The Spa Hotel Review: The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire


Review: Dex Jones 

Located just outside Skipton in the beautiful rural setting of the Yorkshire dales, the Devonshire Hotel and Spa is a stones throw from the Bolton Abbey and the river Wharfe, you cannot help but be in awe of the natural beauty of this historic area. This award-winning hotel, built in the early 17th century with subtle annex add ons, is an iconic property from a wealthy and prosperous era. It is dog friendly and offers complimentary wellington boots and doggy towels. For the adventurous walkers, the estate offers unrivalled views across the dales from the varying selection of walks available. There are also facilities to partake in fly fishing on the river with experienced tuition available should you need it.

Upon arrival, my wife and I were met at the hotel entrance by the concierge who took our luggage and introduced us to the reception staff, booking in was a breeze and we were taken on a short introductory tour of the wonderful array of rooms that made up the downstairs cocktail bar, general seating areas and doggy lounge, with large leather sofas and open fires. Wandering around you cannot help but notice the large centerpiece displays of Orchids, complimentary reading material, and some of the estates vast collection of art.

Our room was part of the old wing, a large open spaced luxury room named “Fisherman” with classic decor, a pair of period arm chairs with a large footstool, tv, writing desk, spacious wardrobe, tea and coffee making facilities, mini bar and a mini snack hamper with complimentary Yorkshire crisps and a slice of very sticky Yorkshire Parkin, an indulgence much enjoyed, (only because our next stop was the spa).


The bathroom was spacious with a large porcelain wash basin, wall mirror and boasted a “P” shaped double ended bathtub with rainwater shower.

The spa is a short walk across the garden to a very classy converted ancient stone barn, with swimming pool and Jacuzzi in split levels, through the glass doors into a reception lounge where you are introduced to the treatment staff and offered iced water, tea or coffee. Afternoon tea is available with a selection of sandwiches and cakes.

We had booked the “Mud ritual” a treatment of Middle Eastern origin. After changing we were shown into the Throne Mud Rasul area and given our instruction in the best way to experience the ritual, three small bowls of different coloured mud enriched with Dead Sea minerals and essential oils, which resembled smooth creamy clay, the lighter one for the scalp, the mid-range for the face and the dark for the body, 20 minutes in the soft lit steam climate allows the enriched minerals to enter the body, where it opens the pores, stimulates the blood flow, helps revive tissue and stimulates the lymphatic system. After the allotted time sprinklers came on creating a tropical shower, and helped to wash away the mud leaving your skin feeling smooth and refreshed, an experience shower with imitation thunder and lightning then followed to clear the remainder of the mud. All round, an invigorating experience well worth trying, the pool and Jacuzzi ended what was a thoroughly enjoyable relaxing afternoon. 




As our evening meal was an eight-course taster menu, we arrived at the cocktail lounge around 7pm for a welcome drink with canapés, presented on a slate plate.

We were then taken to our table by the restaurant staff who were extremely professional and keen to please, each course being presented and described to us by the waiting staff. 

The Menu:

  • Sweetcorn, Balsamic,Bacon,Smoked Haddock 
  • Crab, Mussel, Horseradish, Seaweed
  • Duck Liver, Sauternes, Apple, Praline
  • Butternut, Sage, Tunworth, Pine Nut
  • Turbot, Almonds,Lentils, Spiced  butter
  • Goosnargh Duck, Carrot, Date, Caper 
  • Spiced Pepper, Lime, Kalamansi, Meringue
  • Apple Cheesecake, Pedro Ximenez, Pecan, Honeycomb

A selection of Cheeses from the trolley followed, beautifully complemented by a bottle of wine; Finca La Estacada Tempranillo, 2014 – a subtle red chosen from the extensive collection. 

After a very comfortable relaxed night’s sleep, breakfast was served in the conservatory overlooking the box tree garden where a low mist was beginning to rise and the aroma of fresh bread and coffee hung on the air. 

Served in the same meticulous fashion as the superb culinary delights of the previous evening, there was a continental style array of cold meats and pastries, cereals and dried fruits, juices, yoghurts with fruit to mix yourself. I chose the fresh smoked kippers from the a la carte menu and my wife had Devonshire’s Yorkshire breakfast; their take on a traditional English breakfast, all locally sourced produce in keeping with the traditional ethos this fantastic venue likes to boast.

After checking out we took advantage of the offer of a free parking permit for the Bolton Abbey given to us by the hotel and spent the morning walking the fantastic grounds of this time past religious national treasure.

THE DEVONSHIRE ARMS HOTEL & SPA | Bolton Abbey | Skipton | BD23 6AJ

‘The Devonshire Experience’ two night luxury stay with dinner in three AA rosette ‘The Burlington’ on one evening and in The Brasserie on the other evening with full traditional breakfast from £130 per person per night.

01756 718111