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Short stay: Country Living St. George Hotel, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

Every room looks as if it’s been tastefully curated for a magazine shoot – which is no surprise as Country Living Magazine is bringing country chic to urban stays in what was orginally a grand Edwardian mansion. A rambling Grade 2 listed building was the perfect candidate for a classy makeover that name-checks Regency taste with wide-stripped high-backed chairs and the occasional classically styled alabaster bust. It is as if the country squire has taken a cool interior designer for a wife who has chucked out the chintz. Big bold statement canvasses of Yorkshire landscapes bring the countryside into this peaceful urban oasis. The welcome Reception is part of the open plan cafe / lounge with two comfy chairs to slump into after your travels. It’s a warm welcome, help with luggage is followed by tea or coffee. And there’s a small box of Country Living chocolates in your room too. The rooms In the premier double rooms, with five-foot beds, a plush sofa dressed with duck-print cushions immediately strikes a leisurely note of comfort. Light-giving cream walls contrast with dark grey woodwork. It’s all further brightened by a burst of colour from fresh pink orchids. Retro black telephones and traditional style alarm clocks nostalgically step-back to an era before digitalisation. There are two fans for balmy summer days. Bronte woolly throw, by Moon, for chilly winter nights. The bathroom In a eclectic style statement designer Oliver Redfern takes a variety of single tiles, in black-and-white geometric designs, from Ted Baker’s wide range, to decorate the bathroom. There’s a spacious rainfall shower and a separate fair-sized bath with Victorian style silver finish fittings. A generous supply of toiletries are sourced from Harrogate’s very own H2K. The facilities No spa but why would you need one when Harrogate’s famed Turkish Baths, with their huge array of treatments, are just a 90 second walk away? Country Living is big on relaxing airy lounges with more chairs and sofas than a Sofology showroom. Harrogate with its vibrantly planted and immaculate tended public formal gardens does civic pride better than most. Look out onto those gardens and cascading hanging baskets from the comfort of the Drawing Room. Meanwhile a quintessential country house library, leather-bound books, features a pool table too. Tempting to grab a drink from the Dog and Duck bar and lose yourself in a book. Taking the green of the original stained glass window,  the Swaledale Restaurant runs with a theme of a distinguished light olive green. Edgy brass exposed-filament light-fittings, hanging from white stucco ceilings, introduce a contemporary note to a dining room featuring the symmetry of tall Palladian pillars. There’s a menu that plays on the Country House theme: locally sourced and seasonal wherever possible. A starter of crab, contrasted with delicate crisp flavours of thinly sliced local apple, comes from Whitby. There’s a zingy chutney, like granny used to make, accompanying pressed duck. Similarly the chef’s recommendation of Dales bred lamb is another local winner. Unsurprisingly the Swaledale Restaurant is popular with locals for pre-theatre dinners, so bookings from 7.30 pm tend to be more relaxed. The location Forget your car and park-up for a few days. Country Living St George is in the heart of Harrogate, opposite the theatre and close to the original Pump Room, for the famous spa waters, that is now a museum. If you go on a shopping spree in the Montpelier Quarter of over fifty independent shops, bars and cafes it is just a few minutes back to the hotel. Harrogate is renowned for its Festivals including focuses on Children, Comedy, Crime Writing, Gilbert and Sullivan, International Youth and Literature. So the hotel makes for an ideal Festival base. Other nice touches You can ring reception for fresh milk or almond milk with your tea or coffee. The turn-down service leaves a soothing array of H2K fragrances to ease you into sleep. Cost Off-peak a Cosy Double Room begins from £70. The best bit The whole hotel exudes the homely spirit of elegant Country Living, from the green wellies and walking staff by the door to a tasty apple and sultana crumble. Guests depart inspired, perhaps clutching the latest edition of the Country Living Magazine, ready to upgrade their bathrooms, bedrooms and lounge at home. The final verdict The perfect location for exploring Harrogate by foot and Yorkshire by bus or car. And remember that this is the year to visit Harrogate. Betty’s Tea Room, an English institution that draws in visitors from all over world, celebrates its 100th birthday. Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Country Living Hotels.

Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards is a travel writer from Oxfordshire, UK. Although Michael had his first travel pieces published nearly four decades ago, he is still finding new luxury destinations to visit and write on.

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  1. Yes, Harrogate is a real culture hub up there in Yorkshire. I hope to get up there for the Literature Festival one year but I’m not too sure about the Crime Writing Festival, it all sounds a bit too macabre for my liking.

  2. Harrogate really shows other towns how to do things. I’ve visited the town a few times now. The gardens and hanging baskets are beautifully maintained. It’s quite clear that the town council and local people take considerable pride in their town. That’s probably one of the reasons why it attracts visitors of all ages which helps contribute to its obvious prosperity.

  3. Well that’s an interesting one! Bringing to live the pages of a design magazine in a hotel.

    I bet that Country Living Magazine has a big readership. Most months my wife will pick-up a copy and put it into the supermarket trolley. I think it’s a sort of lifestyle thing as many of her friends often read it too. That’s going to add up to many, many thousands of readers.

    Bringing the Country Living dream to life will encourage a lot of them to stay in the Country Living Hotels to get ideas on what they can make of their own homes.

    1. At the moment there are just the two Country Living Hotels, this one in Harrogate and then another one in Bath.

      If breakfast was anything to go by then the hotel had a good level of occupancy and guests were certainly enjoying the Country Living decor.

  4. It’s so imposing and country chic on the outside, but I love the bold revamp to add a contemporary flourish inside. As much as people can love older properties and vintage decor, most visitors still want somewhere that feels fresh, clean and up to date with what it offers. It certainly seems like it’s been a case of no expense spared here to make it comfortable and inviting. I’ve never actually been to Harrogate but if ever I’m up that neck of the woods I’ll have to check out a room here as a special treat. I hadn’t realised Harrogate is quite similar to the likes of Cheltenham in some ways, which is also a spa town with a Montpellier area and Pump Room.

  5. The rustic vibe of living in the United Kingdoms never really gets old. The look of the structures feels homey and you can see the vibrant colors of the beautiful nature that surrounds the place. I love these kinds of destinations because you can easily loosen up and it feels like you’re far away from all the stresses in your life. The place also looks like it was used in a movie because that place is perfect for a romantic kind of movie.

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