York is a beautiful place. The cathedral, coffee bars, quirky shops and a good night out draw close to 7 million tourists every year. After being very unimpressed with Radisson’s offering in the way of Park Inn on my last visit, it was time to try somewhere new. Naturally, it had to be Hotel du Vin.
As with most Hotel du Vin’s they seem to be some measure of distance away from where you actually want to be. Just like the Newcastle one, you’re a good 10-15 min walk from the city centre.
If you’re driving there the onsite parking which will run you £10 per night, a lot cheaper than the local NCP, just provide your reg’ number on check-in. By train, you’ll probably want to get a 5 min Uber from York station. You could walk it, but if you’ve got a case to wheel it won’t be the best 10 min walk of your life.
When making a reservation there are a couple of hacks to be had. Firstly don’t book through the Hotel du Vin website, Hotels.com has a £10 discount as standard and you also collect nights through Hotels.com loyalty program.
Secondly, there will be 3 rates at which you can book on Hotels.com there’s: Room only, bed and breakfast then finally dinner, bed and breakfast. Bed and Breakfast is £25 more expensive than Room Only. If you are wanting breakfast you may as well book the Dinner, Bed and Breakfast as it is the same price as Bed and Breakfast (£25 more than room only).
Checking in was, as it should be, a breeze. Here’s a little tip – Make sure you ask how much upgrades are, as they don’t often push them so you may miss out. We were charged £45 to be upgraded from a standard room to their studio suite, bargain!
Hotel du Vin York has 3 types of suites available starting with a Junior, Then a Studio and finally a Luxury Suite. The Perrier-Jouet suite is listed as their Studio Suite, only to be outdone by the 1 luxury suite at the hotel.
Opening the rather heavy door to the well air-conditioned room you know instantly that you haven’t been oversold a deluxe room mislabeled as a suite like some hotels do. It’s big and appears even larger due to the stylistic open-plan manner which Hotel du Vin adopt. Split into 3 areas, it goes;
The Seating Area
As you can see, I wasn’t overstating about the size… A deep comfy 3 seater sofa and 2 armchairs form a crescent surrounding a table which is about 6 times too small for its environment.
Tech-wise it’s there or thereabouts. The centrepiece is the large enough TV, whilst smart, all of the features have been disabled so you’re getting a hand full of channels and that’s it. No Netflix, Hulu, Disney, Now TV etc. There’s also a Bose Bluetooth setup installed however that was never tested out.
Here’s my first real gripe with the room. The majority of plug sockets in the room are Type D, as in to be used exclusively for lighting. I counted 5 Type G sockets, the ones you can actually use. One was hidden behind the nightstand on the right of the bed. There were 2 at the vanity table, one of which you had to unplug the coffee machine and 2 near the door. Good look trying to charge a few things whilst your other half has their straighteners plugged in.
Now for the lighting, 16 switches in total…………… No, it’s not a studio it’s a hotel room. The bizarre thing is most of the dimming switches didn’t actually dim anything. Whilst trying to figure out which switch controlled what, I’m surprised people passing weren’t knocking on the door to join the rave.
Once again, with size being everything the shower is no exception. Plenty of power out of the oversized head leads for a good shower. Looks are also pretty deciving, with how low the shower head appears you think you’d hit your head. This is actually offset with the floor droping away alot more than normal so everything works out well.
His and hers sinks and mirrors should you be a sycronised teath brushing couple. L’occitane supply the toiletteries but be carefull when trying to use the dispensars. Most of them are loose and end up going everywhere when you go to use them.
Hotel du Vin’s signature cast iron roll top bath sit’s proud on an offset angle. Taking only a matter of minutes to fill, it’s a very comfy way to spend an hour 2 even if it does get a little snug for 2 people.
As they used to say on MTV Cribs “Where the magic happens”. The super king bed was certainly on the firmer side but thats exactly how i like it. The duvet was rather thick yet still light and the pillows were perfect. None of this waking up through the night having to refluff them malarkie.
