We like to make our reviews distanced, in contrast to the gushing approval of the pay guides who do compliments for cash, but here it’s hard not to go overboard. The Alice Hawthorn is everything we want in a charming small hotel – for that is what it is, rather than a pub with rooms.
The location in Nun Monkton, a pretty, spread out village with a vast green is 15 minutes from A1 exit 47, west of York. It’s a rural village setting with the main building looking like a private farmhouse. The outbuildings at the back providing extra rooms are artful examples of timber interior construction at its best, also clad with timber outside and topped with silver corrugated iron roofs, a stylish yet appropriate echo of farm buildings, and necessary for planning permission.
The main house’s public spaces and bedrooms are country house super-chic, stylishly original yet restful and harmonious. The food is well above average for the money, and the rooms are similarly well-priced.
Only a deep-pocketed investor working with talented hospitality experts could achieve this quality, and unsurprisingly the place is a partnership between John and Claire Topham, with their impressive record of Yorkshire inns (see also The Angel at Hetton) and Richard Harpin of the successful HomeServe plumbing and home maintenance business.
Alice Hawthorn was a racehorse named after Alice Hawthorn, the young woman who delivered her at birth.