Ye Olde Bell Hotel and Spa is nestled in the rural countryside three miles from Retford in the Nottinghamshire village of Barnby Moor, originally a 17th century coaching house that has been sympathetically modernised to retain all its historical charm.

Ye Old Bell and Spa

Ye Old Bell and Spa

Ye Olde Bell Hotel is steeped in history and boasts some highly notable guests, including Queen Victoria in 1835 and more recently, Joan Crawford and former Prime minister Sir Harold Wilson

We spent a weekend away at the four-star Ye Olde Bell hotel and Spa. The hotel is reputed to be one of the North of England’s finest, set in a woodland estate with gorgeous outside garden areas, and wonderful walks.

During the journey up we couldn’t help but wonder how the pandemic and the difficult times that ensued had affected Ye Olde Bell Hotel, but on arrival all concerns were quickly put to rest.

As we approached the building, it is easy to see why guests would choose to stay here; it’s out of the way but easy to find, the location is quiet and has a welcoming feel to it.

Entering the car park, there was ample parking with everything clearly signposted and easy to find. The hotel entrance is decorated simply so it's in-keeping with the history of the place, while also giving a nod to its close proximity to Doncaster’s famous racecourse with a number of racing themed paintings, a collection of racing memorabilia, a Jockeys cap collection on display and a life size model of a race horse.

At the reception desk the check-in staff quickly came to our service, taking us through the usual check-in procedures. Meanwhile a courteous member of staff made his way around and kindly offered to take our bags up to the room.

Check-in was smooth and the staff very friendly; their welcoming approach was something that after a long drive was appreciated very much.

Our room for the stay was an incredibly beautiful, homely and inviting space looking out over the rear gardens of the hotel.

The centrepiece in the room was a stunning four poster bed- a delightfully comfortable bed, the quality and comfort of the mattress, pillows and all bedding was superb, making for a comfortable night’s sleep.

We were greeted with beautiful antique oak furnishings, matching oak bedside cabinets, two oak wardrobes and a matching oak dressing table/desk.

The room also contained a cabinet that held complimentary water, a minibar area with fair-trade refreshments, including tea, coffee, hot chocolate, flavoured tea, biscuits and a fridge, while one of the wardrobes contained a safe, an iron and an ironing board.

On the wall was a flat screen TV, which had a great choice of Freeview channels and radio stations for guests to enjoy.

The bathroom suite was behind doors which opened to reveal a bath, a separate, roomy power shower, and a vanity sink. Plenty of fresh towels and luxury toiletries for a relaxing and refreshing boost while bathing- this was an out-of-this-world bathroom.

Summing up - the room was decorated and presented to a very high standard with comfy side chairs for you to sit and chill while taking in the garden views. Somewhere to relax and unwind after a busy day and before getting ready to visit the restaurant for your evening meal.

Other room amenities and features include a hairdryer, restaurant/bar and room service menus, information on the history of the hotel/spa facilities/local attractions and more in a ‘guest information’ book as well as a telephone to call reception or to make outgoing calls.

Time for food! We decided to give the decadent and stylish award winning ‘Restaurant Bar 1650’ a try, described as an oak panelled restaurant, with contemporary art deco bar.

As a vegetarian I went for the Wild Mushroom Arancini, smoked tomato butter sauce, white truffle oil with a main of Lemon Thyme Gnocchi, garlic dried vine tomato, cavalo nero, salsa verde, rocket, pecorino, while Sue went with Risotto of Sea Scallops, soft herbs, crème fraiche with a main of 10oz Sirloin Steak, portobello mushroom, garlic dried tomato, beer battered onion and triple cooked chips.

The food truly lived up to its award winning status- it was cooked to perfection. We finished with a selection of cheeses before being tempted by a couple of cocktails to round the evening off in true Deco style.

The following day we were booked in for the day at the spa.

The spa really has something for everyone. If it’s relaxation you’re after then look no further than the hotel’s spa pool, the perfect antidote to revive, invigorate and de-stress, and for the more adventurous- there’s an impressive range of leisure facilities available, these included:

Treatment rooms
Treatment rooms

Vitality Pool - An indoor/outdoor vitality pool for truly relaxing experience, with indoor and outdoor air recliners, mini air tub, reflexology station, water massage jets and a water curtain.

Alpine Sauna - Traditional sauna of Swiss Stone Pine, the wood gives off a distinct pine essence, aids relaxation and sleep, circulation, improves joint movement, flushes out toxins and improves skin condition.

Snow Storm Walk - Press the snowfall button for a snow shower walk or be brave and select snowstorm! Cold experiences boost the immune system, eliminate toxins, improve the appearance of cellulite and speed muscle recovery.

Shower walk & bucket shower - Not for the faint hearted, walk-through showers that vary in temperature alternating between warm and cold, stimulating your senses then finishes with an ice cold bucket shower, only for the brave.

Salt Inhalation Room - A silent relaxation room, low level lighting for a quiet time to relax while the salt wall simulates a marine climate that aids respiratory problems, sinuses and allergies.

Make sure to treat yourself to a wonderfully prepared meal from the Spa’s Herb Garden Brasserie before having one of the treatments on offer.

With the weather being so beautiful we made full use of the outdoor section of the vitality pool and its facilities for much of the day, periodically venturing inside to enjoy what else was on offer. We tried out the Alpine sauna followed by a Snow storm walk or a shower walk and bucket walk, one of the strangest feelings stepping out of a sauna into a snow storm! The Salt Inhalation Room, or Shuuush room as it was called offered a special experience- one not to miss.

We followed this with a light lunch in the spa restaurant then after a suitable break went for our treatments in the spa- a cleansing detoxifying facial neck and shoulder massage from the fully qualified staff.

Sitting in the outside bar enjoying a drink reflecting on our stay at Ye Olde Bell, we both agreed on how well we both felt after our visit. We were treated like royalty by the staff, spoilt and pampered in the spa, and the restaurant food was second to none.

The people at Ye Olde Bell Hotel & Spa “Look after their guests” so if you are looking for a break, get away, or just a day away, we cannot recommend Ye Olde Bell Hotel & Spa highly enough- you will love it.

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