Sunday 6 March 2016

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel - Luxury Hotel Review

A few months ago I was contacted by the lovely people at Ox Pasture Hall asking if I would like to review their hotel. Of course if you know me, you know I jumped at this chance. Any excuse to travel!

After waiting weeks, last weekend finally came round and it was time to pack our bags and head to Scarborough. Warning - This post is picture heavy!

Not being able to check in till the standard time of 2pm, we parked up in the centre of Scarborough and headed for Mother Hubbards Fish & Chip restaurant after reading some great reviews about it. After a slight detour and a few fine words exchanged with my phone's on-foot sat nav, we spotted it nestled snuggly amongst a row of other shops. We filled our tummies with good ol' Fish & Chips then went on our merry way for a further mooch to see what Scarborough had to offer. Lots of shops, street performers and sea! Although we were out of season, I know Scarborough has a lot more to offer from previous visits (such as their famous boat trips), but I wasn't sticking around too long in that sea wind. My vision was set on that cute little country hotel I'd seen on the website, and nothing else was going to deter me!

Approximately 12 minutes later and we arrived at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. I felt like we were thousands of miles away from where we had just been. Green hills, tree's and the gentle twittering of birds surrounded us. Who knew that we were so close to the hustle and bustle of that busy seaside resort?

We were greeted by 2 friendly faces and shown to our rooms, which was a short walk across 2 (very pretty) courtyards.

We had been given a luxury suite which was located in the far corner of the second courtyard on the 1st floor. I'm glad that we were situated here as I later realised that some of the other rooms faced into the courtyard, and being on ground floor appeared to offer little privacy. Me being a very private person I was glad that we had countryside views with no possibility of people being able to catch the odd glimpse inside!

Our room was very spacious and bright, with both the living area and bedroom offering ample room. Both had Georgian windows which looked out onto the vast open countryside and cute little duck pond. There was not a sole in sight.. bliss. It was extremely serene and tranquil. I could imagine in the summer, those windows being pushed wide open to let that countryside air in. Lovely!

Bedroom (obvs!)

Living Area

Complimentary Tea & Coffee

Both the living room and bedroom also compromised of a TV. Lots of surface space and storage was provided, as well as complimentary tea & coffee making facilities which are always greatly appreciated for those early morning risers! 2 glass water bottles were also available - it was a slight shame that there was no fridge in the room as drinking water at room temperature isn't always the best! (and I can imagine this to only get worse in the summer).

The bathroom was definitely my favourite - not only was it spacious and bright (which always makes me want to spend more time in there!) - it also had a huge walk-in shower and inviting bath with waterfall style taps.

Pinterest-worthy bathroom, right?!

After checking out our room and having a rest from the travelling, we went for a mid-afternoon stroll around the grounds. We were mooching around for over an hour and didn't bump into a sole, oh, except the sheep. So nice! (Er, not that I have anything against people, like!)

Hotel grounds

After arriving back in the warmth from our walk, that bath was being run, bubbles were being made and I was jumping in. There was something refreshing about having a bath in the peace and quiet, knowing that countryside and nature surrounded you. I felt a thousand miles away from the worries that lay at home, and I was able to lay back and forget these, if only for half an hour. Afterwards, on went the fluffy white complimentary bath robe, and I kicked back on the tan leather sofa and watched TV whilst the sun set over the hills.

That evening we took a short walk across the courtyards to The Courtyard Restaurant and indulged in some fine first class food in a lovely, almost romantic setting. The ambience was perfect.
For starters I ordered Tomato and Red Pepper soup which was so thick, creamy and flavoursome. It definitely made me want to recreate that at home!
Mike went for the Duck Liver Parfait which he said was really nice too.

Duck Liver Parfait

Tomato & Red Pepper Soup
I'm not sure if this was 'normal' service but we were presented with an unexpected dish before our starters, which was Duck Rabbit Terrine with Piccalilli. Whether this was a sample dish, or just simply as a 'filler' whilst we waited for our starters, I don't know, but it was greatly appreciated. Presentation was on point and each item complimented one another. If I was to read this on a menu it's not normally something I would opt for, however I found it really tasty.

Duck Rabbit Terrine with Piccalilli
For mains I opted for the Pink Sirloin Beef with oxtail pie, horseradish mash and braised silverskin onions. My juicy beef was cooked perfectly, and the flavours that oozed from the mash and onions complimented it very well. The oxtail pie that sat alongside the beef for me was quite unique, it was like a completely separate dish. The pastry of the pie was both crumbly and flaky, and along with the kale made a luxurious tasty meal.

