6 years ago Daddy P and I stayed in York for a long weekend. It was a little honeymoon and celebration that I’d finished work before our baby was due to arrive. We’d walked past the Novotel York Centre hotel a number of times during our stay and had both remarked that whenever we had the opportunity to revisit the city, we would like to stay there as its so well placed closed to the city walls. Fast forward 6 years and we now have our nearly 6-year-old Monkey son who is train mad. It was definitely time to visit a few attractions in and around York that we knew he would love. We were already talking about arranging a trip when we were asked if we’d like to stay at the Novotel York Centre hotel – it was all meant to be.
The hotel is set back from the main Fishergate road into York, backing onto the river Ouse, and it’s literally a 10 minute walk right into the centre of the city. A finalist in the Family Friendly Experience of the Year category in the Visit York Tourism awards, this 4 star hotel is easily reached by road, has a large (chargeable at £11 per 24 hours for residents) car park and offers easy pedestrian access to the city centre.
Normal check-in time is 2.30pm but we wanted to make the most of our day, so headed up the M1 after breakfast. I’d emailed ahead to see if we could leave our car in the car park before check-in, after our 3 hour drive. Yes. No problem, please let us know when you’ve arrived as we might have your room ready. Great news. It was 11.30am by the time we reached the hotel, our room wasn’t ready (not that that mattered to us) but we were offered bag storage and Monkey received a couple of toys to keep him amused. The receptionist also provided us with a city centre map and gave us a suggested route to the National Railway Museum via the City Walls. A great suggestion and one we much enjoyed. More on all that in a separate future post.
After spending the day exploring the museum and the city itself we walked back to the hotel and completed our check in. We found all the staff friendly and approachable and most took the time to interact with a shy Monkey too. There is a buffet dinner option available for families for which seemed like a great idea as we were all tired after a long day. These buffet meals are available from 6.30pm so we booked our table and headed to our room to unpack.
Our family room on the third floor had a queen size bed and a pull out sofa bed for Monkey.
We had a view over the patio area with a river view which Monkey just loved.
The room has ample hanging space along with some shelving. There are tea and coffee-making facilities along with water and glasses, and we received a few welcome treats too. A bonus was the fridge, that would have been so handy when we were away and Monkey had medicine which needed to be refrigerated. Also great to come back from a day of adventures to chilled water in the room. An iron/ironing board and hair dryer are all stored in the room. The room has air conditioning and we found no need to change the level.
There is s desk and TV as well as a point to connect an iPod for music. A telephone is also in the room, this is something I always check for now after the medical emergency I had with Monkey on a previous trip.
The room has a separate toilet (no hand basin) and a shower room with sink and shaver points. There is a large fixed shower head as well as a removable smaller shower head, great to use with younger children. We had plenty of towels and complimentary shampoo, shower gel and soap. We did find it a bit strange to have the toilet separated from the main bathroom, but everything was clean and really that’s the main thing isn’t it.
I was a little concerned about how my son would sleep on the pull out bed, but after the initial excitement of sharing a room with us, he was soon asleep and slept well on both nights of our stay.
Our bed was also very comfortable and we slept like logs, never hearing anything from outside of our room. I thought we might hear some noise from the patio area if people were drinking there in the evening, but we didn’t hear a thing.
The main reception / lobby area is where you can find the indoor children’s play area and bar, serving anything from coffee, cold drinks and even ice creams for the children. The play area was stocked with books, games and toys and this looked like a great area for younger children although they would need close supervision as the area is next to the main entrance doorway. There are also computer games and an interactive table for older children. We didn’t get to use this area at all as we had so much planned, but it was nice to know it was there if needed.
Meals are served in the Elements restaurant, which is also off from the lobby area. The room looks out onto the patio area and is light and airy.
Breakfast is served between 7-11am and is buffet style with tea and coffee served at the table. There are a selection of cereals (not Cheerios), 5 different juices, fruit, yogurts, toast, breads and pastries, along with everything you could want for a cooked breakfast. Children were also offered milkshakes and hot chocolate. There were a couple of cold meats but no cheese – for my continental breakfast loving son, this didn’t go down so well. A selection of cheeses would be a great addition to the selection in our opinion.
We opted for the buffet style evening meal on our first night. The family deal (£60 for 2 adults/2 children or £54 for 2 adults/1 child) offers a plentiful selection of salads and cold meats along with a tomato and basil soup with breads, children’s buffet including margarita pizza, chicken nuggets and sausages there is also the possibility to make your own pizza. For the adults we could pick from chicken, gammon, battered fish and vegetable bake with mixed vegetables, chips, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. There are a selection of desserts included, along with a chocolate fountain and children all receive an ice cream token which they can exchange in the bar for a ‘whippy’ style ice cream in a cone. Sauces are also available for an added treat.
This went down well with Monkey. Everything we ate tasted good and was well cooked, I might have like a better selection of main meals but we all ate well. The various puddings were really lovely and obviously we had to try a selection.
The hotel has an indoor heated swimming pool which is open until 10pm. It is unsupervised and ranges from 1.1m to 1.8m in depth with ladder access. There are seats around the pool along with complimentary towels and lockers (you will need £1 and the keys don’t have a strap on them). The pool looks out onto the patio area and there is a shower (also with removable Shower head) along with 2 changing rooms – all 3 of us could fit in one of these. The only thing to note is that there is no toilet in this area. The closest one is further along from the main reception area. Access is the pool area is via a receptionist only. It was pouring with rain on our last morning, and rather than leaving the hotel early to do some sight-seeing on the way home, we decided to make the most of the 12 noon check-out time and spent the morning in the pool. It was a great way to end our break.
We didn’t make use of the outside patio area on this trip but we did appreciate the access to the river. It was lovely to walk from the back of the hotel onto the river path either walking into the city or away from the hustle and bustle.
When your son asks when you can stay at Novotel York Centre hotel again you know he’s enjoyed his stay, and for us it’s an ideal location to explore the area in comfort. I’m sure we will be back.
Disclosure: We were given one nights free bed and breakfast in exchange for an honest review. We paid for our second night, parking for both days and our buffet evening meal. Our comments remain our own honest opinions.