Another irk which you only find out when it’s too late is the curtains. I love how theyre designed to be on hinges so that they fold in. As well as they have been designed the implementation is poor. Huge light leaks means the chances are, you’re up when the sun is.
Should you be the type for a movie before bed or waking up to watching the news, you won’t be lying down. The foot board clearly blocks a good portion of the screen, it gets even worse when you lie down.
WiFi is provided free of charge and as you can see, more than adequet for the odd netflix and spotify stream.
I don’t tend to dine in city hotels as there are usually copious amounts of high-quality restaurants usually within walking distance. None the less as dinner was effectively included in the breakfast price, we booked a 20:30 reservation.
Despite arriving on time and the restaurant being quiet it took 5-10 minuets to be seated, i should have realised at this point that we were in for a bumpy ride when it comes to service.
Whilst being seated our drinks order was taken, fast forward 20 minutes and the sex on the beach is delivered. To reiterate the restraunt and bar were quiet and it took 20 mins to deliver a simple cocktail, with no straw may I add.
For the starter, I had planned on sampling the Moules Mariniere & Frites, a favourite of mine when visiting St Tropez. If mussels steamed with white wine, cream, shallots and garlic doesn’t get you excited for eating, what does? Carpet from under my feet “There’s no mussels”. A quick back up plan B being an Endive & Roquefort salad. The chicory wasn’t for me however I think if there had been more than a picogram of sweet mustard dressing it would have been palatable. The toasted walnut and rich creamy Roquefort is a great combination though.
Keeping it simple with the main opting for the spaghetti alla puttanesca. Now the menu implies that it’s to be served in a rich tomato sauce and while it does technically, the sauce is really lacking in substance. I’ll look over that as the cherry tomatoes were beautiful. What I can’t overlook is the squishy spaghetti and the lack of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Seriously, 3 mins less on the spaghetti and chuck some cheese on the table…
Though not pictured, my advice would be to go for the HDV Classic Burger & Pommes Frittes.
The best part of this meal, the desert, an absolute blinder! Crunchy textured crackers, creamy French and British cheese, juicy grapes and some celery and chutney.
The Bar & Lounge
The bar area is rather nice however due to the whole WuFlu situation, it’s pretty much a no go area. A shame really as they have a decent selection of drinks.
While the bar may be a no go area, the lounge is fair game. A couple of armchairs and sofas fill the cosy room situated between the main reception and bar. A great place to have a few tumblers whilst conversing or waiting for another party.
Should you be the type to enjoy a stogie, there’s a pretty decent cigar shack fully stocked with Havana Cigars.
It’s in this instance where the wrath of WuFlu really takes it’s holding on the hotel. The glimmers of what once was, now hidden behind screens with staff trying to do their best given the situation.
Self-service buffets are a memory of the not so distant past. Now, not only do you need decent eyesight, but you have to be brazen in the face of judgement. “I’d like 3 boxes of Coco Pops, 2 Quassaunts, 3 jars of jam, some fresh orange juice and a full English, please”. As you can tell, I’m not shy however I don’t think everyone can say that which will inevitably hinder the experience.
The good news is the difference in service is night and day. Where the evening meal was lacklustre, the breakfast is served with plenty of pleasantries. With the staff having a full understanding of the potential difference of experience they go above and beyond to try and nullify the effects of strict government guidance. That still doesn’t make up for the shambolic cooked breakfast though. Yes, I did ask for no tomatoes or mushrooms, but where are the hash browns and beans?
Hotel du Vin York is a 4-star hotel, as in almost there but needs polishing which is exactly my experience when staying there. A mixed bag in regards to the staffing, some being very helpful, others not giving 1 iota. As value for money goes, when all is said and done the price is bang on. From the get-go, you think your initial booking fee +£80~ for an upgrade to a suite, dinner and breakfast is a bargain. With how poor some of the food is though it’s priced correctly. Maybe I should have ordered the HDV burger instead?