It’s unlikely that you would ever come across Simonstone Hall by accident. But if you are lucky enough to stumble upon it, you’ll have uncovered a perfect little gem.
This small country house hotel is in a quiet corner of North Yorkshire, just outside the tiny town of Hawes. Unimposing from the front, a short walk around to the rear of the hotel reveals a charming courtyard garden with sweeping, uninterrupted views of the Yorkshire Dales – overlooked by quaint, stone-clad buildings, with a hit of gothic. There’s a “village clock”, a tall spire, and the whole place is so photogenic it simply cries out to be booked for a fairy tale wedding reception.
The bedrooms are large, airy and well equipped, and in the room we occupied there was a luxurious, super-sized four poster bed. The wi-fi connection, however, was intermittent at best – not a problem if you’re trying to escape civilisation for a few days, but tricky if you’re trying to post a review.
The staff at Simonstone Hall are friendly and efficient without being intrusive, and there is an air of cheerful, well-drilled professionalism about the place.
The dining room is a intriguing labyrinth of oak panels and mirrors with breathtaking views across the Dales, and the atmospheric wine cellar doubles as a small function room, in which private parties can be held and regular wine tasting events take place.
The lounge bar sports a splendid tartan carpet and is as snug as any traditional English pub, with a good selection of beers including a tasty local ale Black Sheep. The restaurant at Simonstone Hall is fast gaining an excellent reputation in the area, and from what we experienced during our short stay this is thoroughly deserved.
The menu features good honest local produce served with flair and individuality. Everything looks so mouth-watering it’s actually quite difficult to decide what to have. After much deliberation we eventually went for smoked duck salad with a breaded poached egg, and pearl scallops with lemon and thyme risotto. We followed this with Prime Yorkshire Beef in port and stilton and Yorkshire Venison with Poached Pears. Both dishes were skilfully presented, perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious..
We also recommend Simonstone’s Luxury Berry Soufflé – which is so light you might actually find room for a selection of Yorkshire cheeses, served with home made pear chutney and a big lump of fruit cake.
This splendid little country house hotel has been a secret for too long, and richly deserves to reach a wider clientele.