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© Adrian Ray Photography

you can do spin classes up to a simulated 18,500ft above-sea-level, that’s higher than Everest base camp. Most eye-catching of all, however, is the cryotherapy chamber. Looking essentially like a small sauna with a glass door, it is set to a marrow-chilling but utterly invigorating -85C, said to reduce inflammation, accelerate recovery – and burn up to 800 calories in a single three-minute session. As if that’s not space age enough, guests can also try out EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation), which is like a TENS machine on steroids, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s ab-crunch cheat-tool of choice. So what to do when not being pampered in the spa or being pummelled in the gym? Well, if that leafy two-mile walk along the river to Fountains Abbey sounds like more exercise than you’re after, the 38 acres of elegantly landscaped parkland surrounding the hotel are criss-crossed by footpaths; you can also go punting on the small stretch of river by the main house. Then there is yoga with the infectiously friendly Helen Gilbertson, who when not performing horse acrobatics at shows across Yorkshire teaches Hatha Vinyasa to yogis of all experience and ability at Grantley Hall. There is even talk of future pre-breakfast yoga classes at Fountains Abbey itself – think Downward Dog and Sun Salutations below the 12th century walls of the best preserved Cistercian monastery in Britain, long before any other visitors are let in. Of course, most people checking in to Grantley Hall are here for R&R, not ab crunches and Downward Dogs. They will not be disappointed. Just want to kick back by the fire with a winter-warming tipple? Head to the dark-panelled lounge, and order yourself a house gin cocktail. The hotel is full of snug nooks and firewarmed crannies, with huge armchairs and squishy sofas that cry out for afternoon tea with the Sunday papers. First and foremost this is an elegant, big-hearted, relaxing country house hotel, it just happens to have industry-leading wellness facilities out back should you wish to use them. None of this would mean a thing were it not for the hotel’s excellent staff. Superefficient, but still wonderfully engaging, the mostly Yorkshire-born team is led by general manager, Andrew McPherson, who brings infectious down-to-earth energy and a wealth of experience having managed some of Britain’s top hotels. The hotel even has its own staff training academy in the East Lodge. That tells a tale. “I love opening the doors and greeting people from all over the world” Valeria Sykes says. “I love Yorkshire. It deserves the very best.” Mission accomplished.

Top to bottom: A warm welcome on arrival. Order yourself one of the amazing house gin cocktails. Nestled in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales between Ripon and Harrogate, Grantley Hall delivers the exceptional. Images © Jack Hardy.

FIRST AND FOREMOST T H I S I S A B I G - H E A R T E D, RELAXING, ELEGANT CO U N T RY H O U S E H OT E L .

yorkshire.com

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