The inn consists of 13 en-suite bedrooms, a sweet little dark-paneled pub with about 8 or so tables, a few stools at the bar, and a dining room that anyone can dine in (advanced booking is recommended). Guy Fawkes Inn is owned by the HRH Group headquartered in Harrogate, a short distance away. HRH owns 7 boutique lodgings in the York-Harrogate area. Several are furnished with unusual antiques, and boast a quirky vibe.
I read about the Guy Fawkes Inn years ago and determined I really must stay there myself to see if it was haunted. The bar staff double as room staff, one of whom greeted me amiably for check-in, and even carried my small case up the stairs as he showed me the facilities. Being a very old building indeed, the hotel has all sorts of odd angles, creaks, and squeaks.
Room 3 (second landing on the gorgeously loopy staircase boasts rich paneling, a tiny walk-in closet, bathroom up one step, and splendid antique furniture, as well as a view of York Minster and the Guy Fawkes Inn street sign.
The hospitality tray pretty much perfect for me – it’s amazing what a pick-me-up a coffee (or tea) and biscuit pack (cookies to us Americans) provides. The inn also provides hot chocolate in the room – delicious!!
When the time came to sleep, I was amazed (and quite pleased) that the draperies were old-fashioned and needed the pullbacks to be manually released to cover the windows. The draperies are a lush, heavy brocade, and help keep the old-fashioned radiators’ warmth in the room. The bedding is lush and comfortable as well. Perfect for a good night’s sleep – as long as the ghosts don’t wake you!! That’s another story for another time, though. I did hear odd sounds for a bit middle of the night, but I suspect it was just the settling of an extremely old building (as well as other guests coming in from a late night out….being over the door was charming, but definitely made the idea of earplugs appealing). The bath had almost all the necessary conveniences, lacking only a hairdryer. If your room doesn’t have one, not to worry though. Staff tells me they are standard and are easily available upon request. The toiletries include shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, and hand soap.
Dinner at the Guy Fawkes Inn Dining Room was a delight. The dining room is atmospheric enough in the daytime – it was positively spooky at night! The room is black paneled with lanterns around, and gin bottles wired for lighting.
I sampled four courses – a nibble (crispy whitebait with smoked paprika), starter (appetiser in US-speak) of traditionally smoked haddock fishcake with creamed leeks, main (entree) of roast cod chunk with Thai crab risotto, lime and ginger dressing, and finished with a pudding (dessert) of sticky toffee pudding. The whitebait was very heavily battered but serviceable. The fishcake, though? Heaven on a plate! The lightly creamy leek sauce was the perfect complement to the smoked haddock, and even though the fish cake was (bizarrely to me) fried, it was really perfect. I couldn’t resist finishing it completely. The cod chunk was beautiful as well – no batter, skin delightfully oven-crisped, and paired well with the flavorful risotto.
I could manage only a couple bites though since I needed to try a pudding for a complete test of the dining. The sticky toffee pudding was brilliantly sweet and buttery – but could easily be shared.
The same dining room is used for guests who booked a bed-and-breakfast (or who would like to purchase breakfast). Breakfast consists of a buffet of fresh fruit (watermelon, oranges, grapes, and pineapple) as well as whole fruits (apples, oranges, and plums), juices, and cereals, but no pastries. One can order a hot breakfast to supplement as well (and of course coffee and/or tea). I had kippers and toast to supplement my cereal and fruit – the kippers were succulent and salty – just perfect to fuel the day!
Though I checked out that day and moved to another hotel to sample it, I still returned that evening to give the little pub a try – it has a full range of beers and ales (including real/cask ales), as well as wines and cocktails. It was incredibly busy with people popping in for a drink or two (it was a Friday evening), and a nice mixture of people. The pub also offers different salty snacks for purchase.
The Skinny: Guy Fawkes Inn is atmospheric, charming property with a creative and solid dining room. Good sleep, and fantastic location. Not for people with any mobility issues – no elevator and all rooms are above the ground floor. Prices range from £76 – £228 room only prepaid, depending on season. The dining room entrees range from £13.50 – £22.95, though there is a prix fixe menu available 12-6 Monday through Fridays, 3 courses for £14.95.
Oh, and who is Guy Fawkes? He was a member of a group of heavily-repressed English Catholics (some would call them anti-government revolutionaries, hence the connection between the Guy Fawkes masks and the Occupy movements and more) who planned to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch in the failed “Gunpowder Plot” of 1605.
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