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Hotel du Vin, York
Just outside the city walls, on the road to the racecourse, York's Hotel du Vin displays all the characteristics loyal fans have come to expect of the HdV group: a period building repurposed as a hotel with strong colours, plenty of leather armchairs and dark-wood floors, snug bar areas, a buzzing bistro-style restaurant and, of course, an excellent wine cellar. And, in the summer, a courtyard for al fresco dining. Bedrooms - most in sympathetically built new wings - are modern and fuss-free with solid-wood furniture, rich colours and shiny black-and-white tiled bathrooms. Swanky suites are bold affairs with seductive extras such as in-room copper baths. The hotel makes for a buzzy stay if you don't mind being out of the centre.
To reach the city centre, ignore the direct route down Micklegate and instead climb up onto the walls to take a more interesting and leisurely stroll.
The hotel is close to York station and a 20-minute walk from the city centre.
By car: 40 minutes from Leeds, 1 hour 30 mins from Manchester and around 4 hours from London. There is paid private parking at the hotel.
By train: London Kings Cross to York takes around 2 hours. The station is a 10-minute walk from the hotel. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The hotel suits anyone with a love of wine - plus couples who want a smart base outside the tourist hustle. The rear courtyard with its retractable roof is a clever way of al fresco dining whatever the weather.
Service & Facilities
The bar, although small, has an appealingly chatty atmosphere, and it's fun to watch the barmen whip up cocktails. Dogs are welcomed with a bed and bowls. Owners can choose to take their meals in the courtyard area, so their pets can join them.
- Free Wi-Fi
The Deluxe room (which, despite the name, is not one of the top categories) is in the main Georgian building, with garden views and sexy, deep-blue colours in its soft furnishings and feature wall. Rooms of all levels have coffee machines, good storage and decent bedside and bathroom lighting.
Standard Double, Mezzanine Double, Superior, Deluxe, Junior Suite, Studio Suite, Luxury Suite
Facilities include: ensuite with bath and overhead shower, luxury toiletries, handsprung mattress, Egyptian linen, plasma TV, air conditioning, Nespresso coffee machine
Food & Drink
For a little more privacy, go for one of the side booths with their colourful murals of horse racing. Breakfast is to be lingered over with cooked-to-order items from avocado and salsa to eggs Benedict and the full grill.
Bistro du Vin: relaxed dining, classic French cuisine, specials and à la carte, Sunday roasts. Open every day for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Mains from £12.50.
The bar: beers, spirits, extensive wine list, light lunches, snacks, sharing platters.