There’s this TV advert I love that ran a few years ago. It starts with a business-suit-wearing guy who is clearly a very important businessman walking into the plush, marble-floored lobby of an amazingly opulent hotel (the kind you only get in Las Vegas or Dubai). The next few scenes cut around the hotel from an outside shot showing what an awesome structure it is, to a waiter lining up glasses in the restaurant with a long stick (you also note the gleaming silverware and shining glasses). A few scenes later you see the very important businessman leaping onto his bed on his back in a manner that shows he loves his executive lifestyle. Then the voice-over man comes on and says something like:
“If you want the best when you travel then get your travel consultant to contact The Leading Hotels of the World”.
I thought to myself that you really know you’ve made it when you have your own travel consultant! Well it just so happens that my girlfriend is a travel consultant and while the reality of the role isn’t quite what I’d imagined, it does have some benefits.
This weekend she was invited to an Agent Meeting. This is where a hotel wants to showcase all it has to offer the business sector and so lays on free accommodation, free food, free alcohol and a good look at the facilities for travel consultants so that when they get back they’ll recommend the place to their clients. For that read free trip to a swanky hotel. At least that’s how I saw it. So off we went to Wood Hall near Wetherby. They’ve just spent £2.5 million refurbishing the hotel and it really shows.
The rooms were fantastic. The picture above shows our room and note the huge wide screen plasma tv. The remote control was like a PDA with touch-screen and was very swish. The bathroom was lovely and the bed was both huge and comfy (is there anything else a bed needs to be?). The furniture looked expensive, classy and modern. I was well impressed. So off I went to the spa with sauna, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, gym with super-high-tech equipment. Although I was going for a full body massage so I wasn’t interested in any of that. An hour later I returned to the room thoroughly relaxed and put the football on. Perfect.
That was short-lived as we had to go down and attend the function that we were there for. I soon discovered to my delight that it was a free meal and free drink! I’ll cut the dinner short because it’s a bit blurry now, but the food was absolutely superb. Really top class stuff. The waiting staff were very professional and slick (I used to be a waiter in a swanky hotel and would even be left to run the place some nights so I like to think I know good service when I see it). We were seated on the same table as the general manager and he struck me again as a real pro, the kind of guy who really knows how to run a hotel, just like the general manager of the hotel I used to work at (Steven Kelly was his name, I wonder what ever happened to him…). Fortunately I wasn’t the only freeloader there. Most of the people there brought along their boyfriends / husbands / friends so I didn’t have to feel guilty for getting the treatment for nowt.
Overall I was really impressed with the place. The rooms were excellent, the service was exemplary and the food was to die for. The surroundings were beautiful too which was the icing on the cake. Apparently they do a lot of weddings there and given the scenery and the building itself, I’m not surprised. Would I stay there again? Yes I would. Do I think you should stay there if you’re ever in Yorkshire? Again, I really do. So much so that any time someone’s looking for any kind of venue I’ll recommend it to them. I may not get commission but it’ll make me feel like I’ve given something back!
I haven’t stayed there but I did do one of those “re-invent the company” meetings out there. And I agree – very, very nice.
How much was it?
I find that I fall asleep and shower in hotels so am not too arsed if they are 2 or 5 star.
It what you do when you’re out and about that counts.
Not exactly sure what the rates are but something like 80 quid a night rings a bell.
If you like water and very luxury hotels, check out http://www.sybaris.com. Pools, spas, and all sorts of romantic things in the deluxe rooms. *sigh* Great getaway.
Wow! The chalet suite is bigger than most people’s houses. And with your own private 22ft swimming pool with whirlpool jets – now that’s the life… Not terribly cheap though but what the hell.