The best hotels in York city centre

Advice

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York surprises first-time visitors by the compact size of its city centre. Most attractions are walkable, and many of its streets are car-free. As a happy result of this close-packed layout, there’s a good range of hotels – in size, style and price – within the centre. For once, it’s not just the swanky places that have the prime positions with more modest options in the distant suburbs. You can find a characterful inn or a family-and price-friendly hotel, as well as a grand affair with uniformed porters and room service, all with views of the city’s famous medieval walls or iconic Minster. As a rough rule of thumb, those right in the centre are on busier streets and have more limited (or expensive) parking but, frankly, it’s more sensible to arrive in the city by train. 

A few have spas or pools, some have gardens while one – Malmaison – even has a rooftop bar. Some are dog-friendly, too. Their restaurants range from good-value-casual and brasserie to gastropub and fine dining options. Here are the best hotels in York city centre.


How we review

Every hotel in this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, who are usually hosted on a complimentary basis. They stay for a minimum of one night, test at least one meal and trial other experiences that the hotel might have to offer. 


At a glance, the best hotels in York city centre

 

Grays Court

York, Yorkshire, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Tucked between the historic, largely 17th-century Treasurer’s House, the Minster and the medieval city walls, and with the Dean as a neighbour, this is arguably York’s smartest address. It’s pretty easy to miss, too, as the entrance is hidden down the narrow and little-used Chapter House Street. It positively vibrates with the past, from its medieval stone-flagged entrance hall and leaded windows to the bow-windowed Georgian dining room and 90-foot long, Jacobean, oak-panelled gallery on the first floor. A very sure eye (owner Helen Heraty) has furnished it with a mix of English and French antiques, modern sofas and contemporary artwork and reportage photography, so it feels elegant and luxurious but relaxed.


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From


£
253

per night

Rates provided by
Booking.com

The Principal York

York, Yorkshire, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Slap-bang next to the station – you can hop off the train and into the hotel through the rear (originally main) entrance all under cover. From the outside, it looks a monolithic, Victorian station-hotel (which it was), a hefty affair of sandy-coloured bricks and a mass of drainpipes. Slip inside, however, and Principal Hotels have given it a makeover that’s sleek and modern without being edgy or blingy. So, lots of soft greys and soft carpets, elegant velvet armchairs and Chesterfield sofas, and walls hung with mirrors, all set against Corinthian pillars and lofty corridors. Elsewhere there’s a funkier feel: charcoal walls and cherry-red stools in the bar; exposed-brick and industrial-style light fittings in the conservatory-style Refectory restaurant.


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From


£
128

per night

Rates provided by
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The Grand York

York, Yorkshire, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Inside the medieval city wall, with views of the Minster, this luxury hotel is just a five-minute stroll from the train station. The exterior is vast, impressive, turn-of-the-century metropolitan grandeur, with restored red brick and creamy moulded stonework. Inside, there are lofty arches and softly carpeted, boulevard-wide corridors. Original marble fireplaces, stunning washrooms and leaded windows lend a Golden Age glamour to the contemporary, lounge-bar décor. All 107 bedrooms have opulent marble bathrooms, large beds and the high ceilings of the original 1906 offices, creating a rare sense of roominess for a city centre hotel. A world-class cookery school adds something extra special to the mix.


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From


£
178

per night

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The Fat Badger

York, Yorkshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

This Georgian pub with rooms has a period feel, simple rooms and choice of good pub food or smarter modern British. There’s a straightforward bar, with cask ales and cosy snug, and a large beer garden with Minster views. Less than a minute’s walk from York Minster, on High Petergate – The Fat Badger (formerly the Lamb & Lion) is easy to miss as it is, literally, in the shadow of Bootham Bar, one of the city’s medieval gates. All the main sights and popular streets – including Jorvik, National Railway Museum, The Shambles – are within a five- to 15-minute walk.


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From


£
89

per night

Rates provided by
Booking.com

Guy Fawkes Inn

York, Yorkshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A historic pub-with-rooms, in a plum position by York Minster, that oozes atmosphere from its gas-lit bar and dining-room. Bedrooms feature four-poster beds and a scattering of antiques, and the restaurant offers above-average pub classics. All major sights are walkable – the Walls five minutes, National Railway Museum and the station 10 minutes, Castle Museum 15 minutes – but you are also on one of York’s busiest, tourist streets. No cars are allowed in the daytime, other than deliveries, and you can’t escape the Minster’s bells.


