Quirky Galtres Lodge offers perfect place for fine dining and relaxing stay in historic York
Let’s face it, the coronavirus travel restrictions have made us all look a little closer to home when it comes to holidays, weekend breaks and overnight getaways this summer.
My partner Giulia and I have barely ventured beyond the borders of Yorkshire for the past 18 months – but let’s be honest, we’re lucky enough to live in the most beautiful county on the planet, so why even go further?
And so it was we found ourselves at York’s Galtres Lodge, a quirky boutique hotel right in the heart of the historic city and just a stone’s throw from the Minster, The Shambles and countless other attractions in a place that’s packed full of heritage.
The hotel in Low Petergate has recently been stunningly transformed. Originally two Georgian townhouses, it is now a maze of 12 bedrooms, adjoined by a wonderful and cosy new restaurant, Forest, which serves up a range of delightful, home made meals, sourced from local suppliers.
Fun, relaxed and definitely a little bit quirky, it is also dog friendly. Our room was right on the top floor and after a climb up a zig-zag of stairs, we were met with a stunningly crafted room, exposed beams, a wonderful and huge comfy bed – and an unexpected treat, two delicious chocolate cup cakes.
Knowing that we had a full three course meal to look forward to later, we decided to go easy on the treats – and settled into the room which was the perfect place to unwind.
Warm and cosy and with a roof window view of the streets of York far below, we could listen as the bells of York Minster chimed a few streets away.
The independently owned hotel has recently unveiled its exciting new dining area Forest, which, to put simply, is a romantic treat.
We ate in a brand new, outside dining space, called the Secret Garden.
Nestled away in a charming courtyard, Giulia devoured a massive plate of grilled seabass while I tucked into a perfectly cooked rump steak under twinkling fairy lights, with warming heaters and overhead cover ensuring we’d be OK, whatever the weather.
The menu features a delicious mix of British classics, as well as some more exclusive dishes for diners to choose from.
With options ranging from the Whole Yorkshire Hog for starter, to the Whitby & Bridlington Crab Thermidor for the main course, each dish is prepared using locally sourced ingredients – including fish and meat from The Shambles market, which is just a few steps away.
Owner Rebecca Hill ensured the Covid lockdowns didn’t go to waste, using the closedown time to create Forest.
She said: ”We’ve worked hard to make the most of the situation by using this time as an opportunity to refurbish some of our public spaces, so that guests will have an even more enjoyable experience.
"We look forward to welcoming guests back to Galtres Lodge and the Forest restaurant and aim to offer them the perfect location from which to enjoy all that York has to offer.”
Small yet perfectly formed, the townhouses the combined townhouses have seen Galtres (it’s named after a forest which surrounded York, in case you were wondering) a member of Indie York, a not-for-profit business association that champions the city’s independent businesses.
Added Rebecca: “The response so far has been fantastic. We've noticed a slight change in consumer behaviour since we announced our reopening, with people now planning further ahead with bookings and booking throughout the week - not just for weekends. This is incredibly reassuring to those working in hospitality as it shows people are still choosing to support the sector and will come at other days and times to do so.”
Creme brulee and a wonderfully concocted dessert called Forest Floor – with edible chocolate pebbles, sweet mushrooms, forest fruits and edible flowers – was washed down in our little hideaway where nothing was too much trouble for the staff.
After a brief stroll around a night time York, it was back to our room and into that huge, comfy bed, the pair of us drifting quietly to sleep, the occasional chimes of the Minster’s bells lulling us into slumber.
Then the following morning it was up bright and early and back to Forest to sample a fantastic full English breakfast. Once again, the dish was locally sourced – and served up in traditional quirky Galtres style.
If you’re looking for a break in one of Britain’s most historic cities with a venue that’s right in the heart of York with fine dining on tap, you can’t go wrong with Galtres Lodge and Forest.
A fantastic place to stay, relax and eat, we can’t wait to return.