24-Hour Room Service: Feversham Arms, Yorkshire

A country retreat swimming in charm

No one would want to go back to the dark days before the country hotel had a makeover. It was a twilight world of frilly valances, Nescafé sachets by the bed, and spooky china doll collections in your room. However, plenty of establishments are so keen to demonstrate that they are now chic, metropolitan and not chintzy, that they have lost sight of the fact that hip doesn't necessarily equal relaxing.

Not so the Feversham Arms. The hotel has just scooped the award for AA Hotel of the Year in England and recently became part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. The emphasis is on a welcoming, home-from-home atmosphere. It offers unpretentious and cosy décor, a well-equipped spa, good food, excellent service and the jewel in the crown: a heated swimming pool.

The hotel consists of a series of small stone cottages that have been knocked together and tastefully extended, ringed around a courtyard with a paved garden. The swimming pool sits gleaming at its centre.

Add a pool to a weekend break and suddenly it becomes a bona fide holiday, especially when it's bordered by a fragrant patio-style garden filled with lavender and verbena, designed by Matthew Wilson, a Royal Horticultural Society gardener.

Combine it all with a G&T sipped while dangling your feet in the adjacent hot tub, and who needs the Mediterranean?

As winter approaches, the Feversham Arms is a fine place to hibernate. Many rooms have open fires or stoves so you can warm up after a winter walk, and there is also a library and living room.

The breakfast in bed is a satisfyingly lazy affair (unlike my experience at many hotels, where it arrives with stone-cold tea) and it turned up bang on time.

Dinner is good too: it's fancy enough to be interesting, but not fussy. The emphasis is on local produce, and there's a £45 tasting menu. Another way to indulge yourself is the Verbena Spa, which features a saunarium, aromatherapy room (a slightly cooler sauna with aromatherapy essences), salt vapour steam room, and treatments with products by Elemis (a fashion insider's favourite).

The most exacting of minibreakers looking for stately-house grandeur or cutting-edge design may find the Feversham Arms a bit low key. However, for a weekend of walking and wallowing in the hot tub it deserves its latest accolade – especially if the number of regulars who return is anything to go by.

Location

The Feversham Arms is situated a 30-minute drive from York in Helmsley. This pretty North Yorkshire market town boasts a cluster of honey-coloured houses, a church, a market square and a plethora of cafés serving cream teas.

When viewed from the front, the hotel appears small, but in fact it extends a long way back. There is also an underground car park to keep the high street from becoming cluttered with the expensive vehicles favoured by most of its guests.

You need only step out of the hotel to find numerous different walks across the sheep-scattered James Herriot country of the North York Moors. Guide books are provided in each room to inspire and inform expeditions.

The beaches of Whitby, Staithes and Scarborough are also within half an hour by road, and historic sites such as Castle Howard, Rievaulx Abbey and Duncombe Park are within easy reach.

Comfort

There were two details in the rooms that suggests the proprietors have a bit too much of a soft centre; the cringe-inducing toy cow that you put in front of the door instead of a "do not disturb sign" and the too-soft beds. We were told that they were chosen specially by the owner for their comfort, but found them disappointingly soft and saggy – the only major grumble.

The hotel has 33 rooms divided into six types. The "petite doubles" are fairly small, and some are rather worn, while the large "spa suites" have a spacious bathroom, living room and balcony overlooking the pool.

The general theme of the décor is wholesome country chic, with lots of lamps and cushions, fabrics in tweeds and checks, mossy greens and warm russets, patterned wallpaper or warm cream walls.

All rooms have Bang & Olufsen TVs, L'Occitane toiletries, fluffy robes and towels, and Egyptian cotton sheets. Complimentary Wi-Fi access extends throughout the hotel.

Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa

Helmsley, North Yorkshire, Y062 5AG (01439 770766; fevershamarmshotel.com)

Rooms 3 stars
Value 4 stars
Service 5 stars

Doubles from £150, including breakfast.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home