Don't you just love it when things come together? I've always found it very handy that my best friend lives up north. It means that every few months I simply have no choice but to gather together every scrap of available childcare and make a solo trip up to see her in Harrogate. It would be rude of me not to and I just know the kids wouldn't appreciate our endless chatting and wine slurping. Scrap that - the truth is I wouldn't appreciate them interrupting our endless chatting and wine slurping. Bad, bad mummy.
So, receiving an invitation to review Ox Pasture Hall Hotel just outside of sunny Scarborough was a no brainer. Would I and a guest care to enjoy a complimentary overnight stay in one of their luxury suites with dinner and breakfast included...er, yes please thank you very much ever so kind of you don't mind if I do was my cool, I'll just have to check my schedule reply.
It took us about two hours to drive from Harrogate to Scarborough. Mel at the wheel and me trying to ignore my pathetic passenger induced queasiness we arrived at our destination a little weary and definitely ready to relax.
We received the warmest of welcomes and were shown to our enormous suite - the honeymoon suite, in fact. There was more space than we knew what to do with, the rooms were tastefully designed and cosy with a huge bathroom that had the funkiest taps I've ever seen.
Tummies dictating the timetable as always, we wasted no time in heading to the lounge where a glorious, pre ordered, afternoon tea awaited us. Glad that we'd purposefully missed lunch we polished off freshly baked scones, sandwiches and cakes and took in our cosy surroundings whilst enjoying the heat from the wood burning stove.
Set in seventeen picturesque acres Ox Pasture Hall is widely regarded as one of the most romantic hotels in Yorkshire and based on location alone I can see why. Hmm. I could have got grumpy about the fact that I wasn't there with a significant other eager to help me test out the King size bed but that would have just been silly so I didn't.
It was a cold, wet day and being a pair of lazy bones we chose not to venture out for a hearty walk after our mouth watering cake and sandwich fest. We did, however, jump back in the car and take a five minute drive down to Scarborough's rugged North Beach. We took the obligatory deep breaths and spent a moment or two having our own private, wistful thoughts - essential when staring out to sea on a winter's day, don't you think? That done we wasted no time in nipping back to the hotel, happy at the prospect of a luxurious night ahead.
We decided to eat early, blaming our voracious appetites on three and a half minutes of blustery sea air. We enjoyed a drink back in the lounge area while we perused the lengthy menu and agonised over what to have - always my favourite kind of dilemma though on this occasion my infamous indecision was just ridiculous such were the choices on offer.
Dinner was, by far, the highlight of our stay. We ate in the Courtyard restaurant and quite simply oohed and aahed our way though three stunning courses and a gorgeous bottle of wine. The food was outstanding. It would have been lovely to see more guests enjoying the work of such a talented chef and maybe adding a little more atmosphere to the evening but really, we were quite happy in our own little bubble of decadence and excess.
Back in our room we flopped on the sofa and watched a bit of TV before bed. The Wi-Fi signal wasn't the best which wasn't a big problem for us during a short stay but probably worth a mention.
We slept extremely well - though I'm now wondering if it was actually a food induced coma that had us snoring sweetly for nearly nine hours. Either way, we woke up refreshed and after the most powerful of showers, ready for the day.
Breakfast was easily on a par with our meal the night before. Mel and I rose admirably to the challenge set before us and somehow found a way to devour the most delicious full English we'd had in a long time. All locally sourced and once again cooked to perfection we savoured every mouthful feeling thoroughly spoilt and indulged.
And sadly, that was it. Time to pack our bags, say our goodbyes and wend our way home. All too short a stay but a very, very lovely one. Thank you Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, you went above and beyond.