Pink Sirloin beef with Oxtail Pie
Mike chose the chicken and chorizo dish that came with kale, creamy mash and pretty flowers sprinkled on top! He said it was extremely nice, and I had food envy!

Chicken & Chorizo
We both finished off with Hot Chocolate Fondant for dessert. This was a chocoholics dream. A small pot of chocolate sponge that oozed melted chocolate once the spoon was plunged in. A scoop of honeycomb ice-cream accompanied this on a bed of biscuit crumbs which was to-die-for.

Hot Chocolate Fondant
All of this food was washed down with an ice-cold bottle of Prosecco (over the course of the whole meal, mind!). After resisting the food coma, we admitted defeat and slowly made our way back to our room. We almost made a detour to the Bistro to have a quick late night tipple around the cosy log fire, but unfortunately that huge king-size bed and crisp white sheets were calling my name. Needless to safe it provided a comfy nights sleep.

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of ducks quacking from the nearby pond. Beautiful sight in a morning but I didn't realise just how noisy ducks can be.. I don't think I needed my alarm clock that morning!

Morning view from living room window

After getting ready, we made our way yet again to The Courtyard Restaurant to indulge in yet more food, this time breakfast. Both continental and full English were offered, so there was more than ample to choose from. I wasn't feeling overly hungry so I opted for a croissant accompanied with an apple juice. Although a little on the small side, this was probably up there with one of the best croissant's I had ever had (and I've ate croissant's in Paris before!). It was one of those melt-in-your-mouth pastries. Mike has a slight addiction to scrambled egg, so as well as making himself some toast and having a yogurt, he also ordered a plate of egg, which he described as 'the best scrambled egg I've ever tasted', and if Mike says that, you know it's bloody good!

Continental Breakfast
With breakfast over, it was time to pack our bags and say goodbye to this hotel. They sent us on our merry way with a complimentary bottle of water which was a simple but nice gesture. Sometimes its the small unexpected things....

I was aware that Forge Valley Woods was very close to the hotel, which I was so desperate to visit, but due to having other plans, I knew we didn't have time for this. Next time, definitely next time!

Source: Google images (Forge Valley Woods)
With the sun shining brightly over this rather mild February day, we decided to head to Whitby, which was a 30 minute drive from the hotel. I've visited Whitby as a child/teenager, but that was many moons ago, and I couldn't remember too much. Pulling up at the car park next to the harbour, I just knew this was going to be a good day. We took a walk down the narrow cobbled streets with its quirky little independent shops, and it reminded me so much of York (which is also not too far away!). Turning the corner and there lay the dreaded 199 steps, the one thing I do remember about Whitby! Surprising myself with my fitness levels, reaching the top gave some fantastic sea-views and the chance to really inhale that fresh sea air. We huddled together on a bench in St Mary's church which overlooked the vast shoreline, trying to fight off the cold sea-breeze. We then continued our walk round the grave yard, coming to Whitby Abbey, which was something on my itinerary that I wanted to do. Armed with our personal information guide (i.e. controlled speaker), we made our way around the ruins, learning about the life of monks and nuns. It was all rather interesting, a great way to spend an educated hour!

Cute little  soap shop!

Whitby Harbour


Whitby Abbey

With hunger setting in, we took a trip to Becketts coffee shop which was a little off the beaten track, but still pretty central. Oh.My.God - they did THE best 'dragon sausage' beckanini ever! So so tasty. They're renown for their huge slabs of yummy cake too (that big that I had to take half of mine home!).

Chocolate & Mint Cake - Becketts Coffee Shop

Tummies full, we wandered some more and I began to get a real feel good factor about this place. Not only did I like the contrast of quirky shops against modern chain shops, and modernised high streets against cute little cobbled streets and nooks, there was almost a relaxing atmosphere to this place too. People didn't seem to be self-absorbed about what they looked like, and it had that 'anything goes' vibe to it, unlike some cosmopolitan cities, where your face has to fit, almost. I really didn't want to leave, however we've already made a promise to revisit this place in the summer months.

Overall, I had a fantastic weekend away.. one of those that I keep thinking about. It made a change from the city breaks that we usually go for. It has definitely made me want to revisit sometime very soon!

Thank you to Ox Pasture for this opportunity. I'd definitely recommend this luxury hotel in Scarborough this year! Go take a seaside break with a twist!

*Our stay at Ox Pasture Hall along with the evening meal and breakfast was kindly provided free of charge, however as always, this does not effect my opinions of this hotel.

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