Aug 2010 by BusinessTraveller

What’s it like? The boutique Hotel du Vin chain is owned by MWB Group, along with sister brand Malmaison, and there are currently 26 properties across the two brands in the UK, with further Hotel du Vin properties planned for Canterbury and Chester. Malmaison and Hotel du Vin were voted first and second respectively in the Best Smaller Hotel Chain category at last year’s Business Traveller Awards (click here for more information).

Hotel du Vin York opened in November 2007, and is housed within a part new-build, part conversion of a 19th century grade two listed building which was originally used as a private home, before serving as an orphanage, and more recently a corporate head office. MWB Group is well known for taking old buildings and converting them into hotels, with other examples including the Hotel du Vin Edinburgh, which was previously a mental asylum (click here for a review), and the Malmaison Belfast, a 19th century grain warehouse (click here for a review).

As with the Malmaison brand, Hotel du Vin often includes quirky elements within its properties, and in this case there are several large murals on the walls of the bistro and meeting rooms, depicting images including jockeys (presumably a nod to York Races), a hedonistic Roman feast, and sommeliers in wine cellars. Speaking to the general manager, it appears that Hotel du Vin employees were the models for these colourful murals. The overall feel of the hotel’s public spaces is contemporary and stylish.

Where is it? On The Mount, just outside York’s city walls and in a popular area for hotels, with Ibis and Premier Inn properties both located close by. The city’s main railway station is five minutes’ walk, and York’s main attractions including York Minster and the Jorvik Viking Centre are around ten minutes’ walk. Parking at the hotel costs £10 per night, and if full guests are advised to use the NCP facility on Queen Street.

Room facilities All rooms have flatscreen TVs, DVD players, tea and coffee facilities, iron and ironing board, air conditioning and a safe. Standard rooms have queen-size beds and combined bath and showers, while Superior room categories and above feature rolltop baths and walk-in showers. Some of the top suites go one step further – the Verve Clicquot suite has a huge double monsoon shower, while the Moet Collection suite has two baths next to each other.

There are several design schemes throughout the hotel’s rooms, with typical decor featuring smart greys, greens and purples. I was staying in the Verve Clicquot suite, which is located in the attic of the new-build section of the hotel, and has a lovely open plan loft apartment feel to it, with a slated wooden partition separating the king-size bed from the living area, which had a sofa and two armchairs.

The bathroom (also open plan, but with a separate toilet) is particularly impressive, with wooden flooring, two basins, a rolltop bath in the middle of the space, and the double shower which alone is larger than the entire bathroom at many hotels. Other features included a Bose surround sound system, and TVs in both the bedroom and lounge area

Wifi internet access is available throughout the hotel, and is free for the first 30 minutes, then £7.50 for eight hours or £10 for 24 hours. 

Restaurants and bars As the brand’s name would suggest Hotel du Vin is strong on its wine offering, with sommeliers in every property, and an extensive wine list that seems more like a book when first glanced at. Thankfully there was a very friendly, patient and enthusiastic sommelier on hand, who skilfully whittled down a vague “we’d like some white wine please” into a lovely Italian bottle from the Falanghina grape variety.

The bistro is located in the main converted building, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. When i visited the restaurant was busy, and at 8.30pm on a Sunday evening it had begun to run out of quite a few dishes, to the extent that the guests next to us had to order several times, and even then the waiter had to return to the table to say that that the dish they had eventually ordered had just run out. Having said that the staff were apologetic and offered the couple a discount on their meal, which seemed appreciated. 

Our main courses of salmon and cod fishcakes, and lobster rigatoni were pretty average, but the desserts of sticky toffee pudding and pot au chocolat were both delicious. Breakfast was also of a good standard, with a continental buffet and a la carte hot dishes.

The hotel also has a bar, a courtyard for dining in good weather, two libraries for guests to relax in, and a cosy room where all of the hotel’s red wines are stored, which can be hired for wine tasting events. There is also a “cigar shack” (effectively the smoking area) at the back of the property.

Business and meeting facilities The hotel has two small meeting rooms, Abbey Well and Ouse, which can accommodate up to 22 and 24 delegates respectively. The rooms are located in the new-build section of the hotel, and both have hardwood floors, smart furniture, wall murals, natural daylight and wifi internet access.

Leisure facilities None

Verdict A few issues with the bistro, but overall this is a great boutique hotel with smart, comfortable rooms and welcoming staff. If budgets allow and you appreciate good bathroom facilities, go for one of the superior rooms or suites with the rolltop baths and walk-in showers.

Fact file

How many rooms? 44, of which 30 are standard rooms, six are superior, three are deluxe, and the rest are suites.

Price Fully flexible internet rates for a midweek stay in September started at £119.

Contact Hotel du Vin & Bistro, 89 The Mount, York YO24 1AX; tel +44 (0)1904 557350;

Mark Caswell

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