Stay Here: Swinton Park Hotel, RiponBy Alicia Grimshaw
There’s not many hotels that make you feel like you could be an extra in Downtown Abbey, but Swinton Park Hotel feels like a film set from time gone by. A luxury castle hotel in the rolling Yorkshire Dales owned by the Cunliffe-Lister family since the 1880s, and the ancestral seat of the Earl of Swinton – this stately hotel is what mini breaks are made of. There’s history running through the walls of this hotel; from the family portraits to the antiques and lovingly restored fireplaces and features, Swinton Country Park has all the warmth and grandeur of a traditional English house.
Swinton Park Hotel: The Lowdown
Located in the historic and oh-so-twee market town of Masham, near Ripon, North Yorkshire lies what must be one of the best kept secrets in terms of a luxury getaway. Swinton Park Hotel is unlike any hotel we’ve ever visited before; traditional decor has been seamlessly blended with a personal feel, and the locally soucced food and the newly open spa all adds to the wonderment of the place.
The beautiful building has been respectively revived and new life has been breathed into the former family home. Set in over 200 acres of sprawling forests, lakes and walled gardens, the hotel has 32 bedrooms, each named after nearby towns, and each furnished to the very highest quality with opulent furnishings, original fireplaces and ornate ceilings.
Swinton Park Hotel: The Rooms
Each room at Swinton Park Hotel has its own personality, with every room unique. After all, names are way more personal than numbers. There’s a range of accommodation – from double bedrooms to signature suites, and the bedrooms are larger than our London flat and contain all the little knick knacks that help bring a homely feel. Cute, homemade shortbread sit beside a trinket box of tea (including Yorkshire Tea, no less), and bottles of The White Company are plentiful and are found in various nooks and crannies in the bathroom. Said bathrooms feature cavernous bathtubs, a glorious power shower, and plenty of toiletries making it the ideal spot for luxurious bubble baths which are ludicrously difficult to leave. And you can admire David Hockney’s work from the comfort of the bath too.
The bedrooms are full of life and character; think stunning four poster beds, plush cushions and impressive floor to ceiling curtains. We should also mention that the beds are heavenly. The most comfortable cloud-like mattresses are covered in the finest cotton sheets, and finished with velvet throws.
Swinton Park Hotel: The Food
There’s two dining options at Swinton Park Hotel, with both offering different menus. If you’re after a fine dining experience head to Samuel’s Restaurant, a 3 AA Rosette restaurant highlighting the seasonal and local produce inspired by the fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in the hotel’s four acre walled garden (the largest hotel kitchen garden in the UK).
The Terrace Restaurant in the Spa (which is open to non-residents) boasts a menu of wholesome food and a seriously electric wine menu to boot. In keeping with the overall theme of the spa, the restaurant features a colour scheme of soothing magnolia and subtle pink features. The glass-fronted restaurant provides a view of the lit garden, and its stone walls and stepped waterfall – and it’s pretty magical at night time. Like Samuel’s Restaurant, the kitchen uses vegetables from the estate which is central to the menu, and game and deer are sourced from the moorland nearby.
Whilst the menu is predominately meat and fish based, the chefs can also cater for any dietary or chosen requirements. The menu changes from month to month, but expect to find small plates bursting with global flavours and local ingredients. And if the warm ginger bread with apricot sorbet still makes an appearance, order it immediately.
Swinton Park Hotel: Breakfast
For one, the breakfast is absolutely incredible. Take in the stunning Samuel Room, with an impressive ceiling and suspended lighting; you feel like you’re dining with royalty.
The breakfast is an occasion in itself – you can choose from the best eggs, scrambled, poached or boiled, along with either beautiful soft, poached haddock or local bacon, along with a selection of homemade granola, yogurt, fresh fruit and sensational smoothies.
Swinton Park Hotel: The Spa
A short golf buggy drive away is Swinton’s best kept secret: the new country club and spa. This spa is next level, we’re talking about a hydrotherapy pool, various indoor pools, an aroma steam room, a sauna, steam room and on top of all that: thermal seating. The list in endless, and we haven’t even touched upon the treatments, yet.
For the brave souls who prefer a cool breeze, take the plunge in the natural 10 metre outdoor pool, and you can always warm up in the cedar hot tub. Casual. The lighting is conducive to relaxation, and the foot spa and showers are of the highest quality. Keep warm and toasty under the thick duvets and, if preferred, a hot water bottle. You can, of course, take part in yoga, pilates or meditation, and personal training sessions are also available.
For when life gets chaotic and the 9-5 rat race gets a little draining, a full body massage is a must. The spa’s full body massage is essentially an MOT for the soul. The 90 minute massage will realign your body, posture and will make you fell like a million dollars (without the price tag). The spa offers various treatments and specialise in a holistic approach using Elemis and Bamford products. Total bliss.
Swinton Park Hotel: The Verdict
If you haven’t already guessed – we loved our time at Swinton Park Hotel. We can’t fault the service, the food and the spa was top notch. Book a few nights here, and you to can feel like a queen for the weekend.
For more information, visit the hotel’s website here. Swinton Park, Masham, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 4JH