Hotel review: The Lawrance, Harrogate

Call me superficial, but there are certain things that immediately signify to me that I’m in a nice hotel, and right at the top of the list is comfy dressing gowns. I’ll even admit that opening up all the cupboards to establish this fact is one of the first things I do on arrival in a hotel room. There’s something decadent about sitting in a hotel room in your dressing gown – indeed, one of my favourite memories is of enjoying breakfast in our room the day after our wedding day, cosy in our dressing gowns. So, discovering soft white dressing gowns hanging in the bedroom cupboard in The Lawrance immediately told me that this was a going to be a great place to stay.

Which, to be honest, is doing the place a bit of a disservice; really, from the minute Diane, the manager, showed us into our apartment, it was apparent just how much we were going to enjoy staying there. The Lawrance is made up of three houses in Harrogate, which have been converted into luxury apartments – making them great for both short and long stays. We stayed in Duchy, in Apartment A, a one-bedroom apartment that has a huge living room, a smart little kitchen with all the kit you could possibly need (including much appreciated tea bags), a large, sumptuous bedroom, and a bathroom with a fantastic shower.

The apartment was beautifully furnished, with a mix of contemporary and vintage styles – the Chesterfield Sofa was ridiculously comfotable – which made it relaxing and homely, yet smart enough to feel like we were really staying somewhere special. The great things about our stay at The Lawrance was that it felt, in many ways, like staying at a posh hotel – REN products in the bathroom, beautifully soft bed linen, and friendly but not obsequious staff – but with the luxury of lots of space and complete privacy. The high-tech touches like free wifi, an iPod dock and a PS3 in the living room (with games available from reception – perfect for those rainy days), really helped elevate The Lawrance above what you can normally expect from a self-catering place . In the Kings Road building, you can even get room service, from the neighbouring Italian restaurant, Brio – we ate there in the evening and thought it was excellent (even my husband, ambivalent about pasta at the best of times, waxed lyrical about his choice).

To complete the luxurious experience, you can order a breakfast hamper (£17 for two people), which is full of gorgeous goodies from Jakes – ours had ham and cheese croissants, yoghurts with fruit and honey, a couple of rather decadent muffins, and fresh fruit juices, making it a great, lazy way to start the day. In fact, it was so much food that we didn’t need anything else to eat until tea time, when we made the obligatory trip to Betty’s for yet more tea and cake before heading back to the Big Smoke. Best of all, it wasn’t delivered until 10am, ensuring that we didn’t have to sacrifice our lie-in in order to eat.

We loved our stay at The Lawrance – it offered exactly the kind of comfort and privacy we wanted from a weekend away, and yet was only a short walk from the centre of Harrogate. If you’re getting married in this part of Yorkshire and are looking for a lovely place to spend your first night(s), or if you’re thinking of honeymooning (or holidaying) in country, then I’d highly recommend a stay here – Harrogate is an excellent base for both the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, Leeds is only a short train journey away, and the coast makes an easy day trip too. In Harrogate itself, you’ll find a good choice of restaurants, from the usual chains to more upmarket dining like the Drum and Monkey fish restaurant and the aforementioned Brio, and it’s worth making some time for a complete wind-down at the famous Turkish Baths. With rates starting at £95, The Lawrance is a remarkably affordable yet totally luxurious place to stay.

The Honeymoon Project was a guest of The Lawrance.

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