The classically decorated bedrooms are spacious and equipped with all the modcons.

Set within walking distance of Harrogate's fashionable Montpellier Quarter, the Hotel du Vin is part of a luxury boutique chain keen to emphasise its expertise in all matters food and wine. We sent Eva Gizowska to find out whether it lives up to its name.

It’s just gone 5pm on a Friday evening as we check into the Hotel du Vin in Harrogate. I’ve been looking forward to this all week. Ever since I first heard about this luxury boutique chain (there are fourteen in total) I’ve wanted to experience whether it lives up to the hype - now’s my chance to find out.

The Hotel du Vin occupies one of Harrogate’s prime locations, overlooking The Stray, a 200 acre lush, green common, which also happens to be the view from my room. There are 48 rooms and suites in total and, as might be expected from a hotel where the key theme is fine wines, each one is named after a champagne or wine.

The hotel is conveniently located, a short walk from the centre of the historic spa town, the Royal Pump Room Museum and the exquisite Valley Gardens, famous for their mineral springs. It’s also within walking distance of the fashionable Montpellier Quarter, where you’ll find exclusive shops and boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants.

Hotel du Vin big bedroomTreat yourself to a cosy full English breakfast in bed.
Hotel du Vin

My room, a large, front-facing double, on the first floor, is the Louis Jadot. The colour palette is muted grey, in keeping with the subtle shades (mainly greys, browns, greens and purples) throughout the rest of the hotel. There’s a big, comfortable bed, a wooden chair and desk, a TV, spacious wardrobe, full-length mirror, selection of lifestyle magazines and a mini bar. There’s also a large bay window, with a generously sized deep purple chaise longue - all the better to enjoy the stunning views over the Stray.

Hotel du Vin bathroomEnjoy a soak in the free standing bath or a refreshing monsoon shower
Hotel du Vin

After flopping out on the king-size bed for a few minutes, I decide to freshen up under the monsoon style power shower. Nice idea. But, in reality, I find this walk-in shower too dark. I’m also not over keen on the heavy stone steps leading up to it. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel you need to be quite careful with the slippery floor and hard corners – as I nearly slip coming out of the shower! There is also a freestanding cast-iron bath on a raised block, which makes it quite high off the ground. It looks pretty, but you need to be fairly sprightly to get in and out! The bathroom – like the bedroom - is also too cold. In fact, the temperature over all could do with turning up.

Putting on make-up also takes a bit of lateral thinking. The mirror in the bathroom, with a big sink in front of it, is too far away. So, you have to lean forwards, which is awkward and uncomfortable – and, the mirrors in the bedroom haven’t got the best lighting. So, in the end I resort to using a hand mirror by the window.

There’s just time for a quick aperitif before supper. So, I make my way to the ground floor bar. There’s also a cellar snug below the bar – perfect for post dinner drinks. The low lights, dark wooden floor, and comfortable leather armchairs and sofas in the main bar create a cosy, intimate vibe.

Hotel du Vin wine cellarLet the resident sommelier guide you through the extensive wine collection
Hotel du Vin

There’s a mixed crowd including hotel guests on a weekend break and locals on an evening out. The Hotel du Vin prides itself on its extensive wine list and knowledgeable sommeliers. The wine cellar boasts over 540 different wines from all over the world. The most expensive is the Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1989, at £595. For aspiring wine buffs, the hotel hosts regular wine tasting dinners and master classes.

Dinner is in the candle-lit Bistro du Vin. In the early evening light, the restaurant looks magical. We’re lucky to get a table by the window. So, we can watch the last of the dappled rays fall over the Stray. Sommelier, Peter Townsend, recommends a light, fruity Morgan Beaujolais. Hotel du Vin guests tend to fall into two camps, he tells us, those who are already knowledgeable about wine and know exactly what they want and, those who don’t know their Pinot Grigio from their Pinot Gris, and are happy to have some guidance. I know which camp I fall into.

Hotel du Vin bistroEnjoy dinner in the bistro and watch the sunset over the Stray.
Hotel du Vin

The Beaujolais goes down a treat with the meal. My friend chooses beef tartare, followed by vegetable curry with rice. I opt for the asparagus Hollandaise, followed by lemon sole, broccoli, spinach and the most delicious thin cut, crispy fries. The food is very good. So, it comes as no surprise to hear that the Chef, Kevin Whiteford, only uses the highest quality, mainly organic, seasonal local produce. Feeling rather full, we give desserts a miss and opt for camomile tea instead. Then it’s back to the bar for a final night-cap.

I wake up next morning with the sun streaming into the room. It’s so peaceful and relaxing here, I’m glad I ordered breakfast ‘in bed’. Well, not in bed exactly. Instead I sit and eat by the window, watching the world go by. I’ve gone for scrambled eggs, bacon and buttered toast. The breakfast is done to perfection.

Hotel du Vin EspaThe spa offers myriad treatments - try a rejuvenating facial or opt for a relaxing massage.
Hotel du Vin

The hotel also has a Health du Vin Spa in the basement. The spa offers all the latest Espa products and luxury, beauty and holistic treatments including facials, manicures, pedicures, body wraps, hot stone therapy and every kind of massage from head to full body. It’s best to book in advance, especially at weekends, if you want to make sure you get the treatment you want. I almost book a massage. The therapy rooms look inviting. But, instead, I spend the morning having a wander through the town centre.

The beauty of Harrogate is that there are no ugly buildings. So, everywhere you turn the architecture takes your breath away. In the afternoon, we go for a drive through the beautiful countryside. We visit the pretty little villages of Ripon and Pateley Bridge, where we stop off for afternoon tea. Then it’s back to the hotel. This is my last night at the Hotel du Vin – but, I’m already planning when to come back again.

Hotel du Vin
Prospect Place, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England, HG1 1LB
Tel: 01423 856 800
Prices: Doubles and twins from £110 per night; suites from £190 per night (breakfast not included).

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