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From


£
89

per night

Rates provided by
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Malmaison York

York, Yorkshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

Malmaison has bagged a near-perfect location making it one of the best hotels in York city centre. It’s close to the river and one of the city’s principal bridges, Lendal Bridge, as well as being five minutes’ walk from the station. The Minster and main shopping streets are a leisurely 10 minutes on foot, and most of the major sights within 15. The medieval walls are almost at the front door. Not even York Minster’s central tower can compete with the hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant for views. Stretching 30 to 40 miles on a good day, you can see to the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales as well.


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From


£
84

per night

Rates provided by
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No. 1 by GuestHouse, York

York, Yorkshire, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Just outside the city walls and Bootham Bar gateway, this is a smart choice if you want somewhere close to York’s attractions without being among the tourist masses. The handsome dark-brick Georgian building, with stone pillars, sash windows and decorative cornice, is a bit of a showstopper. It was lived in by prominent York families, and turned into a hotel in 1990. Inside, Georgian grandeur – red-granite pillars and a sweeping staircase, dado panelling and gilt-framed horse-racing paintings – has been cleverly combined with a contemporary townhouse feel: deep-blue and charcoal walls, oak floors and velvet armchairs. Children are welcomed with mini-tipis in the room, books, a city trail and instant cameras (from £25, including breakfast), and there are free cots, interconnecting rooms and children’s menus.


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From


£
124

per night

Rates provided by
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Hotel Indigo York

York, Yorkshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A bright and fun new-build hotel within the city walls (but away from the tourist hordes), exuding a youthful vibe and a strong sense of Yorkshire in its food and drink. The new building’s red-brick exterior – designed to blend with the rest of the Walmgate street – appears chain-hotel functional but step inside and things are more interesting. It picks up on York’s chocolate heritage with a fun, semi-industrial feel and plenty of chocolatey-brown shades. The open-plan ground floor reception-bar-restaurant is awash with stripped-wood floors and wood panelling, plain oak tables and tan-leather chairs, tiled pillars and exposed light bulbs. Simple decorations of leather-bound books, bottles of Yorkshire gin and vintage photographs of street scenes and penny-farthing bicycles keep it nicely grounded.


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From


£
104

per night

Rates provided by
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Hotel du Vin & Bistro Harrogate

Harrogate, Yorkshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A conversion of four Georgian townhouses makes this popular chain hotel look like a sizeable mansion overlooking the Stray and Montpellier Hill from its manicured flower beds. It’s near the very centre of Harrogate: adjacent to the bars and restaurants on John Street, and perpendicular to James Street with its higher-end shops. Betty’s is a scone’s throw away, as is the Montpellier Quarter. Whether you’re here with friends, family, on your own or with your dog, Hotel du Vin’s authentic bistro and stylish lounge is popular with guests and locals alike, whatever the occasion.


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From


£
114

per night

Rates provided by
Booking.com

Dean Court Hotel

York, Yorkshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

This hotel is in prime position opposite the Minster – right at the heart of the city’s history – with many bedrooms, plus the dining room, sharing the striking views. Originally three separate Victorian houses, built as guest accommodation for the Minster’s clergy; Dean Court is an impressive affair of red brick, fancy stone mouldings and tall gables. Upstairs it’s a warren of staircases and corridors while the ground floor is a long, narrow space that segues from reception through the bar to the restaurant. The 37 rooms have a conservative, contemporary styling: walls have shiny or lightly textured wallpapers, furniture is pale and clean-lined, colours are soft greys and golds with the occasional splash of cherry-red.


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From


£
146

per night

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Safestay York

York, Yorkshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

Forget conventional notions of a hostel; this is bright and fun with zany colours, en-suite dorms, a few private rooms, a breakfast room and a snazzy bar. And all this in a grand Georgian building that is well-placed for both the centre and the station. York Minster is 15 minutes across the river and most major sites and shopping streets are the same distance or less. As it’s outside the core of tourist attractions, it’s less frenetic yet has its own engaging environs with Holy Trinity church opposite and characterful pubs and cafés as neighbours.


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From


£
50

per night

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The Bar Convent

York, Yorkshire, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Just outside the city walls, by the Micklegate Bar entrance, the Bar Convent is well-placed for doing York’s sights if you want to avoid the worst of the crowds. One of Britain’s more unusual guest-houses, its buildings are part of a still-working convent – the community dates back to the 17th century – with some bedrooms carved out of the novices’ dormitories, and the atrium originally a courtyard. Rebuilt in the 18th century, with a handsome brick-and-stone façade and neo-classical chapel, and with Victorian additions of a glass canopy and decorative floor tiling, there’s a palpable sense of history and well-honed hospitality.


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From


£
125

per night

Rates provided by
Booking.com

Contributions by Charlotte Johnstone & Rob Cowen

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