“It might look like a sleepy thatched pub (unusual in Yorkshire) in a sleepy farming village from the outside, but inside it hides one of the most exciting restaurants in the north - indeed, one of the first pub restaurants in the UK to win a Michelin star. Serendipitously called The Star Inn, it still retains the low-beamed, stone-flagged cosy charm of a locals’ pub - and you can eat from the Michelin-starred menu in the bar, if you want - but has added two smart-ish but relaxed dining rooms serving chef-owner Andrew Pern’s distinctive, locally sourced, seasonally driven, robust food. Quite a lot comes from the lovely kitchen garden behind the pub.
Overnight guests stay across the road in farm buildings that have been converted with a hunting lodge feel: lots of squashy sofas, mounted antlers and rustic artefacts amidst exposed beams and warm woods. There’s a wood-burning stove and honesty bar plus free-ranging hens pecking about outside. Bedrooms are a warm mix of tartans and faded florals, rustic furniture and bold feature wallpapers, exposed rafters and faux-fur throws with sauna-style bathrooms of wooden-clad walls and slate floors. Each has a quirky feature: perhaps a pool table, piano or bath with a countryside view. Breakfast is a fabulous affair taken around a huge circular table, with a feast of goodies - from smoked salmon and scrambled eggs to creamed mushrooms in truffle oil and a ‘full Yorkshire’.
From here you can explore the antique shops, Castle and Walled Garden of nearby Helmsley market town or stride up onto the North York Moors and work up an appetite for dinner. Wonderfully relaxed, unstuffy, friendly place where you will feel ridiculously at home.”
Written by Helen Pickles
“Why do people love staying in your hotel?
We like to think, as we would(!), that it is very stylish and comfortable, whilst also homely with a great and unique ambience. All of the rooms are highly individual with their own quirky features, such as a piano or rope-slung bed, so people tend to have a favourite, and a substantial Yorkshire breakfast is taken in the Wheelhouse around the round King Arthuresque table.
Just across the road from the hotel is our award-winning restaurant and pub, where the menus are seasonal and use the best local ingredients, some of which come from the village and are delivered by tractor! The C14th thatched pub is steeped in history and has cosy log fires making it a great place to warm up after a bracing walk, and in summer you can eat on the terrace and stroll around our kitchen garden.
What is there to do in the area or on site?
The hotel is located on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors with all of the recreational opportunities that can offer: shooting, walking, horse-riding, cycling in the Great Dalby Forest, soaring off the top of Sutton Bank with the Yorkshire Gliding Club to name but a few, and the North Yorkshire coastal towns such as Whitby (where Andrew Pern the owner was born and bred) are just a short car ride away. Stately homes, such as Castle Howard are close by as is the market town of Helmsley, whilst York is around 40 minutes away down pretty country lanes and through picturesque villages.
What kind of breakfast do you offer?
Breakfast can be light, for instance with Hippy Tea, Star Inn Granola, Seasonal Fruit and Yoghurt, or substantial to set you up for a day out on the Moors with a ‘Full Yorkshire’ or a Proper Bacon Butty and a steaming mug of Yorkshire Tea, or a nip of vodka in a Bloody Mary or Porridge with a tot of Whisky to ‘warm the cockles’!
Do you offer other meals? And can you recommend good places to eat out locally?
We would obviously recommend The Star Inn and, fortunately, a lot of our customers would too! It is literally just across the road from the hotel, offers extensive menus from sandwiches at lunchtime in the Bar to a 7-course evening tasting menu with matched wines in one of our two dining rooms, and everything in between. Menus change frequently according to what is available and best, and we have great suppliers from the nearby game estates to village farmers who supply some of our beef and poultry, and Mrs Hall from just around the corner who supplies our honey.
Which are your most popular room types, and why?
All of our rooms seem to have their own following due to their individual features. We also have 2 rooms located in a separate annex which are ideal for a family which can have the entire annex to themselves. Room 1 with the bath at the end of the bed seems to be more popular for romantic breaks, (whilst Room 4 with the bed hanging from the ceiling has recently been nicknamed the ‘Fifty Shades’ room) and Room 5 with its own snooker table is our most spacious room. Having only 8 rooms, the hotel suits corporate groups, shooting parties and family celebrations, such as intimate weddings, when the party can have the whole hotel to themselves and enjoy private dining (and a spot of partying) in the Wheelhouse.
What message would you like to give Hotel Guru readers?
The Star Inn is the perfect location to experience the best that rural North Yorkshire has to offer from activities, food, setting – and good old fashioned, genuine home-cured Harome hospitality!”