A 4 hour trip from Windsor to Retford led to great expectations from all the family, for this weekend mini break.Thankfully, it was well worth the trip- and the many ‘Are we there yet?s’ as Ye Olde Bell is a stunning 16th century hotel with newly opened state-of-the-art spa bursting with character, festive decor at every turn, and importantly: truly excellent food.
You know you’ve had an epic break when you leave a day later feeling like you’ve been away for a week!
Check us out rocking around the Christmas tree!
The staff were attentive, kind and went above and beyond across the board with the waiters taking time to share stories, chat to the kids and ensure we had everything we needed (and that intolerances were catered for).
Charming, not intrusive but the cherry on the cake, the entire staff must be applauded and it wasn’t just reserved for we reviewers either, I noticed all the guests were treated as we were.
Simply put, it was one of our most favourite breaks to-date with the perfect combination of delicious seasonal and thoughtfully curated food from breakfast to dinner, and a relaxing if not too short stay in the spa (I will need to return without the kids next time for a longer session) -oh and snow.
We couldn’t have felt more festive if we tried.
Food-wise, I was incredibly impressed with the standard and variety on offer. It came as no surprise that every day saw the bistro and restaurant fully booked along with Christmas parties in adjacent rooms and lavish weddings over the two days we were there.
I ate so much, I waddled out of there!
We essentially ate everything on the menu over two meals spanning homemade bread with garlic butter, smoked chicken risotto, scallops, burgers for the kids, grilled salmon, pan-fried chicken with gnocci, Banoffee pie, pear tart, brownies with vanilla ice cream and champagne sorbet- Oh, and not forgetting Christmas turkey the following day with all the trimmings!
Aside from the mouthwatering food, there’s something rather magical about Ye Olde Bell, yes, the history contributes, but so does the passion and care the staff hold for their place of work and those who visit it. The receptionist even mentioned how much she loves working there, and it showed.
The rooms have character and the comfiest beds imaginable, with antique features but no clutter. It’s old school elegance at its best, something I personally love from boutique hotels.
Close to Yorkshire, I’ll be returning with my Mum in tow for a girlie break as it’s just 45 minutes from her home.
If you live further afield though, still make the trip, you won’t be disappointed!