For more than three centuries, England's North Yorkshire city of Harrogate was prominent as a health spa town. Today, visitors relax at the Turkish baths and in the many inviting hotels. They include a soaring glass-fronted edifice, Agatha Christie's one-time lair, a former spa hotel and a marvelous stone edifice minutes from the city's favorite tea room.
The Yorkshire Hotel
The Yorkshire Hotel in central Harrogate city is within walking distance of the train station and John Street’s shops and restaurants. This stone Victorian establishment’s accommodations range from budget rooms to luxury suites with four-poster beds and original architectural features. All have free Wi-Fi access and flat-screen television. Many have city views. Limited parking is available. The Hg1 Bar and Brasserie, with wall arches and a striking terra cotta and gold decor, serves drinks, snacks and casual meals. Betty's Cafe Tea Room, a local landmark two minutes away, serves all-day breakfast, seasonal light lunches and dinners, and afternoon tea with handmade pastries and cakes. The menu is a mix of traditional British and Swiss cuisine.
The Crown Hotel, also a short walk from Betty’s, combines rich history with contemporary convenience. Its past includes a visit from Lord Byron and a period as one of Harrogate City's top spa hotels. Standard amenities in its 114 rooms and suites include modem-link broadband, in-room movies and CD systems. Upgraded rooms have complimentary robes, mineral water, chocolates and wine; suites have lounges, magazines and designer toiletries. Parking is first-come, first-served. The on-site Place Bistro offers free Wi-Fi, drinks and casual meals. The menu highlights locally raised meats in dishes like pork fillet in smoked bacon and cider stock, served with bubble and squeak (sautéed mashed potatoes and chopped vegetable cake).
The Old Swan Hotel Harrogate
Five acres of serene gardens separate the Victorian Old Swan Hotel Harrogate from Harrogate City's center. The hotel was Agatha Christie’s hideaway during her mysterious 1926 "disappearance.” Murder Mystery weekends recapture the flavor of those days. The Old Swan has standard and executive rooms, and four-poster rooms and suites. Some have roll-top baths. The glass-ceilinged Wedgwood Restaurant serves seasonal menus with organic produce. Stained glass windows grace the smaller Library Restaurant. The Swan Bar and Lounge welcomes patrons to traditional afternoon tea, also served in the garden. Limited parking is available. .
Holiday Inn Harrogate
An 11-story, mirrored facade makes the Holiday Inn Harrogate hard to miss. Adjacent to the Harrogate International Center, the 214-room, nine-suite hotel has an underground parking facility and multi-lingual staff. All accommodations have television with premium cable channels, in-room video checkout, and high-speed and Wi-Fi Internet access (fees apply). Upgraded amenities include complimentary mineral water, robes and slippers, designer toiletries and chocolates. Children younger than 19 stay free in their parents’ rooms. Those younger than 13 eat free from kids' menus. Rates include access to a small on-site fitness room and an off-site, full-service gym with tennis courts and pool. Abbey Restaurant serves a breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner. 701 is a smaller dining venue. Classics Bar offers drinks and snacks.
- Harrogate image by Peter Jarvis from Fotolia.com