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A short drive from the North Yorkshire market town of Skipton, the hotel sits on a 1400-acre estate overlooking stunning views of the Yorkshire Dales. The hotel and estate, owned by the Bannister family for more than 50 years, began its life as a farm shop selling produce grown on the estate. It’s since evolved into much more – hotel rooms and self-catering cottages, a state-of-the-art spa facility, two restaurants, a bar and lounge, and the opportunity for a number of activities, from fishing to shooting.
During the Covid pandemic the hotel underwent extensive renovations, which were evident during my recent stay.
The hotel’s main restaurant, The View, and the bar and lounge area boast modern interiors, helped by the colour schemes, contemporary light fittings, and the 360 fireplace that sits in the middle of the rooms.
Macleod’s Bar & Lounge, open to both residents and non-residents, was the perfect place to head for pre and post dinner drinks, particularly to cosy up to the fireplace during the cold, wet November weather. As well as a well-stocked bar, it offers a pub-style menu; a selection of sandwiches, sausage and mash, fish and chips and Sunday roasts.
For a more formal dining setting, head to The View, which offers leisurely lunches, afternoon tea, dinner, and for hotel guests, breakfast. Using produce local to the hotel, the dinner menu has something to every person’s taste. The waiting staff were very attentive, offering buckets full of Yorkshire charm, and the curried monkfish bon bons, steak, and blackberry and jasmine tea cheesecake come highly recommended.
One of the hotel’s biggest redevelopments over the last couple of years has been the Nàdarra Spa, which has been brilliantly designed to take full advantage of the surroundings. As well as a fitness suite and the offer of classes and personal training, there’s a 15 metre indoor swimming pool, a “thermal suite” including a Finnish sauna, Himalayan salt sauna, aromatherapy steam room, infrared sauna, ice fountain and jacuzzi, relaxation areas, treatment rooms including a “couples treatment suite”, and Blossom Kitchen, which offers Asian-inspired cuisine and afternoon tea.
But the pièce de résistance is most definitely the two outdoor infinity pools that look out over the best views from the estate (heated of course). Clearly these are the most popular features of the spa, but for those who want to enjoy the view all to themselves, you can opt to visit the Private Spa Garden where the spa’s outdoor bathing treatment allows you to soak up the spectacular scenery from the comfort of a roll top bath. As part of the treatment you can choose what your bath’s filled with – just a couple of the options include peppermint and pure Scottish seaweed.
These updates have certainly given the hotel Instagrammable status, but its roots haven’t been forgotten. Hotel director Nick Bannister has made sure of that. There’s still a small shop selling home furnishings in the hotel lobby, a subtle nod to where things began, Linda Mellin’s colourful artwork depicting The Coniston Estate and its surrounding areas can be found dotted around the hotel walls, and the spa stocks products from Ishga, a Scottish organic seaweed skincare brand which is a reminder of the family’s historic ties to Scotland. The place is steeped in history, and a plaque outside the entrance to the hotel allows you to jump into the story on arrival.
If a visit to the spa and restaurants aren’t enough during your stay, then The Coniston also offers a number of activities.
A short drive away from the hotel, still on the estate, is The Coniston shooting ground, awarded Premier Plus Ground status from The Clay Pigeon Shooting Association. There’s also a shooting lodge that serves hot drinks, bacon rolls, burgers and sandwiches.
In 2021, Land Rover Experience began their driving experiences on the estate where you get to explore Yorkshire’s rugged landscape in a brand new Land Rover or Range Rover. Following tracks on the estate you can take on grassy hills, rock crawls and a water crossing with highly—trained off-road experts.
People can also fish in the property’s lake, with some people known to have their catch of the day cooked by the chefs in the hotel restaurant.
If walking’s your thing, there’s a host of walks to choose from, including day-long treks around the Dales or shorter walks around the estate.
Finally, if you’re stressing about what to do with your canine friend when you stay at The Coniston, toss all your worries away, as there are dog friendly rooms on offer and pooches are more than welcome in the The View and Macleod’s Bar & Lounge, as long as they can stand being offered a treat or six.
To book a stay at The Coniston Hotel Country Estate & Spa, visit https://www.theconistonhotel.com/
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